Made in Alaska: 'Walking with Dinosaurs' set for Dec. 20 release
Your best chance to see green grass in Alaska anytime soon will probably come on the big screen.
The backdrops in “Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie,” which opens Dec. 20, were filmed extensively in Southcentral by production company Evergreen Studios.
Filming was done around Anchorage, Girdwood, Kenai, Ninilchik and Homer, according to Evergreen spokeswoman Julie Karickhoff. During production in the second half of 2011, Evergreen had more than 55 people working out of its Anchorage office, she said.
Evergreen’s South Anchorage space is currently occupied by Piksik LLC, a NANA Corp. subsidiary production company. NANA is a majority shareholder in Evergreen Studios, Karickhoff said.
Evergreen CEO Mike Devlin produced “Walking with Dinosaurs” and is an Anchorage resident. The Evergreen of today was formed in 2009 when Devlin merged the production company he founded, Dangerous Passage Productions with Evergreen Studios.
Devlin produced the award winning documentary “Icy Killers: The Secrets of Alaska’s Salmon Sharks,” which aired on the National Geographic Channel the same year. He said in an email that he hopes to bring his Los Angeles-based company back to Alaska in the near future.
“We have multiple projects in development and would love to produce them in Alaska, but it’s too early to confirm as there are many factors that will impact those decisions,” Devlin said.
Evergreen is a “multi-platform” studio, Karickhoff said, that also does production work in television, video games, and online video.
“Walking with Dinosaurs” might well already be the biggest feature film produced in the state, even before its release. 20th Century Fox purchased distribution rights to the $65 million animated feature in 2010. It stars John Leguizamo, Justin Long and Karl Urban and was written by John Collee who also wrote the 2007 Oscar-winning animated film “Happy Feet.”
“Walking with Dinosaurs” was first an Emmy-winning 1999 BBC Earth documentary with a worldwide audience approaching $700 million. BBC Earth also contributed to the feature film production, according to an Evergreen release.
The latest “Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie” follows a pachyrhinosaurus family of on a journey across Arctic Alaska. The pachyrhinosaurus called Alaska home about 70 million years ago when the climate was much warmer than it is today.
To meld the animated creatures with the backdrop footage from Alaska and New Zealand, Evergreen’s team used Cameron Pace Group 3D technology — as in iconic director James Cameron. CPG is the same graphic technology used in the blockbusters “Avatar” and the “Transformers” series.