'Animal Planet' host Jeff Corwin in Central New York to begin filming IMAX movie


COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) - Part of Central New York will soon make its way to the big screen, the really big screen - IMAX theaters.

'Animal Planet' TV personality Jeff Corwin will be hosting an IMAX movie called 'Expedition Chesapeake', and he and his crew began filming Monday afternoon in Otsego County.

If you didn't know it, The Chesapeake Bay actually begins in Otsego Lake. That's because Otsego Lake flows to the Susquehanna River which then flows to the Chesapeake.

Corwin and a staff of IMAX photographers set sail on Otsego Lake around 3:30 Monday afternoon to begin what is expected to be a two year process to put the movie and associated TV Documentary together.

Corwin will help produce the movie and also host it. He says he was thrilled to tell this story.

"The mission of this is to remind us all how incredibly valuable this watershed is," Corwin said. "It is just filled and riddled with so many surprising elements, that the Chesapeake Bay, which is more than 400 miles away from here, begins in the head waters that lead off of this lake into the Susquehanna."

He adds, "We want to capture the whole story, from the fresh water tributaries down to the coastal environment along eastern shore. We want to show how there is more than 60,000 square miles of shoreline. There's more shoreline within this body of water, within this living aquatic community than you can find along the whole western coast of the United States."

IMAX videographer Sovanna Mom is one of the many who will be doing the filming. Mom says filming in a kayak isn't the easiest task in the world.

"It's a lot of upper body strength, trying to keep the camera level, not shaking up and down," Mom said. "It's tough to keep it steady on land, let alone water."

Corwin says before he can teach people, he has to learn for himself.

"For us to truly appreciate this place, we need to know it, and there are 17 million plus people who depend on this resource and we want to empower them to promote good stewardship and we think this is a really great project," Corwin said.

The project will take about two years to put together, and Corwin says that's due mainly because it is more than just a movie.

"The film itself is just one element of the project," Corwin said. "We're developing educational components, an exhibit, and other types of media - a television broadcast documentary...really to tell the story of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed."

Corwin went on to say that he thinks this IMAX film will be groundbreaking.

"It'll be the first time IMAX has had an on-camera host for a 3-D film like this, and for me, it's amazing no one's told this story already," Corwin said. "The historical importance, the cultural importance. It's really a big part of our country and no one seems to know about it."

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