D  O  C  U  M  E  N  T  A  R  I  E  S

EXPEDITION BISMARCK (2002)

Expedition: Bismarck is a 2002 documentary film produced for the Discovery Channel by Andrew Wight and James Cameron, directed by James Cameron and Gary Johnstone, and narrated by Lance Henriksen. The film follows an underwater expedition to the German battleship Bismarck and digitally reconstructs events that led up to the ship's sinking during World War II. In 2003 the film was honored with an Emmy award for Outstanding Sound Editing for Non-Fiction Programming.

From the Back Cover:
It was WWII's most fearsome ship. A ship so powerful, it sank the pride of the British fleet with a single salvo. Hearing the news, Winston Churchill saw no choice. He sent nearly the entire Royal Navy to hunt and destroy the Bismarck. But what really happened to this German legend? Was she sunk? Or was she scuttled? Now Titanic director James Cameron returns to the high seas to tell the tale and search for the truth. Leading a team of explorers, historians and Bismarck survivors, Cameron examines the wreck three miles down and discovers the answers that may finally end the debate. With revolutionary production techniques and high-tech Remotely Operated Vehicles, Cameron lights up this dark world and gives us the first glimpse inside the Bismarck in more than 60 years. Stunning high-definition footage shows underwater images with cinematic clarity. And cutting-edge animation and ultra-realistic reenactments bring the survivors' stories to life. Join the expedition and relive the dramatic final days of the DKM Bismarck.

Launched on May 18, 1941, the Nazi battleship Bismarck was the largest war vessel of its kind ever built. Wasting no time in making its mark on the Second World War, the Bismarck spent the first eight days of its existence cutting a swath of destruction and devastation throughout the North Atlantic, sending several Allied ships (and sailors) to the bottom of the sea. But on day nine -- May 27, 1941 -- the Bismarck itself was defeated and destroyed by the combined efforts of the British battleships Rodney and King George. When the smoke cleared, the Bismarck was sunk beneath the waves, carrying 2,106 German sailors with it.

Produced and directed by James Cameron, the man who brought the movie megahit Titanic to life in 1997, the two-hour documentary Expedition: Bismarck uses state-of-the-art technology and filming equipment to offer viewers the first images of the Bismarck since its death 61 years earlier. This required Cameron and his hardy crew to risk their own lives by plunging some 16,000 feet into the icy North Atlantic, but the end results were well worth the danger involved. Debuting on the Discovery Channel cable network on December 8, 2002, Expedition: Bismarck was made available on both video and DVD within a matter of days after its TV bow. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Emmy award-winning primetime documentary, produced for Discovery Channel by James Cameron's Earthship Production.
RTL aired this TANDEM co-financed production in Germany with a 25% market share in the main advertising target group of 14 to 49 yrs., winning primetime for the evening.
Oscar®-Winner James Cameron and his crew once again dive down to the depths of the ocean to uncover the secrets of Germany 's "unsinkable" battleship DKM Bismarck. The wreck, still upright on the North Atlantic floor, lay virtually unexplored since a furious British Navy bent on revenge bombarded it into oblivion in May 1941. James Cameron, who wrote, directed and appears in this breath-taking and emotionally charged documentary, brought his deep-sea filmmaking expertise and newly-advanced equipment and technology to conduct the first detailed survey of the sunken ship and probe its ghostly interiors for the first time ever.

James Cameron and his brother Mike are determined to find out whom is really correct. They chart the Russian research vessel the Akademik Keldysh and the submersibles Mir I and Mir II. The Mir submersibles are the deepest diving and most advanced in the world. Mike Cameron has designed some really expensive, really advanced undersea camera equipment and Robotically Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to photograph the wreck in detail and explore inside the ship. The Mir pilots are extremely experienced: Whatever Jim Cameron wants done, they can do it. Whether what Cameron wants done is safe or not is another issue.

Cameron is as devoted to the project as he is to any Hollywood blockbuster. “I enjoy this”, Cameron says in an interview, “It’s an alternative to making movies, which are as technically challenging, as emotionally challenging”. For Cameron, it’s also a challenge to be able to do things as right and safely as possible to emerge with great results.

Unlike on Cameron’s explorations of the Titanic, he has people on board with knowledge of the ship, either from research or from first-hand experience. Two historians of the Bismarck sea chase discuss the main points of the drama and the various figures involved, providing a detailed framework. That framework is filled in by two survivors invited to the expedition. They provide for some of the movie’s more emotional moments, such as a small ceremony over the wreck itself. And, knowledgeable as the historians may be, nothing beats experience.

A combination of newsreel footage, historical footage and re-enactments- both live action (Filmed aboard the USS North Carolina, preserved as a museum ship) and computer animated- help bring the story to life in a movie magic sense. But nothing can match seeing the real thing: The time and money spent by Jim and Mike Cameron is well worth from the first dive on. Startling footage shows intact AA guns on the ship, or seaplanes resting inside the hanger. The damage sustained to the bridge shows up in great detail, while the ROV gives us shots in the innards of the wreck, revealing spring mattresses in crew quarters and tables in the encoding room (One of the survivors worked as a coder onboard the ship). Cameron also explores the stern area of the ship, and giving us the first glimpse ever of the torpedo damage on the rudder which doomed the ship. Finally, the hull is examined in thorough detail to settle the debate over whom really sank the Bismarck.

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GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS (2003)

Ghosts of the Abyss is a 2003 documentary film released by Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media. It was directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker James Cameron after his Oscar winning film Titanic. It consists of Cameron and a group of scientists sailing out to the wreck of the Titanic, and then going down to get closer than anyone has before. With the help of specially created cameras, Jake and Elwood, the audience too can see inside the Titanic and with the help of CGI, people can see how it would have originally looked. Also along for the ride Cameron invites friend and actor Bill Paxton who played Brock Lovett in the 1997 film. He narrates the event through his eyes. The film itself was produced for IMAX 3D during the Summer of 2003. It was also nominated for a BFCA award for Best Documentary.

The submersibles Mir 1 and Mir 2 carried the Ghosts of the Abyss team on twelve dives

From Walt Disney website:

Walt Disney Pictures and James Cameron, the Academy Award(R)-winning director of TITANIC (1997), present the groundbreaking cinematic achievement GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS. Joined by his personal friend Bill Paxton (TITANIC) and a team of the world's foremost history and marine experts, Cameron journeys back to the site of his greatest inspiration -- the legendary wreck of the Titanic. During the voyage, you will explore the entire ship, deck by deck, room by room, encountering mysteries that have remained hidden for almost a century. Revolutionary underwater robots were designed and built solely for the purpose of allowing the explorers to peer deep into the remains of the once great ship and bring those surreal and haunting images back to the surface. Loaded with never-before-seen footage, revealing interviews, and innovative DVD bonuses, this unprecedented motion picture event is a must-own companion for anyone who loves TITANIC.

technologically advanced Ghosts of the Abyss, an IMAX rendered documentary that benefits from the additional boost of state-of-the-art 3-D technology. The film combines Cameron's love of the ocean with his continued thirst for historical knowledge, specifically as it pertains to The Titanic. Cameron, who has become legendary within Hollywood for stretching the limits of both man and machine when it comes to his films assembled a rag-tag crew of scientists (and buddy Bill Paxton) and together they spent several weeks exploring the insides of the sunken wreck of one of the greatest ocean going vessels ever to breach the icy brine of the North Sea.

