TORNADO ALLEY MAKES WORLD PREMIERE AT THE MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, CHICAGO
The star of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers takes you on a heart-pounding, science adventure in the latest Omnimax® film at MSI
Chicago, Ill. (March 11, 2011)—Get inside … a tornado! The world premiere of Tornado Alley has touched down at Chicago’s only five-story, domed Omnimax theater at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI).
A visual powerhouse of never-before-captured tornado footage, the film tracks the thrilling quests of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers star Sean Casey and members of the groundbreaking VORTEX2 tornado research team. After an exclusive, week-long premiere at MSI, Tornado Alley, produced by Giant Screen Films (GSF) in Evanston, Ill., opens nationally on March 18, 2011.
The film follows the daring Casey on a mission to witness the birth of a tornado from the inside of a storm! Armed with an IMAX® camera, a fleet of customized vehicles designed to withstand gale force winds, torrential rains and unrelenting hail, and an arsenal of the most advanced weather measurement instruments ever created, Casey and the VORTEX2 team take you on a non-stop, thrilling adventure to experience a tornado's destructive power while gathering the most comprehensive weather data ever collected.
In order to get to the root of what makes a tornado spin, Casey had to develop a contraption that could put him in the heart of the storm. Featured in the film, the Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV) allows Casey to literally drive into a live tornado and come out safely. Built on a Dodge Ram 3500 platform, the TIV is a 14,000-pound armored vehicle with four hydraulic drop-down “skirts” that block wind and debris during an intercept. A third axle gives it six-wheel-drive capability and it can reach a top speed of more than 100 miles-per-hour.
Using a 92-pound IMAX camera, Casey races after storms in the TIV. He created a military-style filming turret, inside of which he maneuvers much like a tank gunner, only he’s shooting film instead of ammunition and his range is 360 degrees—giving you the view of live tornado at point-blank range. Tornado Alley is the culmination of Casey’s filming efforts and gives you the chance to ride along—and to see his groundbreaking footage on the giant screen. “There’s a huge difference between filming a tornado from a couple miles away with a telephoto lens, and filming a tornado that’s on top of you with a wide-angle lens,” Casey says. “After eight years, I’m thrilled to finally share these incredible experiences with audiences everywhere.”
Tornado Alley is a heart-pounding science adventure that also features leading researchers Josh Wurman, Karen Kosiba, Don Burgess and the scientists of the VORTEX2 team. The most ambitious scientific mission of its kind, this “dream team” of researchers from around the world use convoys of radar trucks, mobile mesonet vehicles and the most sophisticated weather-measuring instruments ever created. Their ultimate goal: to better predict where and when tornadoes will strike, and to provide warnings that give those at risk a few more minutes to protect themselves and their families.
“Those of us who have dome theaters are always looking for spectacular content that’s exciting, educational, and furthers our vision,” said Andrea Ingram, MSI’s vice president of education and guest services. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a film that fulfills all of these as well as Tornado Alley. We couldn’t be more excited about hosting the world premiere,” Ingram added.
After the film, test your storm chasing skills and work with one of the scientists featured in the movie, Josh Wurman, in the Museum’s storm chasing interactive located in the Science Storms exhibit—or take the controls of MSI’s 40-foot, indoor tornado and manipulate its speed and size.
Omnimax films are not included in Museum general admission and require an additional timed ticket. Tornado Alley plays several times daily at MSI through the end of the year. General admission tickets, with the addition of an Omnimax film ticket, are: $23 for adults, $21 for seniors and $16 for kids 3-11. City of Chicago residents receive a discount as follows: $21 for adults, $19 for seniors and $15 for kids 3-11. Additional ticket and show time information is available at msichicago.org.
Major funding for Tornado Alley was provided by the National Science Foundation. The film is a collaboration of award-winning producers, Giant Screen Films, Graphic Films and Sean Casey, with support from the Giant Dome Theater Consortium, a newly-founded partnership comprising the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago along with six other leading museum institutions.
Giant Screen Films (GSF), over the past decade, has established itself as a pioneer in the large format/IMAX industry. Since 1997, the company has built a reputation for producing and distributing films that, through the magic of immersive sight and sound technologies, offer viewers an inspiring perspective on the world presented on giant IMAX canvas. GSF’s mission is to create and share films that push the boundaries of the large-format medium, challenging the imaginations of children and adults around the world. At the core of this mission is a dedication to the partnerships that bring a diverse range of subjects to the screen and, through meaningful educational collaborations, extend each film’s impact far beyond the theater.
About the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI)
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), one of the largest science museums in the world, offers world-class and uniquely interactive science experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. Through groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else, to Live Science Experiences that make you the scientist—a visit to MSI is where fun and learning mix. Through its Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE), MSI offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to the Museum’s larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. Come visit and find your inspiration! MSI is open 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Extended hours, until 5:30 p.m., are offered during peak periods. The Museum is supported in part through the generosity of the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, find MSI online at msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.
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- Sean Casey and the TIV
- Sean Casey in front of the TIV in the Museum's East Lot. [Photo by JB Spector; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]
- Karen Kosiba and Josh Wurman
- These two scientists, part of the VORTEX2 research team, are featured in the film. [Photo by JB Spector; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]
- Doppler On Wheels (DOW)
- The 26,000-pound DOW in the Museum's East Lot. [Photo by JB Spector; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]
- The DOW
- Doppler weather radars are mounted on trucks and scan directly into the path of storms, allowing researchers to study them with greater accuracy and detail. [Photo by JB Spector; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]
- Sean Casey
- Sean Casey, the star from Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers," uses a 92-pound IMAX camera to capture the stunning storm images seen in the film. [Photo by Ryan McGinnis]
- Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV)
- The 14,000-pound TIV alllows Casey to literally drive into a live tornado and come out safely. [Photo by Ryan McGinnis]
- Doppler On Wheels (DOW)
- The DOW radar vehicles allowed the VORTEXT2 team to determine where tornadoes might form and helped guide other researchers’ vehicles and instruments into a tornado’s path. [Photo by Ryan McGinnis]
- VORTEX2 Team
- VORTEX2 storm chasers line up along a road in anticipation of a brewing storm.[Photo by Ryan McGinnis]
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