Sci-Port and KSLA Stormtracker 12 partner to present 'Tornado Alley'
Published Friday, July 8, 2011 11:00 am
by Karen Wissing

Presented locally by KSLA Stormtracker 12, Tornado Alley opens in Louisiana's only IMAX Dome Theatre tomorrow at Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center.

Widely considered the most eagerly awaited IMAX release of the decade, Tornado Alley follows daring large-format filmmaker Sean Casey (star of the Discovery Channel's wildly popular Storm Chasers series) and the researchers of the VORTEX2 initiative on a thrilling quest to witness the birth of a tornado from its very heart. With a fleet of customized vehicles designed to withstand gale force winds, torrential rains and unrelenting hail, and an arsenal of the most advanced weather measurement instruments ever created, Casey and the VORTEX2 scientists take audiences on a heart-pounding mission to experience a tornado's destructive power while gathering the most comprehensive extreme weather data ever collected.

Carrying a ninety-two-pound IMAX® camera that belonged to his father, Casey and his crew race after storms in TIV-2, a seven-ton armored "tornado intercept vehicle" engineered and built by Casey to help him capture what he considers a cinematic "holy grail," a shot of a tornado from point-blank range. Tornado Alley is the culmination of Casey's efforts and will give audiences the chance to ride along-and to experience a visual powerhouse of never-before-captured tornado footage on the giant screen. "There's a huge difference between filming a tornado from a couple miles away with a telephoto lens, and filming a tornado that's on top of you with a wide-angle lens," Casey says. "After eight years, I'm thrilled to finally share these incredible experiences with audiences everywhere."

Tornado Alley is also a heart-pounding science adventure, following leading researchers Joshua Wurman, Karen Kosiba and Don Burgess, along with the scientists of VORTEX2, on their quest to penetrate a tornado's inner workings. The most ambitious scientific mission of its kind, VORTEX2 was comprised of over a hundred severe-weather researchers from all over the world and their fleet of radar trucks, mobile mesonet vehicles and the most sophisticated weather-measuring instruments ever created-used to literally surround tornadoes and the supercell storms that form them. Their ultimate goal: to better predict where and when tornadoes will strike, and to provide warnings that give those at risk a few more minutes to protect themselves and their families.

Don Kempf, president and founder of Giant Screen Films, said "Tornado Alley is just an incredible film for the giant screen market-it's the perfect topic, really. This medium is, after all, about taking audiences to places where they cannot go themselves, and doing so via the most immersive cinema experience in the world. Just as audiences were taken to the top of the world in Everest, audiences will now be taken into the very heart of a 'perfect storm' in Tornado Alley, and on six-story-high screens all over the world. Practically no one in human history has ever ventured to the inside of a tornado-certainly not on purpose and with their eyes open. Now, millions of people around the world are going to experience this very phenomenon, but in the comfort and thrill of a giant screen theater experience. This truly represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we are thrilled to be a part of it."

Tornado Alley is a co-production of Giant Screen Films and Graphic Films, in collaboration with the Giant Dome Theater Consortium. Major funding was provided by the National Science Foundation, and it is presented locally by KSLA Stormtracker 12.

While Tornado Alley is screening at Sci-Port, KSLA Stormtracker 12 will collaborate with Sci-Port to bring hands-on programming to visitors at the Center. "I'm so proud to be working with Sci-Port to bring the IMAX movie, Tornado Alley here to the ArkLaTex," said KSLA Stormtracker 12 Chief Meteorologist Stormtracker Steve. "My kids already love visiting Sci-Port, and I've had the opportunity to work with them during our KSLA Stormtracker 12 Weather Road Tours. Part of our mission here at KSLA is to educate our viewers about the threats from severe weather. This movie will help do that in a unique and powerful way."

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Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center is a 92,000 square-foot science and entertainment center featuring 290 hands-on exhibits, 70 interactive programs and demonstrations, a Space Center and Space Dome Planetarium, IMAX Dome Theatre, gift shop and cafe.  Sci-Port is located at 820 Clyde Fant Parkway on the downtown Shreveport Riverfront.  From September through February, Sci-Port's hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday, Noon - 6 p.m.  From March through August, Sci-Port is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday, Noon - 6 p.m.  For information regarding hours, IMAX showings or special programs, call (318) 424-3466, toll free at (877) 724-7678 or visit




Contact Info

Sci-Port Discovery Center
820 Clyde Fant Parkway
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101


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