As for Cameron himself, he's an avid diver, having logged countless hours underwater both professionally and recreationally. And when you begin talking about diving a warm smile crosses his face. Tell him that you, too are a diver and would he recommend any particular spots and he's quick to mention Truk Lagoon. "Well Truk, because it's a lagoon and it's in the tropics where the plankton is driven down to a hundred feet, it's gin clear," he says of the underwater visibility there. "You know, a bad day is a hundred feet. A good day is a hundred and seventy-five feet." He pauses, then immediately ties it into his fairly recent trip to the Titanic. "That's the kind of visibility we got down at Titanic. Sometimes, not all the time. Sometimes it dropped down to about fifty feet, but usually up around the hundred, hundred and twenty-five foot mark. The limitation at the Titanic wreck is lighting, just pounding enough light onto the ship to be able to see it. The ship is orange and orange light is the first wavelength, or red is the first wavelength that you lose coming through water. So you put a white light on an orange subject a hundred feet away, eighty percent of the light is absorbed before it reaches you, because it's only reflecting in the red end of the spectrum. All the blues are not reflected so you've just lost most of the effect or your light. It's a tough subject. The Bismark [referring to his Discovery Channel documentary Expedition: Bismark] was much easier because it was gray, so it reflected the full spectrum."



 




Looking at Cameron's body of work, specifically starting with The Abyss in 1989 (although one could argue that it all began with Piranha 2: The Spawning), then Titanic, Ghosts of the Abyss, and his television documentary The Bismark it seems as if he's been exorcising a distinctively liquidic fetish or, more accurately, a nautical obsession. Cameron laughs at the terminology and quickly states that he hasn't lost his water-oriented fixation. "Hell no. You know, I could do and hope to do marine expeditions indefinitely, as long as I can still function. I'll probably go back and forth, call it alternating years between features, which might be about any subject and you know, oceanographic work, 'cause I love it. It's great and I enjoy it. You know, I was a diver before I was a filmmaker. I was a wreck diver before I was a filmmaker."

Given Cameron's heavyweight Hollywood status, one can't help but wonder how he's viewed amongst the scientific community, especially those who work within the field of oceanography. Let's face it, there's a huge divide between the realms of motion pictures and science. "You're absolutely right," nods Cameron in agreement. "There's a real sense that nobody in Hollywood knows their butt
from a rat hole when it comes to science and technology, you know what I mean? I think now that we've done a few of these things and we've generated the technology for our own purposes that is the equivalent to or in some cases better than what the science community has, a little bit of grudging respect has started to emerge. What I'm hoping to do is to work with folks in the oceanographic community really closely and say 'Look, I think not only are we bringing resources to the table technologically that can be utilized, but you have stuff that we need. And we're also bringing financial resources to the table to put together expeditions to look at things that you might want to be looking at also. You'll look at them differently, you'll be taking samples and measurements and doing trans sects and things like that, which I don't care as much about. But there's no reason why we couldn't co-fund an expedition, share the basic expedition costs.' So that's the kind of deals that I'm going to be looking to make in the future. To try to actually facilitate not only what I'm doing, but to facilitate oceanographic research. Because frankly, those folks are under funded."

That said, is Cameron at all attempting to assume the mantle/void left vacant by Jacques Cousteau? "Cousteau was kind of the guy who defined the nexus of exploration and filmmaking," expounds Cameron. "Because not only was he out there exploring, but he was filming his exploration. He's far shifted over to the explorer side, but he understood the value of sharing it with an audience to fund his explorations. First of all Cousteau is the god, right? But the other difference is that he dedicated his life to it. I'm not doing that. For me it can never go that far because I still want to make movies, you know, the way I've been doing in the past. But I'm very, very serious about trying to facilitate research and exploration in any way that I can. I think that's at least equally important as anything that I might do in Hollywood. And it certainly helps keep you sane when you're working in Hollywood, as well. Hollywood is this kind of closed bubble eco-system that feeds on itself and it's entirely self-referential, you know? And that's not a healthy place to exist. I like to be as comfortable sitting in a room with agents and studio heads as I am sitting in a room with scientists or engineers or NASA people, that sort of thing. I just think that it's the range of experience that then comes back into the filmmaking and validates the filmmaking in a way. And I also have to tell you that coming from a place of total artifice, which is what Hollywood filmmaking is – everything is made-up, everything you see is created, everything that is said was written down beforehand – to a place of shooting the real world in all it's fantastic wonder and diversity and real people just doing and behaving the way they do, that's very refreshing for me, you know? And it's a lot of fun. It also gives me a lot of respect for documentary filmmakers, which I probably never had before. Now our industry, the entertainment industry, doesn't really respect documentaries that much. They're sort of low on the food chain."

Scientific facilitation and newfound respect for the documentary aside, how does Cameron hold up in terms of the hurling factor? Astute moviegoers will notice that Bill Paxton is almost caught on film losing his cookies early on in the documentary. As for Cameron? Well, he actually fesses up to the fact that his stomach may be a bit weaker than Paxton's. "I think the truth of the matter is that I threw up a lot more mildly than he did," he laughs. "Bill's got a stronger stomach than I do. I mean I've done a lot more diving than he has, but he did all the 'Vomit Comet' stuff in Apollo 13. To me, that's the challenging part of the dive, when you have to surface. Underwater, I'm fine."

 

Directed By: James Cameron
Original Release Date: 4/27/04
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Categories: Special Interest
Approximate Run Time: 90 MINUTES
MPAA: PG. For thematic elements

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VOLCANOES OF THE DEEP SEA (2003)

Synopsis: The depths of the ocean remain one of the last great mysteries on Earth. Far below the waves is an incredible place teeming with life, but few people have seen it... until now. For the first time you can be there, 12,000 feet below the ocean's surface, inside an unparalleled undersea volcanic world filled with strange creatures and dramatic landscapes. You've never seen anything like this as brand-new lighting technology far superior to anything that's ever been used before illuminates this secret realm. Exhibited to great acclaim in IMAX and other giant-screen theaters around the world.

Canadian documentary filmmaker Stephen Low directs the IMAX movie Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, with Titanic director James Cameron as the executive producer. During its brief 40-minute running time, the film starts out with a 1977 expedition to find life at the bottom of the sea. At depths as low as 10,000 feet, the discovery proved the existence of underwater volcanoes and the plant life they help sustain. Using the deep-sea diving vehicle known as Alvin, the filmmakers capture large-format film footage of some of these underwater ecosystems along with some helpful CGI reconstructions. Ed Harris delivers the narration.

With its spooky, otherworldly rock formations, its unimaginably bizarre creatures, and its mysterious remoteness from ordinary life, the deep ocean holds all the makings of a genuinely magical science film. "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea" throws some spectacular and previously unseen images onto the giant Imax screen, but it stitches them together with a sometimes confusing narrative that only distracts from the fascinating undersea world.

We begin on an unnamed coastline, with an unnamed man. Later we learn that the coast is Spain's and that the man is a paleontologist named Dolf Seilacher. He's talking about the "mistress" he acquired here on his honeymoon.

That mistress would be a small, elusive creature called Paleodictyon nodosum, whose fossilized tunnels Seilacher discovered half a century ago. Remarkably, he believes that the prehistoric creature, which he thinks is a kind of worm, still exists; geologist Peter Rona has found similar hexagonal patterns of tunnels on the deep ocean floor. But neither these two nor anyone else has ever seen the creature.



