A Trip to Jerusalem in L.A.


The city of Jerusalem is sacred and of religious significance to half the people on earth. The area has been fought over, conquered, destroyed and rebuilt by various civilizations for over 5,000 years. A fascinating trip to Jerusalem and its people is the subject of an IMAX film opening March 10, 2015, at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Jerusalem 3D is a giant IMAX cinematic journey that immerses audiences into the Holy Land. Viewers travel along soaring high above Jerusalem and deep into the Old City. Along the way, moviegoers learn more about the history and iconic religious sites found closely packed into these ancient acres, including the Dome of the Rock, to the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. As one of the producers, Taran Davies, proudly stated, “This IMAX film print in 3D is as high a quality vision of Jerusalem you will ever see.”

Special access to rarely seen, much less filmed, areas is one of the unique aspects of and gifts offered by the film, which was five years in the making. The crews were granted access to film a low altitude area of the ancient Jerusalem that had not been granted in years, according to co-producer George Duffield.

Given its long history, Jerusalem is one of the most excavated cities. Accordingly, the Jerusalem 3D production team followed several impressive excavations in and around Jerusalem, documenting their progress at uncovering and understanding the past. Some excavations shared on screen are around the Western Wall; the movie also shares the marvel of the engineering involved in its creation, which was a feat compared to building the pyramids.

The film, which is distributed by National Geographic Studios, is narrated by actor Benedict Cumberbatch (star of The Imitation Game and the TV series Sherlock). A “plot” that follows three teenage girls who live in Jerusalem today pulls the film together. The teens are each from one of the major religions that consider this to be the Holy Land. The girls show life in their quarter of the city, their religious observations that have existed for centuries and their cultures. Through the girls’ eyes, viewers see Bar and Bat Mitzvahs near the Western Wall, the Palm Sunday parades that follow what is believed to be the path Jesus took on his way to crucifixion, and the Dome of the Rock and Muslim beliefs as to where Mohammed was believed to have ascended to Heaven.

While the girls share their lives and religions, they also share the secularity of the area. While Jerusalem is a small area, the cultures that share it do not intersect, at least according to the film. They living in the same city but do not know much about each other. As one of the girls noted in the film, she “hopes to have the courage to meet the people living right next to us.’

Jerusalem 3D’s Los Angeles debut is tied to the opening of the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition, also March 10, at the California Science Center. Well worth visiting, the two allow L.A. residents and visitors to take an amazing trip to Jerusalem. However, for those not in Southern California, the film is available at museum IMAX theaters in other cities.

By Dyanne Weiss

California Science Center
Press Conference at California Science Center March 5, 2015

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