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Quick Facts

Title of film: Special Effects

Format: IMAX reg. (15-perforation/70 mm)

Description: Special Effects, a new large-format giant-screen documentary, gives audiences an inside view of the innovative effects wizardry that goes into blockbuster movies.

Premiere: Special Effects opens at IMAX and IMAX Dome theaters worldwide beginning July 4, 1996

Length: 40 minutes

  • an opening teaser featuring a 1990s update of the classic story of King Kong

  • a history-making re-creation of several of the most breathtaking shots from the original Star Wars film in IMAX by Industrial Light & Magic

  • backstage looks at the making of Lucasfilm Ltd.'s epic Stars Wars Trilogy Special Edition (distributed by Twentieth Century Fox), Independence Day from Fox, Jumanji from TriStar Pictures, Inc., and Kazaam from Interscope Communications, Inc.

Production Quotes

  • "The science story is a natural, because special effects are all about perception. Knowing how the eye and brain work is an integral part of creating convincing effects."—Paula S. Apsell, Executive Producer

  • "Everyone's going for bigger and better, so we decided why not 10 times bigger? The filmmakers we worked with loved the whole new dimension this medium gave them—and loved giving away their secrets for the camera."—Susanne Simpson, Producer

  • "Filmmakers began to experiment with special effects almost as soon as motion pictures were invented. The history of special effects is the history of motion pictures."—Ben Burtt, Director


A Production of NOVA/WGBH Boston
    Executive Producer: Paula S. Apsell
    Producer: Susanne Simpson
    Director: Ben Burtt
    Co-producer: Laurel Ladevich
    Narrator: John Lithgow
    Writers: Susanne Simpson, Ben Burtt, Tom Friedman
    Music: Christopher Stone
    Directors of Photography: Reed Smoot, Jack Tankard
    Production Manager/First Assistant Director: Lope Yap, Jr.
    Imaging Consultant: Christopher Reyna
    Post- Production Supervisor: Rick Gordon
    Special Visual Effects: Industrial Light & Magic
    King Kong Visual Effects: Kong Productions, IMAGICA USA
    Post Production Facilities: Skywalker Sound
    Additional CGI Sequences: New Wave Entertainment


NOVA/WGBH Boston and 18 international science museums:
    California Museum of Science and Industry, Los Angeles, CA
    Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Canada
    Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA
    Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH
    Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, CO
    Discovery Place, Charlotte, NC
    The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Philadelphia, PA
    La Géode, Paris, France
    Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, NJ
    Maryland Science Center, Baltimore, MD
    Louisville Science Center, Louisville, KY
    Museum of Science, Boston, MA
    National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan
    Omniversum, The Hague, The Netherlands
    Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, OR
    Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center,
    San Diego, CA
    Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond, VA
    St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis, MO

    Major funding provided by the National Science Foundation
    Corporate funding provided by Silicon Graphics Computer Systems


Imax Corporation

The IMAX Experience Soaring 50-to-80 feet high, IMAX and IMAX Dome screens cover roughly 10 times the area of a standard movie theater screen.

Transportation: Air travel for Special Effects provided by United Airlines

The July 1996 premiere of Special Effects is presented as part of the "Motion Picture Centennial: Years of Discovery, 1891-1896 / Years of Celebration 1991-1996," a six-year, nationwide, multi-institution observance of the first 100 years of the moving image arts.

Press contacts:

Ellen Dockser, WGBH Boston, 617-492-2777, ext. 3857
Peggy Villines, Villines Co., 310-399-1922
Victoria Dinnick, Imax Corporation, 416-960-4366

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