So off we go into the deep, in search of Paleodictyon. But first we get some back story: about Alvin, the famous submersible the scientists will use; about the mid-ocean vents that an Alvin team discovered in the Pacific three decades ago; about volcanic eruptions underwater and how and why they occur; about the many weird creatures that live near these "volcanoes," properly known as hydrothermal vents; about the connections between this deep-sea life and deep space. It's all nicely narrated by Ed Harris. Perhaps, though, director Stephen Low would have been wiser to go even further off the rails. For when we do finally get back to Seilacher, as he and Rona eagerly slice open cores of sediment to look for Paleodictyon, disappointment awaits. They find the tunnels, but not the creatures.

Science is like that sometimes. But the failure to find a living creature makes the decision to focus the film on the search for it an odd one. Perhaps this emphasis was influenced by Rona's association with Rutgers University, which coproduced "Volcanoes" and would naturally want to see its professor's discovery highlighted.

"It was intended to give people a really big view, and to show people stuff they otherwise couldn't see, and take them somewhere they can't get to themselves," says Stephen Low, producer and director of "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea." His business, the Stephen Low Company, produced the film in association with Rutgers University. This volcanic world, which has been there for billions of years, could well be the origin of life on this planet, Low says. "It's on the edge of science fiction," he says. "There are a lot of things in nature that aren't well understood yet, and a lot of mysteries that haven't been solved."
Perhaps the most bizarre and mysterious life form is an unidentified creature that, for evidently billions of years, has been digging complex, hexagonal tunnels in the mud.  "How a creature could do that ... remains an incredible mystery because it doesn't make any sense," Low says. Another mystery is how organisms survive in the extreme heat of the underwater volcanoes, via hydrothermal vents, he says. People like the "mystery and the weirdness" about the Earth's hidden treasures seen in "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea," Low says. "It's the kinds of things that are more likely to be on other planets," he says. "It's a look at what life would be if we could find it elsewhere.
"You can't go scuba diving and see this stuff," Low says. "It's very dangerous and very far away. ... This footage is the best view you'll ever get of these very deep ocean environments."

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ALIENS OF THE DEEP (2005)

Aliens of the Deep is a 2005 documentary film directed in part by Academy Award-winner James Cameron and filmed in the IMAX 3D format. It was produced by Walden Media and Buena Vista Pictures. Cameron teams with NASA scientists to explore the Mid-Ocean Ridge, a submerged chain of mountains that are home to some of the planet's more unique forms of life.

Cameron joins up aboard the Russian research vessel Akademik Mstislav Keldysh with a group of NASA scientists, as well as some Russian marine biologists, to investigate ten hydrothermal vents in both the Atlantic and Pacific. The vents have their own unique ecosystem, which support diverse organisms such as giant tube worms, swarms of blind white crabs, and vast amounts of shrimp which are capable of "seeing" water that is heated by the vents. These creatures do not require sunlight like other organisms, and instead obtain their energy from the vents. They are able to survive in the superheated and sulfurous water. Because of this, the documentary suggests that this is what life beyond Earth might look like. As some alien ecosystems are likely to be a lot harsher than a typical terrestrial ecosystem, these exotic vents provide an insight into some of the forms that alien life might take.


The documentary shows Cameron's passion for exploring the oceans, as well as his interest in extraterrestrial life. It also showcases the technology employed to reach such depths

From Walt Disney Website:

Take a once-in-a-lifetime journey with Academy Award®-winning director James Cameron (Best Director, TITANIC, 1997) in ALIENS OF THE DEEP, and make contact with another world. This incredible underwater adventure gives you extraordinary glimpses of unbelievable creatures that live in an alien world in the deepest depths of the sea.

Could these alien life forms be clues to life in outer space? It's an exciting exploration you'll not soon forget.

We can only applaud James Cameron's willingness to take advantage of his fame and fortune and do some real exploring. Then again, after watching it it's easy to understand why Cameron is doing this: it really is like exploring a whole new world.



The documentary begins with a short prologue informing us that we are all solar-powered. Life on Earth needs the nourishing rays of the sun to survive. Yeah, sure, we all know this, but that's why it's all the more interesting to discover that, no, in fact it is possible for life - complex life - to exist without ever having caught a glimmer of sunlight. A small, but very experienced team was assembled for the mission. There's Cameron, a marine biologist, an astrobiologist, several Russian submersible drivers, a robotic scout expert (who also happens to be James Cameron's brother), and the crew of the ship that the team is using as their base of operations.

There's a great sequence in right as the team is about to launch into the water. For some reason the large "A-frame" device that will be used to lower the submersibles into the water has broken; without it, there seems to be little hope for the rest of the mission. No doubt pulling out some ideas from his film director bag of tricks, James Cameron comes up with a solution: they can use the boat's on-board crane to lower the ships into the water.

However, when lowering something with a crane the object is subjected to the "wrecking ball effect" wherein it sways from side to side uncontrollably. Given the fragile nature of the submersibles, this would be very bad. Cameron also realizes that if they cut away the side wall of the boat, they could tie ropes to the subs to keep them steady and then lower them in through the hole. After a little practice the team implements the strategy and they're off; ready to sink into the murky and unknown depths of the Pacific. Once they're in the water you're treated to some fascinating sights. Some of the fish look similar, if slightly deformed, while others are totally alien. One of the animals looks like a glowing parachute, blowing in the wind. It prompted the astrobiologist to mutter, "How is that even alive?!"

Later on, the team lowers to a site that is full of underwater "exhaust volcanoes." Essentially, these spots are fissures in the Earth where water is heated due to its proximity to the molten core of the planet, but since all of the water around it is below freezing, the water cannot boil and it's released through small stone chimneys in the form of black smoke. This "smoke" is full of nutrients and minerals.
 


When the team approaches one of these sites they notice that the rock around the volcanoes is covered in what looks to be a massive white blanket. As they get closer they see that the "blanket" is actually an impossibly large swarm of crabs and squid. Somehow, thousands of meters below the water, in complete darkness, this eco-system is thriving. How? As it turns out, the animals can feed off of the minerals released by the underwater volcanoes. And just as surprising, somehow they have adapted to an environment that can go from below freezing to above boiling in the span of just a few feet. This discovery is what propels the documentary into its second half, and the main focus of the narrative. The scientists propose the question, and Cameron pushes it along: if it is possible for life to exist in water without the presence of sunlight, might one of the planets in our solar system contain life beneath its icy surface? Our attention is then drawn to the planet Europa - one of Jupiter's many moons.

Europa appears to be a prime candidate for one of these underwater life-sustaining planets. Through a sequence of wonderful CG animations we are shown how NASA is planning a mission to send a probe to Europa, land safely, deploy itself and, with the help of a nuclear-core, begin to melt away a hole in the planet's crust. Once the probe breaks through to water, an autonomous submersible unit will be deployed and it will begin to search for life.

The documentary ends in an exciting mock-up of man's possible encounter with intelligent life on Europa

IGN

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THE LAST MYSTERIES OF THE TITANIC (2005)

Utilizing newly developed technology, Cameron and his team present history’s best look yet at the ship’s interior, including some areas not seen since Titanic’s lone voyage in 1912. And since time and the harsh conditions of the ocean floor have taken their toll on the ship, these may be the last images ever gathered of the Titanic before it is surrendered to the deep forever.

