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Finding The Unexpected
"When you're making a nature documentary, you'll go into a location with a storyboard and a shot list – you'll have a very good idea of what you want to get,” notes Long. "But when you get there, there's always the unexpected magic that happens. Oftentimes, that's the best stuff you could ever ask for.”

"Our small camera crew traveled with us to all of our international destinations,” adds Fernandez. "Because the IMAX® technology originated in Canada, this is where most of the experts reside, and so most of these folks were Canadian, with extensive experience working with the IMAX® cameras. This was key, as every single frame of this film was shot in 65mm film with IMAX® cameras. But in most cases, we hired the rest of the crew locally. It just made sense given the remoteness of these areas. These people knew the locations intimately, and had tons of enthusiasm for what we were trying to accomplish. I think that's because a lot of them were doing this for the first time. Many of them were naturalists, or working in ecotourism, and were keen to share the best that their country had to offer with us as filmmakers. They were fresh and felt good getting up in the morning. At the end of the day, we got a lot of shots that we might not have gotten with a more experienced crew.”

In Borneo, those two elements came into play as the filmmakers tracked down proboscis monkeys. "I'm sure you've seen pictures – they have huge noses and potbellies,” says Long.

"We were going up and down these rivers, two canoes tied together with a ladder on top, with the camera up in the treetops looking for the monkeys. Then, one day, we found them, and we rolled film. All of a sudden, they started jumping out the trees – 10, 20, 40 feet or more. Our guides said they'd never seen anything like it before.”

"We pulled the canoes up to the shore, and got all of our gear onto land, and then we had to design a rope rig to get it all to the village,” notes Fernandez. "They build their villages high there, to protect against floods. All the children of the village came out to greet us; that was an incredible experience.

"We visited an area in Namibia called Sossusvlei, or ‘Dead Valley,'” continues Fernandez. "There are these huge saltpans and old, seemingly dead trees coming out of them, with the backdrop of giant red dunes. When the sun rises or sets, there is some pretty dramatic color and shadow with the way the light passes through the valley. We wanted that shot more than any other. Our guys worked really hard to get it. They carried the track, all of our jibs, the camera, all the paraphernalia, and the film. It was incredibly difficult work, and everybody was guzzling water the whole day, but we got the shot. It was a good day.”

"We went to Thailand with the hope that we could capture something about the Buddhist philosophy of life,” says Long. "We shot a lot of time-lapse photography there, and in the film, we juxtapose it with time-lapse footage we took in cities. I think it's an interesting contrast.

"These cultures still exist precisely because the people that live there have learned to interact with their surroundings; had they depleted their natural resources, they would not be around today for us to observe,” Long continues. "While I'm not making value judgments, I do think that now is a good time to look at these cultures and see what lessons we can take and apply to our very modern world.”

"No matter where we went, we heard common themes from the village elders,” says Long. "One of those is that we have to respect the environment. As humans, we're just a part of nature, like plants and other animals – we're not in control. If we realize and respect those other parts of nature, it's easier for us all to live together.

"If this fi

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