October 12, 1998
'Everest' to debut at new IMAX Theater
by Deborah Stone
For many months, the gigantic, white, fiberglass orb that dominates the landscape under Seattle's landmark Space Needle has aroused curiosity.
This futuristic addition at the Pacific Science Center is the Boeing IMAX Theater, and it is scheduled to open October 22. Designed by noted French architect Denis Laming, the building will be the new home for IMAX and IMAX 3D films, shown with state-of-the-art technology. The theater has a six-story screen (twice the size of the old IMAX Theater screen) and a sound system that produces 12,000 watts of digital surround sound.
Audiences will experience the feeling of being totally immersed in the movie. The theatre has 400 comfortable seats, a lobby with a full-service concession stand, restrooms, an elevator and wheelchair-accessible seating. One of the most anticipated IMAX films ever, "Everest," will have its Seattle premiere when the Boeing IMAX Theater opens.
"Everest" takes audiences on a gripping ascent with an international team of climbers, just days after the 1996 tragedy in which eight climbers lost their lives in a deadly storm. It is a rich, dramatic story about the relationship between a group of courageous human beings and the mountain that represents the ultimate physical and emotional challenge.
"Everest" captures the many faces of the mountain, as well as the demands placed on the team of climbers and amazing film crew. It is a story of triumph that will inspire audiences and awe them with the accomplishments of the expedition. The filming of Everest, a feat never before attempted with IMAX equipment, was both a personal achievement for its climbers and a technological achievement for IMAX films.
In the process, the team faced exhaustion, hunger, thirst, lack of sleep, cold and fear as they struggled to deal with the elements and effects of high altitude. Everest, the highest peak in the world, has a summit of 29,028 feet. The area above 25,000 feet is aptly known as "The Death Zone."
Stars of the film are the expedition members themselves: Co-Director David Breashears, Ed and Paula Viesturs (Seattle residents), Araceli Segarra of Spain, Jamling Tenzing Norgay of India, Sumiyo Tsuzuki of Japan and the numerous Sherpas who were integral to the success of the project.
In addition to the ascent itself, "Everest" explains the formation of the mountain and how it continues to evolve, contains information about the challenges of high-altitudes and explores how Sherpa culture and tradition is integrated in the Everest experience.
Attached to the Boeing IMAX Theater is the Ackerly Family Exhibit Gallery, set to open December 26. This glass-enclosed building, also designed by Denis Laming, will be home to a new permanent insect exhibit, including the new Tropical Butterfly House featuring a variety of live butterflies from around the world in a tropical eighty-degree environment.
With the addition of the new IMAX Theater and the Exhibit Gallery, Pacific Science Center adds more than 45,000 square feet of public space to its museum, nearly doubling the square footage for exhibits and public programming. The total price tag: $18.5 million.
For IMAX schedule and ticket information call 206-443-IMAX.