The majestic Titanic has been an object of fascination and study for decades, but many tantalizing questions still remain about the ship and its catastrophic sinking. This expedition, Cameron’s final and most comprehensive dive yet, attempts to uncover clues and solve some of the Titanic’s most haunting mysteries. Throughout LAST MYSTERIES OF THE TITANIC, Cameron’s specially designed remotely operated vehicles explore the Turkish Baths (the best-preserved and most opulent remaining space in the ship’s interior), Scotland Road (the crew quarters), the first class cabins (which are full of countless personal possessions of the Titanic’s wealthy passengers), the mysterious boiler room #6 and the cargo holds (which housed the luggage of the ship’s first class passengers and remain largely unexplored).

LAST MYSTERIES OF THE TITANIC combines re-enactments, archival footage, and the results of two new Titanic dives with live updates from James Cameron from aboard one of the two MIR submersibles while at the wreck and from the Keldysh, his research vessel. Re-enactments were filmed using sets built during the production of the feature film, Titanic, and present a vivid look at rarely-seen areas of the vessel. As this is his last expedition to the doomed ship, the special also features Cameron’s live farewell to the Titanic.

With the technological savoir-faire that only a genius mind could offer, Academy Award winner James Cameron explored the innermost spaces of the Titanic shipwreck. The famous director of the movie by the same name led a film team of underwater explorers on a series of historic dives.

From the interiors of a scientific submersible, Cameron navigated one to four robots, in order to reach unexplored nooks and crannies of the gigantic liner that sank in 1912. As the other scientists assisted, their faces told a much grander story: this was their trip of a lifetime! They, unlike most of us sat in a front row seat before an un-replicable screen at 12,000 feet on the ocean floor.

The sea-floor-to satellite-data system revealed to the scientific team as well as TV viewers areas of decay, but amazingly, also those which have been beautifully preserved: Turkish baths with blue-green tiled walls intact, a domed archway, and of course the famous bow—the one reminiscent of the famous movie scene with Di Caprio and Winslet.

James Cameron is not only a film director, but a scientist by training; his specialty is physics and his passion is shipwrecks. His two wrecks of expertise to this point are the Titanic and the Bismarck. He has made documentary films on both.

The director James Cameron would be the first to admit that he is obsessed by the ocean. Ever since he first plunged into the murky depths at the age of 16, the film-maker has been unable to kick the underwater habit.


He has dived into the subject again and again in his films - from The Abyss, in 1989 to, of course, the multi-Oscar-winning Titanic.

According to the director, "beside film-making, the underwater world has always been my other love. So if I get an opportunity to be able to put the two together and to make a film on an underwater subject, then I can't be happier. If I had to choose one over the other, I would probably dive."
So he was very pleased to be offered the opportunity to combine his two great passions on his latest project, Last Mysteries of the Titanic, which is showing on the Discovery Channel on Saturday. This is a fly-on-the-wreck view of the Titanic, which lies two and a half icy miles beneath the surface of the Atlantic off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. For the purposes of the programme, Cameron helms a flotilla of state-of-the-art research subs down to the stricken ship. The aim is to gain access, for the first time since the craft plummeted to the ocean floor, to what explorers see as the Titanic's two "holy grails": the ship's Turkish baths and its boiler room.
He says he relishes the sheer unpredictability of non-fiction. "Documentaries are hard," he asserts. "The kind of filming I had done before, where you have a script and you know what you're doing, is easy by comparison. When you're shooting a documentary, you never know whether you're wasting your time every time you start squirting off some footage, or whether this could be the moment of gold."

Cameron, who was born and bred in Kapuskasing, Canada, goes on to explain his love affair with documentaries about the deep. "When I was a kid, exploration was the most important thing. When I realised that I wasn't going to be an astronaut and I wasn't really going to go to other planets, I became very interested in the ocean.
"The imagery that Jacques Cousteau was putting on television back then in the mid-Sixties made me realize that there are alien worlds right here on Earth that you can explore for the cost of the Scuba equipment. I still have the same urge to explore and to understand the wonders of the natural world. Now I'm getting to live that fantasy." A fortune estimated to exceed $50m may well be helping him achieve that goal.

An imposing, 6'2" figure with a neatly clipped, greying, beard, the five-times-married Cameron bubbles with enthusiasm about the life aquatic. A self-confessed "nerd from Kapuskasing", he is utterly immersed in all things maritime. As he outlines in exhaustive detail the technological advances that have been made in submarine filming over the past few years, he breaks off for a moment to laugh: "I must warn you, I'm into this stuff."
Cameron first became intrigued more than a decade ago by the story of the Titanic, the grand liner that was launched in 1911 amid a blizzard of ticker-tape and hype. Less than a year later, at 2.20am on 15 April, 1912, its crew ignored all warnings of impending danger, and the ship struck an iceberg and sank. Of the 2,208 people on board, only 705 - predominantly women and children - survived.
The director worked the story up into a $200m shipwreck epic which soon sailed into the record books as the highest-grossing movie of all time. It rang up an eye-watering $1.7bn at box offices around the globe.
Cameron returned to the subject two years ago when he piloted a sub down to the real wreck of the Titanic to make the 3-D documentary Ghosts of the Abyss. So why, all these years after his initial interest was pricked, is the film-maker still hooked on the story of the mighty liner that came to a mightily sticky end?

"I felt I'd finished with it after making Ghosts of the Abyss," Cameron concedes. "But a little voice in my head kept saying, 'You've only searched 30 per cent of the wreck.' And so I thought, 'This is unfinished business. We now have new smaller, more sophisticated vehicles. Let's finish the job and make the definitive archaeological survey.'"

But, more than that, Cameron emphasises that the Titanic has immense symbolic significance. "You have to start from the fact that the Titanic is different from all other shipwrecks," reflects the director, who has made several other marine documentaries, including Expedition: Bismarck, Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, and Aliens of the Deep.

"The Titanic has a great metaphorical and mythical value in the human consciousness. Is it the most compelling thing in the world when we need to find a cure for Aids and millions of people are dying in Africa? No, on that scale, it's not a priority. But you have to think of the Titanic in terms of a feature film or a novel - something that touches people's emotions. Wrecks are human stories. They teach us something about ourselves. A wreck is a fantastic window into the past. Steel can't lie - it doesn't have an agenda. These wrecks are like time-capsules. We'll put parking lots over battlefields, but underwater these sites are frozen in time. By visiting them, we can touch history."

So what does the Titanic have to teach us today? "People cluck and say it's not relevant because the class structure of that time doesn't exist anymore, but it really does. Contrast the way we in the West live with they way people live in, say, Africa or Indonesia. There is still first class and there is still third class. We're all living on one big blue spherical Titanic." Cameron continues that there are also lessons to be gleaned from the way the ship came to grief. "Like the crew of the Titanic, we've identified the icebergs, but we're not reacting quickly enough as we approach them. By the time they reacted to the icebergs, their fate was already sealed. That's a great metaphor for today. Think about global climate-change. By the time we see evidence of it, it will be too late - a collision will inevitably occur. Mr Bush might have some questions to answer about that."
The director gives another example of what we can learn from deep-sea treasure-troves. "Look at the wreck of the Bismarck, the Nazi ship that I explored a couple of years ago. That opens a window onto a specific time in history. It gives us an insight into a certain mindset and makes it more immediate. A lot of kids watched Expedition: Bismarck, and all of a sudden to them the Second World War became more real.

