Channel Islands National Park movie premieres

By Alex Wilson 05/26/2011

The spectacular scenery, wildlife and cultural significance of Channel Islands National Park are on display in a new movie screened every half hour at Ventura Harbor’s Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center.

It’s taken more than two years to produce the $400,000, high-definition film, which features stunning aerial and underwater views of the park. 3-D animation, and creative camera work also help bring the story of the islands alive.

Treasure in the Sea was created by Aperture Films, which has been nominated for Emmys and Academy Awards for films depicting exotic locations like Mount Everest and jungle caves of the Yucatan. It’s enhanced by sophisticated projection and audio equipment that create feelings of being surrounded by roaring waves, and a Santa Cruz island scrub jay fluttering right past you.

Park Ranger Derek Lohuis helped produce the film, and says most of the approximately 200,000 people who are welcome to the visitor center annually get their first taste of the islands through the movie.

Lohuis says the old movie, which debuted in 1982, was showing its age. “It was long overdue to be replaced, and I think this film is really important because it is the main way we can connect with visitors here at Channel Islands National Park, because the park is so remote and it is so challenging to get out there,” says Lohuis. “It’s our goal that this film would be able to connect people to the park and the resources, appreciate them better and also protect them.”

Josh Colover is president of Aperture Films and served as director and producer of the film. Making it posed challenges since they had to carry heavy equipment like dollies, cranes and batteries across steep and rugged terrain. “The hardest thing was logistics because, when you’re on the islands, there’s no infrastructure, there’s no electricity, not a lot of bathrooms, no food, and everything has to come in and come out,” says Colover.

The film is narrated by actor Kevin Costner, who attended high school in Ventura before achieving movie stardom.

Costner says he was happy to help out on the project. “I grew up fishing at the islands, and later in life really began to enjoy them while diving with my kids. Providing this narration was a way that I could give back to the islands for all the great experiences I’ve had,” says Costner. “I hope this film helps others to appreciate this national treasure.”

Colover says everyone was thrilled that Costner agreed to narrate the film. “He saw the script for the film and he was exited about it. And I think it adds a lot to the film on a lot of levels. One, I think it’s always nice to have someone of stature because it brings more notoriety to the project and he has a great voice. It’s a California film, and he’s got this California cool, relaxed feel to his voice, and I think it’s a great match for the film,” says Colover.

Director of photography and editor Christopher Blum says it was a fun place to shoot despite the logistical hurdles.

“It’s one of these places that’s a real gift, because it’s very hard to go out there and not get beautiful images. There are definitely more challenging places that we’ve shot to make it look appealing or beautiful or interesting, whereas here at Channel Islands, that’s not at all a problem,” says Blum. “It’s such an amazing place with such diverse landscape. And the wildlife and the natural beauty are just stunning.”


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