One of the most incredible migrations on earth has now been captured on film in the latest IMAX documentary adventure, FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES. This story is inspired by Canadian scientist, Dr. Fred Urquhart who spent his life dedicated to unravelling nature’s mystery of the monarch butterflies.
As a young boy,Urquhart was fascinated by butterflies and began his determination in finding where they all disappear to each Fall. The monarchs leave Canada to brave the elements and fly to a Mexican winter haven. In this film, audiences will discover an incredible sight of millions of live butterflies and their journey. For over three decades Dr. Urquhart and his wife Norah inspired thousands of citizen scientists to help tag and track the butterflies to better understand their migration.
Actor Gordon Pinsent plays Dr. Urquhart chronicling his life-long passion and study of these beautiful winged creatures. At the press screening, Pinsent told the media that this was an unforgettable and breath-taking experience. “Show me and let me take part in the experience,” is what Pinsent had said to Mike Slee, Director and Co-Writer. Pinsent went on to telling journalists that while standing in the midst of millions of monarchs in the mountain tops of Mexico, he completely understood how Dr. Urquhart had found peace and conclusion in his journey.
The IMAX technology offers an incredibly up close view from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly that any child would be amazed at. Audiences will see inside a chrysalis captured for the first time thanks to the innovative use of MRI & micro CT scans of insects.
The fate of monarchs has changed since Dr. Urquhart’s groundbreaking discovery of the monarch’s migration in 1976, when there were an estimated one billion monarch butterflies. That number has declined by more than half, alarming nature lovers worldwide.
In 2008, UNESCO declared the monarch butterfly reserve in Mexico a World Heritage Site. (On my travel bucket list now!)
Monarch butterflies depended for their survival on milkweed which have been greatly reduced.
In March 2013, Associated Press reported that migratory monarch numbers – tracked through the critical volunteer efforts that Dr. Urquhart began – were down for a third year in a row, the lowest recorded numbers. The migration itself is classified as “threatened” and the species is classified as “near threatened” by the World Wildlife Fund. Significant portions of the film’s box office revenue will go toward Monarch butterfly conservation.
FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES is currently screening at the IMAX theatre at the Ontario Science Centre. For more information on the film visit www.ontariosciencecentre.ca
Now could you just imagine laying on the grass in an open field with the monarchs all flying above you? The IMAX experience is the next best thing!