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The Last Reef: Cities Beneath the Sea Explores Mysterious Cities of the Deep

February 14, 2013

Boston—The newest film making a splash at the Museum of Science is The Last Reef: Cities Beneath The Sea, a thrilling underwater journey that uses unprecedented cinematography to bring the teeming world of coral reefs to life. Opening February 15 in the Museum’s Mugar Omni Theater, the film explores our connection with ocean’s complex, parallel worlds, revealing a habitat more diverse and more colorful than ever imagined. Stunning imagery immerses viewers in these communities beneath the sea and reveals the behavior and relationships of countless ocean denizens—from well-loved species like spotted dolphins, to reef sharks and stingrays, to lesser-known but equally fascinating reef residents, such as crocodile fish, colorful nudibranchs, and delicate flatworms.

Shot on location in Palau, Bahamas, Cancun, French Polynesia and New York, The Last Reef takes us from the heart of the city to the heart of the reef. As these ancient, exotic havens face the threat of extinction, this uplifting film inspires audiences with a vision of the reef’s incredible— yet fragile—power to rebuild.

“We are excited to introduce our visitors to the fascinating underwater world of reefs and together explore the biodiversity of these living cities,” said Paul Fontaine, Museum of Science vice president of education. “Reefs are typically regarded as exotic, distant places with little or no connection to our everyday world. The Last Reef reveals that these cities beneath the sea are as vital to life on Earth as rainforests.”

The Last Reef illuminates coral worlds in incredible detail, captured by world’s first underwater 4K macro photography rig, created specifically for this shoot. Using this groundbreaking new technology, miniscule creatures appear massive on the giant screen while retaining brilliant clarity. Fly across iridescent tropical reefs, brush through a cloud of a million jellyfish and consider what it would mean if one of these wonderlands were to become the last reef, a very real danger being faced today.

The Last Reef was shot over a period of three years, with much of the underwater footage captured on the reefs of Palau, 500 miles west of the Philippines. Palau is an archipelago of limestone rock islands sheltered by a massive reef, with a multitude of easily accessible coral formations in clear, calm waters. Individual sites in the film include Jellyfish Lake, Blue Corner, the German Channel and Mandarin Fish Lake. Mangrove footage was mainly shot in Bimini, with the added advantage of lemon sharks, reef sharks, stingrays and some excellent wreck sites. The reef aerials were shot in 15/70 large format film, over the French Polynesian islands of Bora Bora, Maupiti, Tupai and Rangiroa atoll.

The Mugar Omni Theater is New England's only IMAX® Dome theater, and continues to provide visitors with some of the world's most awe-inspiring experiences via its five-story-high screen and heart-thumping surround sound system. The Omni Theater has welcomed more than 17.5 million visitors, transporting them to some of the world's most wondrous places.

The Last Reef is sponsored by MathWorks. Admission to the Mugar Omni Theater is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (60 +) and $8 for children (3-11).For information on tickets and showtimes, please call 617-723-2500, 617-589-0417 (TTY) or visit the Museum's web site at

The Last Reef is a production of Giant Screen Films, Yes/No Productions and Liquid Pictures. The film is written and directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, the Academy Award®-nominated creators of the international sensation STOMP. Cresswell and McNicholas have previously teamed with Giant Screen Films on the award-winning giant-screen films Wild Ocean and Pulse: a STOMP Odyssey. Photography is by award-winning director of photography, D.J. Roller. Original music by Cresswell and McNicholas with sound design and mix by Mike Roberts and Brian Eimer. This film is suitable for all audiences; running time 39 minutes.

About the Museum of Science
One of the world's largest science centers and Boston's most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces about 1.5 million visitors a year to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) via dynamic programs and hundreds of interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830, the Museum was first to embrace all the sciences under one roof. Highlights include the Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, 3-D Digital Cinema and Butterfly Garden. Reaching 25,000 teens a year worldwide via the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, the Museum also leads a 10-year, $41 million National Science Foundation-funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network of science museums. The Museum’s "Science Is an Activity" exhibit plan has been awarded many NSF grants and influenced science centers worldwide. Its National Center for Technological Literacy®'s engineering curricula have reached more than 47,000 teachers and 4 million students nationwide. The Museum has also: been recognized by Boston and Cambridge for its energy and sustainability efforts; named an Employer of Choice by Work Without Limits, a Massachusetts disability employment initiative; is Yankee Magazine's "Best of New England Readers' Choice" for Cultural Attraction in Science; is El Planeta's Best Tourist Attraction for the Massachusetts Latino population; and Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun was recognized as the "Best Immersive—Fulldome Program" by the Jackson Hole Science Media Awards. Visit Follow the Museum of Science on Twitter at @MuseumOfScience or Facebook at

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Erin Shannon: 617-589-0250 or

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