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The Human Body

Website Trailer
Running Time: 43 minutes
Release Date:
Genre: Documentary
Language: English

Three years in the making, ``The Human Body'' reveals the incredible story of life. In astonishing detail, this large format film presents a look at the biological processes that go on without our control and often without our notice. Throughout the film we follow a family from dawn to dusk as they go about their daily routines. But this is no ordinary story. This is the tale of what takes place beneath the skin -- a tale that allows us to see the accomplishments of our everyday lives.

Director Peter Georgi

Heather Pike (Heather)
Buster Pike (Buster)
Zannah Lawrence (Zannah)
Luke Brinkers (Luke)

More info for MOVIE GEEKS...

-Notes provided by NWave Pictures-


PETER GEORGI: Director-Producer, BBC
Peter Georgi specializes in imaginative filming techniques and creating distinctive visual styles. Georgi produced and directed the segment on puberty for the multi-award-winning series, Intimate Universe: The Human Body. He was responsible for developing many of the specialist filming and computer graphic techniques that won the eight-part series its international acclaim, including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards for Best Factual Series, Originality and Graphic Design. His other work has included exploring the hidden beauty of the world's greatest athletes for the BBC series The Contenders, two films for the BBC1 science series QED, The Fall and Rise of Sgt. Reggie Perrin, about the courageous attempt of a half-paralyzed former Royal Marine to climb Mount McKinley, and Call of the Deep, a film about free-diving. Georgi started his television career with the BBC in 1990 after spending two years as a professional racing cyclist.

RICHARD DALE: Writer-Producer, BBC
Richard Dale was the creative force behind the technical innovation and craft excellence on the multi-award-winning series, Intimate Universe: The Human Body, a co-production of TLC and the BBC. Dale served as series producer and directed the first episode of the series, which was honored with a coveted George Foster Peabody Award. The series also won awards from the BAFTA, the New York Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival, and the UK's Royal Television Society. The producer's other award-winning productions for the BBC includes The Contenders, Tokyo Earthquake and Tomorrow's World. Dale joined the BBC in 1987 and has worked on a wide range of programs, from news and current affairs to Britain's most popular television drama East Enders. Dale was also the lead director on Channel 4's recent drama success, Teachers.

JANA BENNETT: Executive-in-Charge, Discovery Pictures
Executive Producer, THE HUMAN BODY

Jana Bennett brings twenty years of experience in creating innovative programming to her dual roles as executive-in charge for the large-format film unit Discovery Pictures and vice president and general manager of The Learning Channel (TLC) North America.


During her tenure, TLC received its first-ever Academy Award nomination for On the Ropes, and has achieved record-setting ratings for such programs as the Emmy award-winning series Trauma: Life in the E.R. The U.S. native began her broadcasting career with the BBC in 1979 and was ultimately appointed Director (president) of BBC Programmes in May 1999. As head of the BBC's Science programs department, she oversaw the production of many award-winning mini-series including, Intimate Universe: The Human Body and Walking with Dinosaurs, both of which made their American premieres on Discovery's U.S. networks, TLC and Discovery Channel. She joined TLC in September 1999 and was recently awarded the prestigious Order of the British Empire (O.B.E) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to science broadcasting and production.

TIM GOODCHILD: Production Designer and Visual Effects Director

Tim Goodchild has over 20 years of experience in production design, visual effects direction, and graphic design for broadcast television and large format movies. Goodchild's innovative approach to design and special effects has been recognized with numerous accolades, including a BAFTA in Graphic Design for Intimate Universe: The Human Body, a Gold World Medal at the New York Film Festivals, two Royal Television Society awards for Graphic Design and Visual Effects, and two BDA Gold Awards. Television credits include The Planets, Tomorrow's World, and The Human Face, as art director and concept designer for the BBC production, which aired in the U.S. on TLC in summer 2001.

REED SMOOT, A.S.C.: Director of Photography

Reed Smoot is one of the most sought-after large format cinematographers in the world. A life long passion with photography has seen him work in everything, from stills through documentary, commercials and feature films. Yet it is his work in large format film that he is most proud, having shot some of the most beautiful films in the medium's history. Shackleton's
Antarctic Adventure saw Reed filming for months in the frozen southern wasteland and has just opened to rave revues. Mysteries of Egypt took him to the other temperature extreme, telling the incredible story of the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb. His other large format successes include the 3-D feature Journey Of Man; The Panda Adventure; Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets, To Be An Astronaut and Yellowstone, as well as the Academy Award®-nominated, Special Effects, and the Academy Award®-winning documentary feature The Great American Cowboy. Reed was honored by being made a member of The American Society of
Cinematographers in early 2000.

