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Copywrite 2001-2004, California Science Center
 
 
Media Contact: 

Isela Castillo
Work: (213) 744-7446
Pager: (323) 410-9160

 
September 27, 2004

Large format film of the legendary expedition opens at the California Science Center on October 1, 2004
 
 

Los Angeles – Sweeping panoramas of the rugged American West and stunning aerial photography bring one of the greatest adventures in American history to life in Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West, opening at the California Science Center IMAX Theater, October 1, 2004. A National Geographic production, the film tells the story of the team’s arduous expedition from 1803 to 1806, the spectacular wildlife they encountered, the punishing winters they endured, the diverse Native American tribes they met and the breathtaking vistas the explorers experienced on their legendary journey into uncharted territory.

At the turn of the 19th century, what is now the Western United States was virtually unknown to American settlers. It was believed at the time that woolly mammoths still roamed the plains and stories were told of erupting volcanoes and the lost tribes of Israel. Thomas Jefferson, the visionary third president of the United States, was captivated by the stories of the West and longed to have it explored. Jefferson commissioned his aide, Meriwether Lewis, to lead an expedition across the United States, pushing onward through foreign land to the Pacific Ocean.

In 1803, the unexpected acquisition of the Louisiana Territory vastly increased the size of the United States and meant that Lewis and Clark would be the first to scientifically explore this new American land. The main mission was to find the legendary “Northwest Passage,” a water route thought to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, if found, it would have been immensely valuable to intercontinental trade and given great power to the nation who controlled it.

Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West follows the grueling 8,000-mile expedition past buffalo-filled prairies, through thick forests and raging river rapids, over towering peaks and plunging precipices. The film opens with the expedition’s launch up the great Missouri River with modern-day watermen portraying the Corps of Discovery, giving it a rare and gritty authenticity. It captures the wonder of spectacularly pristine wilderness as the Expedition crosses the Great Plains and the treacherous Rocky Mountains and perches atop the Continental Divide, discovering that the Northwest Passage did not exist. Viewers can watch as Lewis and Clark document plant specimens and animals unknown to science, meet with Native American tribes; and paddle down the mighty Columbia River to their ultimate destination – the Pacific Ocean.

Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West reveals how the success of the trek was dependent on the generosity of Native American tribes. In particular, one young Indian interpreter, Sacagawea, who accompanied the small expedition with her infant son, provided invaluable guidance and assistance. The film dramatizes, as never before, the beauty, danger, and glory of the epic journey the Corps of Discovery undertook.

Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West reunites producer Lisa Truitt and director Bruce Neibaur, the highly successful veteran filmmaking team behind National Geographic’s first large-format film, Mysteries of Egypt, which has already grossed more than $70 million worldwide, making it one of the top five grossing large-format films ever released. “This is an incredible story of the American experience,” says Truitt, executive producer at National Geographic. “What Lewis and Clark accomplished was an extraordinary feat of fortitude and luck. They had no solid knowledge about the land they were going to traverse and what little information they had was strikingly wrong. They faced unbelievable danger with tremendous courage. Historians say that their journey was our equivalent of a trip to the moon.”

Made possible through the funding by Eddie Bauer, Inc. and Suzzane and Walter Scott Foundation, the film is produced by National Geographic Television and Film, distributed by Destination Cinema, Inc. and is endorsed by the National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial.

The 42-minute film is narrated by actor Jeff Bridges and features an original score by Emmy Award-winning composer Sam Cardon. It is directed by Bruce Neibaur, produced by Jeff T. Miller and Lisa Trutt, filmed by director of Photography T.C. Chritensen, and features a script by veteran screenwriter Mose Richards. Noted Lewis and Clark expert Gary Moulton and historian and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Stephen E. Ambrose served as film consultants.

Editor's Note: California Science Center, located at 700 State Drive in Exposition Park, Los Angeles, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission to the permanent exhibitions is free. IMAX Theater tickets range from $4.50-$7.50. For recorded information on IMAX show times, phone (213) 744-7400. For advance ticket purchases, group rates, or to make reservations for any visiting group of 15 or more (required), call (213) 744-2019. Parking is available in the guest lot at Figueroa and 39th Street at $6 per car. Both the Science Center and the IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible. For general information, phone (323) SCIENCE or visit our web site at www.californiasciencecenter.org.

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