New IMAX film ‘Backyard Wilderness’ to open at Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
There are so many once-in-a-lifetime moments in the new IMAX film, “Backyard Wilderness,” it’s impossible to say which is most powerful. (Like which of your kids do you love the most?)
It might be the scene where a wood duck hatches in its nest, 70 feet up in the cavity of a tree. Or when it leaps down (to the sound of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’”), landing on the leafy forest floor before following its mother to a pond.
Or perhaps it’s when the fawn is born, or when the young girl at the center of the story, Katie, urges her busy family to stop their car in a rainstorm, so they can save salamanders in the road.
Whatever it is, the power is in the message that extraordinary things are going on right in our own ordinary yards. All we need do to discover them, is remember that Wi-Fi isn’t the only connection that matters, and step outside.
“We felt this generation needed to be reintroduced to the wonders of nature around us,” said Andrew Young, who created the IMAX/Giant Screen film with his wife, Susan Todd. The Emmy Award-winning directors have been making cutting-edge films for 25 years.
“Backyard Wilderness,” which opens at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk on Saturday, March 24, was a three-year project. Filmed on or near the couple’s property in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., it even includes footage of a daring mouse from inside their house.
“Susan and I have been making documentary films all over the world...” Young said. “Whenever we come back from these trips we’re struck by how amazing it is right here where we live, and nobody seems to be paying attention to it.”
Young and Todd felt their children, now ages 12 and 18, weren’t growing up in nature the same way they had experienced it. After observing exciting things on their property, such as vernal pools and a beaver lodge, they started filming.
Surprising, uniquely filmed moments make this movie stand out. For example, the scene of a wolf drinking from a pond was shot from under the water.
So how did they know exactly where and when to film? Young said it took patience and perseverance, plus “we do a lot of work with remote-control cameras set in places where we don’t spook the animal.”
“With nature, especially in the spring, the migration of the salamanders is based on temperature and rainfall, and is different every year,” Todd said. “We actually worked on the amphibians, salamanders and frogs, all three years.”
From classrooms to museums, the film will be accompanied by an education outreach program, including a web-based curriculum and activity guide. The goal is to get people outside. “The movie is not just a movie, we hope it’s really part of a movement,” Young said.
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