DAVID BARLOW: Director of Specialist Photography

David Barlow has been on the cutting edge of medical, scientific and natural history filmmaking for nearly two decades. His background as a research scientist involved filming with microscopes and high-speed cameras, which led to working with the BBC on such series as Natural World, Horizon and Wildlife on One.

He branched out into medical subjects with the UK Channel 4 series Living Body and served as producer/director on the award-winning documentary Chaos. In 1988, Barlow filmed special sequences for the large-format film To the Limit. He also served as specialist cameraman on Intimate Universe: The Human Body. Barlow's other credits include Cracking the Code, Avalanche, Extreme Machines and Blast Off: Stories from the Final Frontier.

ANNE DUDLEY: Director of Musical Composition

As a musician, composer, arranger and producer Anne Dudley has a very unique approach to music. Combined experience and training in both the classical and pop genres have enabled Dudley to explore different career paths and musical relationships. Dudley's collaboration with
Trevor Horn resulted in ABC's album Lexicon Of Love and with Frankie Goes To Hollywood, where her rich orchestral textures and unique keyboard style made those records classics of their time. Dudley was a founding member of The Art of Noise, a pop group whose pioneering attitude towards sampling was highly innovative and whose influence has extended to music production of today. Dudley has written with and arranged for artists such as Jeff Beck, Phil Collins, Seal, Elton John and Pulp. Her work in film includes scoring The Crying Game, Pushing Tin, and The Full Monty, for which she won an Academy Award. Currently Anne is working on the score for Monkey Bone, a live action/animated feature for Twentieth Century Fox, and Peter Cattaneo's next picture Lucky Break for Film 4.

GREG ANDORFER: Executive Producer, Maryland Science Center
Executive Director and CEO, Maryland Science Center

As executive director of the largest provider of informal science education in the state of Maryland, Andorfer reaches hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren each year and takes traveling programs into neighboring states. Andorfer oversees museum operations and exhibits, the Planetarium, and the community and educational outreach, in addition to the IMAX Theater. His background includes fundraising, lobbying, documentary film production and program development. In addition to The Human Body, Andorfer's leadership of the MSC include production credit for the development and production of a seven-hour documentary on the RMS Titanic for the Discovery Channel, as well as numerous projects for public television, including Emmy-winning Planet Earth.

ALISON RODEN: Executive Producer, Science Museum, London
IMAX Programming and Marketing Manager,
Science Museum, London

Roden started her career as the first Administrator of EUROMAX, the European association of IMAX theaters, advising on programming and marketing, negotiating on behalf of the membership with large format film distributors, and representing the group within the international IMAX industry.


In her current capacity, Roden has headed up efforts to develop and establish the Science Museum's IMAX presence and has been involved in the production of The Human Body, in addition to another large format project, Journey to the Centre of the Brain. Roden is also current president of EUROMAX, serves on the Publications Advisory Panel for THE BIG FRAME, and was Associate Editor of the publication for a two-year period. She is also a serving member of the GSTA Communications Committee.

MARK KATZ: nWave Pictures Distribution

nWave Pictures Distribution was established in August 1998 to handle the global distribution, sales and marketing of nWave Pictures original large format productions, as well as a growing library of third-party large format projects. With a combined staff of ten, nWave Pictures Distribution is headquartered in Greenwich, CT, with support offices in Los Angeles and
Brussels. Mark Katz is president of nWave Pictures Distribution and is a large format distribution veteran of almost 15 years, having worked at Imax Corporation, MacGillivray Freeman Films and Sony Pictures Classics. Over his career, he has distributed such ground-breaking large format films as Blue Planet, Rolling Stones at the MAX, Titanica, The Dream is Alive, To the Limit, Fires of Kuwait, Wings of Courage, Across the Sea of Time and Thrill Ride: The Science of Fun, to name a few.


Dr. Robert Winston, Professor of Fertility Studies at London University's Imperial College School of Medicine, is Europe's foremost infertility expert. As Chairman of England's House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, Lord Winston is a leading voice in the British Parliament on health, scientific and education issues.

A pioneer in the field of reproductive medicine, Dr. Winston was part of the team that created the first human "test tube baby" in 1978. In addition to other medical landmarks, Dr. Winston developed new techniques of reproductive surgery, conducted the first successful experimental tubal and ovarian transplant, and performed the first human tubal transplant.

In 1999, Dr. Winston presented the Peabody award-winning, "Intimate Universe: The Human Body," an eight-part TLC/BBC co-production that showcased the body's inner workings throughout the life span and is the basis for the large format film. He has presented a number of other BBC productions, and frequently appears on television for his medical expertise. Professor Winston has written Getting Pregnant and Infertility: A Sympathetic Approach, as well as about 300 articles for scientific journals and lay media.

