On September 2, Fernbank Museum (FernbankMuseum.org) will premiere Pandas: The Journey Home on its five-story IMAX® screen, giving audiences a unique glimpse into one of the most incredible conservation efforts in human history. Pandas: The Journey Home, a groundbreaking natural history film, captures the highly endangered giant pandas living in Wolong National Nature Reserve in the People’s Republic of China.
The giant panda is one of the rarest species on our planet. Shy, elusive and gentle creatures, they once ranged in great numbers between Beijing and the Himalayas. But now, after centuries of human expansion and destruction of their habitat, the giant pandas are on the brink of extinction, with fewer than 1,600 remaining. The giant panda scientists’ goal: to increase the numbers in captivity and, far more ambitiously, to return pandas to the wild—in their natural home.
Narrated by actress Joely Richardson, the 40-minute large format film Pandas: The Journey Home follows the pandas at a significant milestone in their history. After decades of captive breeding, the Wolong National Nature Reserve has hit its target number of 300 giant pandas and now must tackle the challenge of reintroducing breeding populations of the species into the wild.
Filmmakers were given unrivalled access to the Wolong National Nature Reserve with the support of the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association and the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda. With permission to film the rare release of a giant panda bred in captivity, the film follows follow a group of giant pandas being prepared for the wild in a mountain habitat, a first for a Western film crew. Alongside the natural breeding program, the film also captures the captive breeding program, including footage of newborns, young giant pandas playing, and methods of encouraging giant pandas to mate. With this iconic creature so close to extinction, Pandas: The Journey Home is an extraordinary picture of how giant pandas live and the astonishing measures conservationists are taking to ensure their future.
“Pandas: The Journey Home will give audiences insight into the extraordinary strides that have been made towards saving the giant panda in the wild, but will also convey that much work has yet to be done,” said Lisa Truitt, president of National Geographic Cinema Ventures (NGCV).
Directed by Nicolas Brown (Human Planet) and produced by Caroline Hawkins (Meerkats 3D), Pandas: The Journey Home, is an Oxford Scientific Films Production for National Geographic Entertainment and Sky 3D, in association with the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association, Wolong Panda Conservation Centre, CCTV9 and Nat Geo WILD.
“Fernbank Museum is thrilled to be able to offer such an important film to the Atlanta community,” said Lynn Anders, Fernbank Museum’s Animal Programs Manager, “This film will provide the opportunity to learn more about these fascinating creatures and how we can all impact the conservation of endangered species across the world.”
IMAX® tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $11 for children 12 and younger, and $8 for Museum members.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History and the 5-story-tall Rankin M. Smith Sr. IMAX® Theatre are located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. Tickets and visitor information are available at www.fernbankmuseum.org and 404.929.6300.