"It's a way for me to give something back, in a sense, and not just be a taker, who just makes films and makes a lot of money, because ultimately that doesn't really return anything other than entertainment value. I don't want to negate that, but I think there's so much else that can be done.''
He is awestruck by the often unheralded endeavours of scientific researchers. "I identify with them. They're basically people who don't live in a glamorous world. They live off the beaten path and spend a lot of time on ships at sea. They're, in a sense, cloistered in academia, but they're really heroes because they're at the cutting edge of human exploration. They're at the frontier of knowledge."
He believes that the work of such pioneers underlines the shallowness of our celebrity-fixated society. "Most people are involved in making money. Unfortunately, in our society you are seen as a chump if you don't do that. People who pursue other dreams are the ones who interest me most, whether they are artists, explorers, writers, scientists, or people looking for some greater meaning or other purpose. I think these are the only people worth knowing and worth celebrating.
"Unfortunately, our Western society tends to celebrate the wrong people, people who entertain us in a very superficial way but don't entertain us intellectually. I don't have any problem with those folks, I just don't think that they should be put on a pedestal." After winning 11 Oscars for Titanic in 1997, Cameron was himself put on a pedestal by Hollywood moguls. He could have named his movie - and his price - but elected not to repeat himself with endless clones of his greatest hits.  Filling his bank and Fisher Investments accounts is not the reason Cameron makes the movies he makes. Instead we are treated to truly unique and original feature films each time Cameron gets behind the camera.
Finally, though, he thinks the time is right for him to return to feature films because he can now harness new technology to make something entirely fresh. Unsurprisingly, he has opted for an almost insanely ambitious sci-fi blockbuster. It is clear that the director of such ground-breaking films as The Terminator and Terminator 2, Aliens, The Abyss, and True Lies wants his comeback movie to make as big a splash as they did.

So does this return to movie-making indicate that Cameron has finally got the Titanic out of his system? He reckons so. The director, who was reportedly at the head of the queue to pay $200,000 to go on Virgin's inaugural commercial space mission, says that "with Last Mysteries of the Titanic, I'm hoping we'll able to lay a few questions to rest. I've made the decision not to return anymore. We've shed a lot of light on it now, and enough's enough. It's time to move on.
That does not mean, however, that Cameron will stop being fascinated by this gigantic hulk of metal that has lain rusting on the ocean bed for almost a century. As far as he's concerned, the Titanic spell has not yet been broken.

"Over the years," Cameron muses, "I've found the Titanic story to be a wonderfully rich and renewable metaphor for the way we look at the world. I'm afraid that human nature has not changed much since 1912 - if at all!"

Independent.co.uk

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THE EXODUS DECODED (2006)

History Channel's documentary created by Jewish Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and the producer/director James Cameron. The documentary explores evidence for the Biblical account of the Exodus. Its claims and methods were widely criticized both by Biblical scholars and by mainstream scientists. Jacobovici suggests that the Exodus took place around 1500 BC, during the reign of pharaoh Ahmose I, and that it coincided with the Minoan eruption. In the documentary, the plagues that ravaged Egypt in the Bible are explained as having resulted from that eruption and a related limnic eruption in the Nile Delta. While much of Jacobovici's archaeological evidence for the Exodus comes from Egypt, some comes from Mycenae on mainland Greece, such as a gold ornament that somewhat resembles the Ark of the Covenant. The documentary makes extensive use of computer animation and visual effects made by Gravity Visual Effects, Inc., based in Toronto

What if it is all true — Moses parted the waters, 10 plagues fell on Egypt, the Israelites took a mass journey out of Egypt? Simcha Jacobovici, an investigative reporter and filmmaker, contends that he has assembled a compelling case for the veracity of the biblical story of the Exodus. He unveils his theories in a 90-minute documentary called “The Exodus Decoded,”. Mr. Jacobovici, an Emmy-winning documentary maker, directed, produced and narrated “Exodus Decoded,” based on six years of research and three years of filmmaking. The $3.5 million film was broadcast on the Discovery Channel in Canada in April and was shown in Israel in July at the Jerusalem Film Festival. He made front-page news in both countries with the film.

Among his attention-getting ideas is that the Exodus occurred more than 200 years earlier than most scholars believe. He suggests that the biblical plagues and the parting of the Red Sea can be attributed to a volcanic eruption some 3,500 years ago in what is modern Greece. And he believes that he has located the lost Ark of the Covenant (in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens) and identified the real Mt. Sinai (Gebel Hashem el-Tarif in Northeast Sinai, close to the border of modern Israel).

“How did we do it?” the tall, bespectacled Mr. Jacobovici asks at the start of the film, which includes special effects and onscreen musings by the executive producer, James Cameron, who wrote, directed and produced the 1997 film “Titanic.” “By tracking down experts from a variety of disciplines who rarely, if ever, talk to each other. None of them fully subscribes to our take on the story, but many possess critical pieces of the puzzle, and what emerges will challenge even the most skeptical.”



Mr. Jacobovici, who lives in Toronto, was making the media rounds in New York for the United States debut of “Exodus Decoded.” Among his other film credits are “Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream” and “Quest for the Lost Tribes.” And now Exodus. Mr. Jacobovici knows that most scholars remain skeptical of his ideas and that there is not a single archeological artifact supporting the story of Exodus.
“The short version is that it all started with my very first film about the black Jews of Ethiopia,’’ Mr. Jacobovici said in an interview, fresh from an appearance on “Today.” “It was the first time I saw that conventional wisdom is not necessarily correct,’’ he said, referring to the debate he kicked off with “Falasha: Exile of the Black Jews.”
Mr. Jacobovici, a 53-year-old Israeli-born Orthodox Jew and a father of five, said he was not grinding any particular ideological ax in his new film. “My question was simple,’’ he said. “Has anybody checked the biblical account in its totality?”
He argued that a reporter examining a biblical story was no different from a detective solving a murder. “We don’t expect a DNA guy to solve a mystery,’’ Mr. Jacobovici said of the credentials needed to investigate a story usually left to disciplines like archeology, geology, history and Jewish studies.
“Exodus Decoded” makes no grand theological pronouncements. It ends by asking viewers to decide whether the events depicted in the Bible are caused by nature or divine intervention.
Mr. Cameron, who met Mr. Jacobovici through a mutual friend, said he had always been fascinated by archeology and history. (In the 2003 IMAX documentary “Ghosts of the Abyss,” Mr. Cameron actually journeyed to the submerged Titanic wreck.) Mr. Jacobovici’s project so excited him, Mr. Cameron said, that he helped him to shape it and convinced him to narrate it.

“What Simcha was able to demonstrate, quite definitively, is that the Exodus took place,” Mr. Cameron said. “When you get into the miracles, that’s more conjecture.” He said he believes that Mr. Jacobovici “takes risks and makes leaps that academics can’t make.”
James K. Hoffmeier, a professor of Near Eastern Archeology and Old Testament at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill., is one of the academics interviewed in the film. He said that Mr. Jacobovici does not make his case. Some of his evidence — about natural disasters, for example — has been presented and knocked down before, Mr. Hoffmeier said.

