A new film about extraordinary real life dogs who fight crime and save lives has begun production. Filmed in 3D, with the world’s highest resolution cameras, and presented in association with the California Science Center, Superpower Dogs will open in giant screen and IMAX theaters worldwide beginning in Spring 2018.
Fresh from the blockbuster combo presentation of the giant screen film Jerusalem and the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition, the California Science Center and Cosmic Picture are also joining forces to develop an original traveling exhibit, entitled “DOGS! A Science Tail,” which will open alongside the movie in select museums and science centers in 2018.
Superpower Dogs will showcase the science and wonder of amazing search and rescue dogs by following five real life canine superheroes and their human partners as they brave earthquakes and avalanches, bring animal poachers to justice, protect us from danger and lift our spirits. We will discover the origins of dogs’ remarkable superpowers and how we are harnessing these powers to heal, inspire and save lives. Superpower Dogs will celebrate our unique bond with an animal we spend our lives with, but barely know. We will never look at our best friends the same way again!
The hero of Superpower Dogs will be a real life puppy called Halo, a Dutch Shepherd, who is just now beginning her search and rescue training with her human partner ‘Cat’ Labrada, a Captain with the Miami-Dade Fire Department and member of Florida’s Task Force 1, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) certified team trained to respond to disasters around the world, including earthquakes, weather disasters, building collapses, and airplane crashes.
“Our puppy is now just 3 months old and has just started training to join the Miami-Dade based Florida Task Force 1. Halo’s human partner is a very experienced handler, Fire Captain “Cat” Labrada. So far, we have filmed “Cat” discovering Halo in a litter of puppies in Detroit, when she was just 10 weeks old, and we just completed our first major shoot of her exploring her new world and starting basic agility, obedience and confidence training. We should say that there is no guarantee here that Halo will succeed. This is a documentary. We really don’t know what will happen. This said, Halo is showing enormous potential.”
As Halo discovers her potential and learns the various skills she will need to save lives, audiences will meet several other veteran working dogs, including a Newfoundland with the Italian coastguard trained to leap out of helicopters to save people from drowning; an avalanche rescue dog working to save people buried under the snow in the Rocky mountains, two Bloodhounds working for the LEWA conservancy in Northern Kenya to track down poachers and save endangered species; and a Golden retriever in California who helps children with special needs and veterans suffering from post traumatic stress by surfing with them.
We asked the team working on the film about the challenges facing them while filming in IMAX and 3D.
“Working in the IMAX format and in 3D is always challenging. When you combine that with casting real life working dogs who are not trained actors, it adds another layer of difficulty. We want the film to be as authentic as possible, which requires a great deal of research and preparation. So many of the search and rescue dogs we are working with are deployed from helicopters or rappelling from the tops of buildings, performing incredible feats of heroism and bravery. Safety is always our biggest concern when filming these kinds of action sequences. We’re also determined to film this movie in a way that people haven’t seen before on television. We want to put the audience in the action and reveal the world through the eyes, ears and noses of the dogs. This requires special equipment and visual effects to make the sequences as visceral as possible, especially on screens up to 7-stories tall.”
To film Superpower Dogs in 3D for giant screen and IMAX theaters, the team also requires a plethora of specialized equipment:
“Filming in 3D requires two cameras, usually in a mirror rig that allows us to adjust the distance between them, so we can decide what objects we want to protrude out into the theatre or recede behind the screen. We also film with the world’s highest resolution cameras in order to fill these massive screens. Much of this is still happening with film: 15-perf 70mm film, but there are also new digital tools at our disposal that allow us to run in slow motion to capture behavior we would never otherwise get. Ultimately, our job is to find places to put the camera and the right tools to convince the audience they are really in these locations, that they are right next to these dogs as they demonstrate their superpowers.”
The film will be released in Spring 2018 to IMAX and giant screen theaters worldwide.
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