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Star of film and Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers series Sean Casey to make special appearance at Discovery Place

March 14, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 14, 2011)—Tornado season is fast approaching in the region of America’s heartland known as “the severe weather capital of the world, and on March 18, 2011, Tornado Alley, an explosive new film narrated by Bill Paxton (Twister, Titanic), will bring nature’s most dramatic weather phenomena to Discovery Place’s The Charlotte Observer IMAX® Dome Theatre.

Widely considered the most eagerly awaited IMAX release of the decade, Tornado Alley follows daring large-format filmmaker Sean Casey (star of the Discovery Channel’s wildly popular Storm Chasers series) and the researchers of the VORTEX2 initiative on a thrilling quest to witness the birth of a tornado from its very heart. With 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 scientists take audiences on a heart-pounding mission to experience a tornado’s destructive power while gathering the most comprehensive extreme weather data ever collected.

Carrying a ninety-two-pound IMAX® camera that belonged to his father, Casey and his crew race after storms in TIV-2, a seven-ton armored “tornado intercept vehicle” engineered and built by Casey to help him capture what he considers a cinematic “holy grail,” a shot of a tornado from point-blank range. Tornado Alley is the culmination of Casey’s efforts and will give audiences the chance to ride along—and to experience a visual powerhouse of never-before-captured tornado 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 also a heart-pounding science adventure, following leading researchers Joshua Wurman, Karen Kosiba and Don Burgess, along with the scientists of VORTEX2, on their quest to penetrate a tornado’s inner workings. The most ambitious scientific mission of its kind, VORTEX2 was comprised of over a hundred severe-weather researchers from all over the world and their fleet of radar trucks, mobile mesonet vehicles and the most sophisticated weather-measuring instruments ever created—used to literally surround tornadoes and the supercell storms that form them. 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.

Don Kempf, president and founder of Giant Screen Films, said “Tornado Alley is just an incredible film for the giant screen market—it’s the perfect topic, really. This medium is, after all, about taking audiences to places where they cannot go themselves, and doing so via the most immersive cinema experience in the world. Just as audiences were taken to the top of the world in Everest, audiences will now be taken into the very heart of a ‘perfect storm’ in Tornado Alley, and on six-story-high screens all over the world. Practically no one in human history has ever ventured to the inside of a tornado—certainly not on purpose and with their eyes open. Now, millions of people around the world are going to experience this very phenomenon, but in the comfort and thrill of a giant screen theater experience. This truly represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

Tornado Alley is a production of Graphic Films and Giant Screen Films. Major funding was provided by the National Science Foundation with additional support from the Giant Dome Theater Consortium. The film is distributed by Giant Screen Films of Evanston, IL.

For more information, visit the Web site:

Visit the Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV) and meet Sean Casey
In addition to the powerful immersive experience Tornado Alley will provide in the theater, don’t miss the chance to meet Sean Casey and get up close to the 14,000-pound TIV. This military-style vehicle with bullet-resistant windows and four hydraulic drop-down metal “skirts” used to block wind and debris will be parked on North Tryon Street in front of the Museum on March 31 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and April 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for public photographs.

Discovery Place will also present a special screening of Tornado Alley with Sean Casey on March 31 at 6:45 p.m. The TIV will be parked outside the Museum’s 6th St. entrance at 6:00 p.m. for photos prior to the screening and doors to the IMAX Dome Theatre will open at 6:15 p.m. Casey, who will introduce the film, will lead a post-show question-and-answer session with audience members. Admission to this event is $10 per person. For more information or to purchase tickets call (704) 372-6261 x300.

About Discovery Place
One of the top hands-on science museums in the nation, Discovery Place provides ever-changing, entertaining facilities that engage the public in the active exploration of science and nature. More than a half-million people from all over the United States visit Discovery Place, its IMAX® Dome Theatre and Charlotte Nature Museum each year. In June 2010, the Museum completed an 18-month, $31.6 million renovation, resulting in a completely transformed and re-imagined experience with all-new interactive exhibits. Discovery Place is supported, in part, with operating support from the Arts & Science Council.

Discovery Place is located in uptown Charlotte at 301 N. Tryon Street. Convenient parking is available in the Museum’s parking deck – the Carol Grotnes Belk Complex – at the corner of Sixth and Church Streets. For more information about Discovery Place, call (704) 372-6261or visit

About Giant Screen Films
Over the past decade, Giant Screen Films (GSF) 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 IMAX Corporation
IMAX Corporation is one of the world’s leading entertainment technology companies, specializing in digital and film-based motion picture technologies. The worldwide IMAX network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event Hollywood films around the globe, with IMAX theatres delivering the world’s best cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX, IMAX 3D, and IMAX DMR technology. IMAX DMR is the Company’s groundbreaking digital remastering technology that allows it to transform digitally virtually any conventional motion picture into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience. IMAX’s renowned projectors display crystal-clear images on the world’s biggest screens, and the IMAX brand is recognized throughout the world for extraordinary and immersive entertainment experiences for consumers. As of September 30, 2006, there were 280 IMAX theatres operating in 40 countries.

IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, IMAX DMR®, IMAX MPX® and The IMAX Experience® are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information on the Company can be found at



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