In the last 20 years the debate about the historic accuracy of the Bible has heated up, said Mr. Hoffmeier, who is now at Oxford University teaching a course centered on the biblical Exodus story. “It’s become such a hot topic in academe that it has trickled down into the popular culture, “ Dr. Hoffmeier said in a telephone interview from England. “I have been on five or six shows where the producer is putting forth their theory about Exodus,” and such shows often generate more debate, he said. James Kugel, a former professor of Hebrew literature at Harvard, wrote in an e-mail interview from Israel: “Personally, I would be thrilled if Mr. Jacobovici’s research had actually succeeded in establishing the veracity of the biblical account of the exodus from Egypt, since archeologists and modern scholars of the Hebrew bible are generally so skeptical about it.

“But I’m afraid he hasn’t really addressed the main arguments that the skeptics advance. Those arguments cover a variety of different issues: apparent contradictions within the biblical account, the absence of any external documentary or archeological support for an exodus involving the large numbers of people reported in the Bible or for the entry of such a group into Canaan, as well as the logistical difficulties that the exodus as described in the bible would have entailed.”
Mr. Kugel said that the lack of evidence for an exodus does not mean that there wasn’t one, and that he believes there was one. If “Exodus Decoded” gets people thinking about the Bible, Mr. Kugel added, so much the better.
Mr. Jacobovici’s unifying theory, among his many other conjectures, is that the eruption of a volcano on the Greek island of Santorini indirectly created the conditions for the plagues that were recounted in the Old Testament. He theorizes that the earthquakes and other gas and volcanic eruptions caused darkness, for example, by spewing ash and also created a seismic disruption that parted Lake El Balah — not the Red Sea — and engulfed the Egyptian army. Carbon dioxide vapors killed the first-born Egyptian males who were sleeping on the ground, as opposed to the younger children who slept high up or the Jews who were sitting upright for Passover, he said.

He also offers proof, he says in “Exodus Decoded,” for the idea of a mass exodus of Semitic slaves from Egypt. Egyptian history shows that the Hyksos who ruled the walled city of Avaris were Semites like the Israelites and that they left on a mass exodus known as the “Hyksos Expulsion.”
Most scholars say that the Hyksos left Egypt hundreds of years before Moses was born. Mr. Jacobovici theorizes in the film that if the Hyksos are the Israelites, it would change the date of the Exodus (now believed to be around 1270 B.C.). He is then seen finding artifacts (a wall painting, writing in a cave) that he says support the idea of Moses leading the slaves to freedom.

In the end, Mr. Jacobovici said, people will have to decide what they want to believe. He said that his documentary deepened his own faith. He triple-checked his facts, he said, and welcomes a debate about the evidence.
“I’m not in the theology business,” he said. “I’m a filmmaker.”

Source: NYTimes

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THE LOST TOMB OF JESUS (2007)

Channel and Vision TV in Canada on March 4, 2007 covering the discovery of the Talpiot Tomb. It was directed by Canadian documentary and film maker Simcha Jacobovici and produced by Felix Golubev and Ric Esther Bienstock, while James Cameron served as executive producer. The film has been released in conjunction with a book about the same subject, The Jesus Family Tomb, issued in late February 2007 and co-authored by Jacobovici and Charles R. Pellegrino. The documentary and book's claims are currently the subject of controversy within the archaeological and theological fields, as well as among linguistic and biblical scholars. Following the March 4, 2007 airing of The Lost Tomb of Jesus on the Discovery Channel, American journalist Ted Koppel aired a program entitled The Lost Tomb of Jesus—A Critical Look, whose guests included the director Simcha Jacobovici, James Tabor, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who served as a consultant and advisor on the documentary, Jonathan Reed, Professor of Religion at the University of LaVerne and co-author of Excavating Jesus Beneath the Stones, Behind the Text, and William Dever, an archaeologist with over 50 years experience in Middle Eastern archaeological digs.

MSNBC TODAY interview

Is Jesus’ tomb under an apartment complex in Jerusalem? A new book and documentary claim limestone ossuaries, or bone boxes, found in a first-century burial place in the Talpiot neighborhood of this ancient city may not only belong to Jesus’ family, but also provide evidence Jesus and Mary Magdalene were buried together and had a son. TODAY talked to Simcha Jacobovici, an Emmy Award-winning journalist who wrote and directed “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” and James Cameron, who was the documentary’s executive producer. Cameron, director of such Hollywood blockbusters as “Titanic,” “Aliens,” and “Terminator 2:Judgment Day,” said he knew making a film on Jesus’ family tomb would be controversial, but it was a story that had to be told. “We now know more about [Jesus] than we’ve known for literally thousands of years. I think that’s pretty amazing,” he said. “I think that’s the power of film.” Here’s an edited version of the interview:

TODAY: The 10 ossuaries were excavated from a tomb found at a construction site in 1980. How did you become involved in trying to identify them as belonging to the Jesus’ family more than 20 years later?

Simcha Jacobovici: I got involved in making a film called “James, Brother of Jesus” a few years ago in 2002. An ossuary surfaced through the antiquities market in Israel that said shocking words: James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus. If this inscription was authentic it was the first tangible, carved-in-stone proof that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure. I was brought into that project by Herschel Shanks, who’s the editor of the Biblical Archeology Review. And I ended up making a film on that particular bone box, which become controversial because there is a trial right now as we speak. It starts again on the 27th that the owner of that bone box. That bone box was not found in situ by archeologists. It didn’t have provenance. They didn’t know where it came from. It came through dealers. And some people charge that the words “brother of Jesus” were forged and were added on later. So I covered that.

In the course of that investigation, I came across a cluster of bone boxes that said, Jesus, son of Joseph, two Mary’s, a Matthew, and a Judas, son of Jesus. They were sitting on warehouse shelves like in “Indian Jones’ Raiders of the Lost Ark,” just sitting there being ignored. And no one argued about their provenance. They were authentic. And I thought oh my God, has anyone actually investigated this? And one thing led to another. I came to Jim Cameron with the evidence that I had at that time. And the result is what we are unveiling now.

TODAY: Why go to Mr. Cameron?

James Cameron: Go ahead. (Turns to Jacobovici.) I don’t know why you did. You have to tell them. (Laughs.)

Jacobovici: For two reasons. One is that the book, which has just come out at the same time as the film, is co-written by Dr. Charles Pellegrino and myself. Charles Pellegrino is a friend of Jim Cameron and they had written a book on the Titanic. They know each other. The second thing is that when we needed to put the film together, we know it obviously had to be a film of a certain stature. And we needed somebody to work on it with us who had that stature. And Charles Pellegrino said the man is James Cameron. He’s the man. I had only known Jim Cameron as the maker of the “Titanic” and blockbusters like that. I didn’t know him as someone interested in all these documentaries. Really in a sense he was a documentary filmmaker as well. So when we all got together and he started cross-examining me on the facts as any executive producer or an editor at a newspaper, we all realized that we had a good team, and we moved forward: Charlie, Jim and I. It’s been two- or three-year journey.

Cameron: It’s almost exactly two years. It was March of ‘05 that Charlie introduced me to you and that I heard about this project for the first time. I knew very little of first-century Christianity at the time, but I’ve studied it pretty intensely since then. I don’t pretend to be an archeologist and I don’t pretend to be an historian, but when I get interested in a subject, I’ll read voraciously on it. So I wanted to qualify as a proper member of the team. We also knew that the investigation would take us on a journey — and it did. We couldn’t have predicted exactly where it would have come out; we couldn’t have predicted for example, in that we’d be successful in chemically fingerprinting the James ossuary to the Talpiot tomb, which I think is hugely significant in the analysis in the outcome of this. So Simcha and I became friends.

I had already friends with Charlie Pellegrino. Charlie and I had become friends during the Titanic investigations. We had dived together at that wreck site and on different expeditions. He knew that I loved a detective story, that I loved forensic archeological investigations. I had consulted with him on some things that he had been doing both at Ground Zero here, which he treated as an archeological site, and at the Vesuvius sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii and [in Santorini. The Minoan civilization existed on Crete and what was on the island called Thera at the time. I pursue film projects where I think I’m going to learn something, where I believe my curiosity is going to be satisfied in some way. And this was that type of project.

Cameron: Yes, I think we certainly understood that this would be controversial. And by the way, we welcome peer review. We think that this is a significant find and we think that this bears a lot more study than a Discovery Channel documentary has the resources to do. Did we talk about the repercussions of this? Of course, we did. In fact, I was even hesitant to get involved in this project I had to think, do I want this in my life. But ultimately my decision was as a documentary filmmaker, a story this important needs to be told. So I decided to pursue it.

Now in respect with the resurrection, and Simcha can speak to this as well, neither one of us are theologians, but certainly we’ve been dealing with biblical scholars, biblical archeologists, and so on, so we have a passing knowledge in that area. The resurrection itself is not challenged. Jesus may well have risen. And having risen, according to the scriptures, walked the earth, for an additional 40 days, appeared in corporeal form and spiritual manifestations, including a child, and including someone that his disciples didn’t recognize at first and things like that. And then ultimately ascended to heaven.

Where you get stuck is the physical ascension to heaven, taking his bones and body with him to heaven, instead of leaving them behind on earth. Many Christians don’t take that literally, some do. That is where I think there is going to be controversy or denial or pushback or people think it is a fake or whatever they want to say. Again, we’re not theologians and we’re not even archeologists. We’re documentary filmmakers, so we can only report what the experts are saying. I think if you see they film and you read the book, you’ll see that a very compelling case is made and it does ask many questions and many people should discuss this

Jacobovici: I’m not a Christian, but philosophically speaking, but philosophically speaking, people are jumping to the conclusion that finding physical evidence of a burial place of Jesus is some how challenging the resurrection. Logically, it really isn’t. I’ve spoken to some theologians and they’ll have to weigh in. Since Christian theology holds that Jesus was dead for three days and he rose. During those three days whether he was in this tomb or that tomb doesn’t deny or confirm resurrection. So I think people are jumping to a conclusion that is really not part of the investigation of this film. Yes, the ascension, if people believe in a spiritual ascension, there is no issue. People believe in a physical ascension then that’s something Christian theologians will have to discuss. But what we have done, we have just come back and reported a set of facts. There is a tomb. There are inscriptions in it. They match the gospel story. They match the noncanonical text: The text that didn’t make it into the Christian bible.



Cameron: And the Synoptic Gospels are well matched. It was interesting last night we were talking to James Tabor, who was one of our consultants, one of our experts on this. He’s the head of religious study at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he was saying, if someone had come to me and asked me to profile what I would expect to find in the Jesus family tomb, I would’ve said that there first of all there would be the tomb of James, because he succeeded Jesus in the early Christian church. He ran it for a while before he was himself was martyred. So it would be the tomb of James. He would have the wherewithal to create to greener the family tomb. In there would be the mother. Mom would be there. Mary Magdalene would be there. The brothers would be there. The sisters would be there. And Jesus would have been there. We believe the unmarked ossuaries contain the bones of the sisters. And if you look at what was in the tomb it almost exactly matches what biblical school and history would have expected to find in the tomb.

Jacobovici: You have to remember that the tomb was dismissed in 1980, when it was first discovered, for two reasons. It wasn’t even published. Even a report wasn’t written. We wouldn’t have known it existed except for literally a handful of archeologists. Like four people; five people. It was dismissed today by people who haven’t seen the film. They are still dismissing. One is yes there were two Marys, but the second Mary wasn’t Mary Magdalene, and these were common names. Therefore, there is nothing to it. It’s like finding John, Paul, and George, but it doesn’t mean you found the Beatles. The people who were dismissing this as common names were archeologists. Yes, they have a skill set, but it’s not statistics. So what we did was we asked statisticians if is this impressive, if this is compelling. And what they said was individual the names may be common, but the cluster is statistically compelling.

TODAY: The other controversy here is the role Mary Magdalene played. If the ossuary contained her bones that would change some of the tenants of Christianity.

Cameron: No, it doesn’t really change anything. Mary Magdalene is in the canonical gospels. She’s the woman in the New Testament mentioned most next to Jesus’ mother. She’s mentioned all over the place. She’s at the crucifixion; she’s at the resurrection. Why is this woman in the story? It was much later, centuries later, that this idea that she was the fallen woman who was redeemed, that she was the prostitute. That was not there originally and if you find these other texts that talk about her, we find a very different picture of her.

TODAY: That will remind people of “The Da Vinci Code.” Do you think that that is going to blur some of the claims are you are making in this documentary?

Cameron: We began this documentary before I had read the “The Da Vinci Code” and well before the movie was released. We were a year into it at that point. Actually, there was some discussion at the Discovery Channel that we should come out before “The Da Vinci Code.” We had enough information to tell a story at that time, but we hadn’t done our forensic investigation. And we elected to continue with our forensic investigation and we actually put a year between us and “The Da Vinci Code” to let these ideas marinate. I actually thought it was a good thing.

“The Da Vinci Code” is actually well researched. It’s not necessary accurate in all places, but there are a few ideas in there that have significance. For instance, when I look at it as paving the way for some of these ideas that some people may consider to be quite radical, but were rather well researched in that movie. The idea that Mary Magdalene might have been Jesus’ companion or even his wife is a fairly radical, even though amongst scholars its been discuss for some time. But as a public concept it hasn’ been out there. The thing that people need to remember is that this is not fiction. The film that we’ve made is a film of an investigation, an investigation done by a small group of journalists, working with the some of the best archeological experts, biblical scholars, and biblical historians in the world, who have been involved in this film under non-disclosure agreements for a year or more. So, this is not fiction and people really have to make that distinction in their minds.

TODAY: What do you think is going to happen? The tomb where the ossuaries were found has been resealed. At this point, what do you think is going to happen with the release of the book and the documentary?

Cameron: Well, I think that there’s a lot more investigations that have to be done. It would be nice to get access to the tomb again, take more patina samples. There are some inscriptions there that have not been translated yet. There are things that still need to be studied. There are other tombs in the region that need to be studied. And I think what should ideally happen now, once the dust settles, the serious scholars who work in this field should get involved, should look at the evidence and argue about it. They all have different opinions, different perspectives, different agendas, and different backgrounds. But they also have different pieces of knowledge. There is a limit to what we can do on a small documentary film budget. This is an important find and an important hypothesis that we’re putting forward. We have enough evidence to say with confidence that it is. But other evidence could come in tomorrow that challenges that. That’s in the nature of any scientific investigation.

TODAY: This can be one of the great archeological discoveries of our lifetime. How does it compare to your other work?

Cameron: Well, I don’t put my ego in this, so I don’t take great satisfaction in attaching my name to something like this. I’m just very curious. I’m a curious guy. I can’t turn away from an investigative story, when it comes to the forensic analysis. I’ve done 33 dives, to the titanic wreck site. I’ve spent over 50 hours piloting robotic vehicles at that wreck trying to piece together what happened during the disaster. How the ship broke up, comparing the historical record with the forensic record. We did the same thing with the Bismarck. I’ve made five documentaries in the past few years. In fact, I haven’t made a feature film in 10 years. So this is kind of my new life. I love documentary filmmaking.

When I got involved with Simcha, he was in progress with at the time which was called “Exodus Decoded,” which looked at the eruption on the island of Thera, which is now Santorini. The remnants of that volcano are now the islands of Santorini. And I got involved in that project because I was fascinated by the Theran and Minoan civilizations. They were at least the equivalent of the Egyptians of that time and they got blown up. Maybe that was the origin of the Atlantis myth. But it was a fascinating area of study and so I got involved in that project. That was my first official archeological project, even though I’ve studied archeology my whole life — as a layman. That lead to this.

This is such an amazing story. I followed my curiosity. I was fascinated by early Christianity and how it all began. How did these ideas take root? How did they ultimately transform western civilization? You trace it back and at the source there was one man preaching to the poor; people who were herding goats in a small country was dominated, under the boot heel, of Rome at the time. And some how this idea took hold and flourished and is the one of the mainstays of our western civilization. That’s pretty fascinating and the idea of tangible physical evidence of his life, his relationships with other members of his family. We now know more about him than we’ve known for literally thousands of years. I think that’s pretty amazing. I think that’s the power of film.

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TITANIC: THE FINAL WORD WITH JAMES CAMERON (2012)

As the world fell in love with Kate and Leo in 1997, 'Titanic' director James Cameron found himself falling for the mighty ship itself.

Titanic: The Final Word With James Cameron is an in-depth two-hour special, featuring some of the world's foremost Titanic experts who solve some of the enduring mysteries behind her downfall.

With incredible underwater footage and scenes from Cameron's iconic Hollywood blockbuster, this remarkable programme lays the myths to rest.

An investigation of this magnitude has never been attempted before. And its revelations may change what you know of Titanic's last hours 100 years ago.

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JAMES CAMERON: VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE EARTH  (2012)

Voyage to the Bottom of the Earth, chronicles Cameron’s historic one-man dive in March of 2012 to the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep, the ocean’s deepest point and perhaps the most isolated place on the planet.

Cameron describes his journey to this ocean’s depth right here on Earth during his most in depth interview to date: “I was watching the numbers going deeper. The sub slows down as you get to the target depth. There is a long moment of getting to think about it. Then you have to get busy. You have less than a thousand feet from the bottom, you fine-tune the ballast, adjust the camera, turn up the spotlight. As the altimeter counted, I saw the glow of the bottom!”

The visionary filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence descended 6.8 miles to the spot known as the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, an area deeper than Mt. Everest is tall. The record-breaking trip that made headlines around the world was part of DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, a joint scientific expedition by Cameron, National Geographic and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research and exploration. Cameron is the only individual ever to complete the dive in a solo vehicle and the first person since 1960 to reach the very bottom of the world in a manned submersible.

James Cameron: Voyage to the Bottom of the Earth features Cameron’s most personal interview to date on the remarkable journey. Culled from more than two hours of his firsthand accounts of the project, it details everything from more than seven years of development to the actual moment he touched the bottom of the Earth. The project is also his first expedition as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.

“I couldn’t think of a better partner. National Geographic as an organization has always stood for the spirit of exploration. It’s what the magazine and the channel has been famous for, coming back from the boundary of human exploration. It’s a legacy of promoting exploration and keeping people excited about something new,” said Cameron.
Cameron shares his thoughts as he aborts one of the first test dives, the emotions he felt during the eerie descent through darkness and the calculated decisions he had to make once he reached the bottom.



At 6’2″ tall, Cameron found fitting into the customized submersible, which can withstand 16,000 pounds per square inch of pressure (the equivalent of putting the weight of three SUVs on top of a human toe) a unique challenge: He had to keep his knees bent for hours, with only a few inches of arm movement critical to operating the vehicle. Customized cameras inside the high-tech submersible will let viewers experience the cramped quarters from Cameron’s point of view.

In the special, Cameron recalls the highs and lows of the more than seven-year design phase of the spherical sub (called DEEPSEA CHALLENGER) that was specially built to endure the elements, and even shrinks about 3 inches because of the pressure during the descent.

CGI animation also illustrates the colossal scale of the trip to reach the bottom, which took over two hours. Slowly diving past the lowest level a nuclear submarine can reach, beyond the last traces of sunlight at 3,300 feet, continuing to the depth of Titanic’s final resting place at about 12,500 feet and diving deeper than the height of Mt. Everest at 29,035 feet until finally reaching his ultimate goal — the ocean floor! Cameron describes in detail what he saw when he touched bottom: “It was like someone rolled latex paint on Masonite. We’re talking pretty much the bleakest place I’d seen in the ocean.”

The historic dive was a huge triumph that succeeded not only in filming the ocean’s deepest point for scientists and lovers of the ocean everywhere but also highlighting the need for oceanic research. The oceans are the last frontier, with a territory the size of Australia largely unexplored.

As the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition enters its next phase, Cameron says, “More money gets put into space exploration, but the ocean is our life support here on spaceship Earth. And we’re destroying it faster than we’re exploring it. I think it draws attention to the ocean and the lack of funding for ocean exploration.”

The DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition was chronicled for a 3-D feature film on the intensive technological and scientific efforts behind this historic dive. The event was also documented for National Geographic magazine. Cameron also will collaborate with National Geographic to create broad-based educational outreach materials.

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YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY (2014)

 

Years of Living Dangerously is a 9-part Showtime documentary television series focusing on climate change that premiered on April 13, 2014. James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger and investor Daniel Abbasi are executive producers of the series. Joel Bach and David Gelber, former 60 Minutes producers, are co-creators of the series as well as executive producers. Joseph Romm and Heidi Cullen are the chief science advisors.

The weekly episodes feature celebrity investigators, who travel to areas around the world and throughout the U.S. affected by global warming to interview experts and ordinary people affected by, and seeking solutions to, the impacts of climate change. The celebrities include Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Don Cheadle, America Ferrera, Lesley Stahl, Ian Somerhalder, Olivia Munn and Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger said that he has been thinking about why the issue of climate change has not yet resonated strongly with the public despite the warnings from the scientific community: "I think the environmental movement only can be successful if we are simple and clear and make it a human story. We will tell human stories in this project. The scientists would never get the kind of attention that someone in show business gets."

After a long period of development, James Cameron’s terrific and powerful mega-project on climate change, “Years of Living Dangerously”, opened April 13th on Showtime.  The first hour installment of the 9 part series features glimpses of climate change impacts around the planet through the eyes of well known guides.  The series sets a dramatic, powerful urgent tone. The first episode takes the bull by the horns – crisscrossing the planet to take snapshots of climate impacts, and the processes behind them, through the eyes of those impacted.

Don Cheadle explores  drought impacts in the US Southwest. Maybe not so surprising – the very people who are being crushed by the impact of climate change, lower class rural folk in Texas, are unable to make a connection between global climate and their problems. They prefer to believe the problems come from God, or natural cycles.  Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe is profiled in her battle against entrenched attitudes and scientific ignorance in that part of the world.

Tom Friedman looks into the impacts of drought on the drought fueled civil war in Syria, and Harrison Ford journeys into the Borneo rainforest, where mega-corporations and corruption are turning massive forest reserves of carbon, and the wildlife it supports, into smoke and greenhouse gas.

 

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