In addition to having served as Scientific Advisor to the World Health Organization, Professor Winston has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard University, and has lectured and taught at Johns Hopkins, Mt. Sinai, New York University, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The Human Body

Film Overview

Three years in the making, The Human Body reveals the incredible story of life. In astonishing detail, this large format film presents a look at the biological processes that go on without our control and often without our notice. Throughout the film we follow a family from dawn to dusk as they go about their daily routines. But this is no ordinary story. This is the tale of what takes place beneath the skin a tale that allows us to see the extraordinary accomplishments of our everyday lives.

The everyday biological processes that keep us ticking are all in a day's work for the human body. Finding a way to film and illustrate those activities for a screen seven stories tall required a cinematic inventiveness that was anything but routine. Co-produced by Discovery Pictures and the BBC, The Human Body incorporates groundbreaking computer graphics with stunning real-life images to create a day in the life of a human body. "This film is one of the most technically complex large format films ever made," states director-producer Peter Georgi. "To get the subject matter on the large screen, we've pushed the boundaries, taken advantage of the most advanced scanning electron microscopes, the latest thermal imaging and high-definition digital video cameras, the cutting edge in medical computer graphics whatever we thought could provide the best possible images."

And provide images it does! The Human Body will provide a glimpse of:
the 100 billion new red blood cells the body generates each morning;
the 40 yards of new hair that sprouts every day;
a human egg nestling into the folds of a fallopian tube;
a thermal image of a child riding a bicycle;
a trip on a tomato from mouth to stomach;
babies able to hold their breath under water; and
the inside of an ear as cells actually dance to music.

"The film explores the complexities of the human body by investigating, in great detail, the functions the body performs routinely every day," notes executive producer Jana Bennett. "We investigated and portrayed the human body in ways never seen before. This film brings images to the audience on a scale never before captured in the history of cinema."

To make The Human Body come alive took not only the marriage of the latest developments in medical imaging with cutting-edge cinematic techniques and cameras, but also a good measure of ingenuity as well. As a result, The Human Body is an incredible technological achievement for Discovery Pictures and the BBC. The films opening sequence a close tracking shot over the body is just one instance where "ingenuity" played a major role. "You had to light the body with an enormous number of big film lamps to accomplish that [tracking shot over the body]," explains writer-producer Richard Dale. "The lights gave off tremendous heat and ultraviolet light, which could have been very damaging to the skin. The commercially available UV filters were not adequate to stop that much light, so our photographers developed little aquariums that could fit in front of the lamps. They had cold water, which is quite a good absorber of UV, constantly running through them."

Ultimately, The Human Body shows us more than a biological wonder at its best; the film also shares the emotions of life. From the joy of learning and the anxiety of puberty, to the potential wonder of pregnancy and birth, The Human Body tells us the amazing story of our own lives our own bodies. "Large format has traditionally climbed mountains and gone to the bottom of the ocean, but we have turned the camera on ourselves and looked to our own bodies as a place for exploration," observes Dale. "Technology makes it possible to think about our lives differently and to suddenly realize how marvelous the human body is."

Techniques Used to Show the Body at Work

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) uses electrons rather than light to magnify parts of the body, such as the tiny hairs in the ear, hundreds of thousands of times. Images are produced by placing a thinly-sliced, freeze-dried specimen coated with 24-karat gold within the microscope and bombarding it with electrons, producing moon-like landscapes of the body.

Endoscopy relies on pencil-thin cameras that can be easily slipped into the body's orifices to peer further inside.

Thermal Imaging is a form of heat-sensitive photography that reveals the different temperatures of areas of the body. The filmmakers used the highest definition thermal imaging camera currently available.

Schlieren Photography is a way of capturing the movement of heated air. The technique images convection currents rising from the body and is used to show thermal plumes, respiration, olfaction or air flows around the body. The process uses a series of mirrors and lenses to bend a powerful light source that is passed over the surface of the body. The light rays are defracted or bent as they pass through differing air temperatures.

Time-Lapse Photography allows you to speed up a slower process, such as the fusion of parental DNA. A series of single exposures is made on film at predetermined regular intervals and then projected at normal film speeds so the process appears to be taking place at a faster rate.

Time-Slice Photography freezes a moment in time by utilizing dozens of cameras set at different angles to capture a single moment. When animated, the different angles create a three-dimensional time event, a Matrix-like effect.

Motion-Control Photography uses a computerized camera to guarantee precise repetitive moves, which allowed the filmmakers to seamlessly show the changes in Heather's body. She was filmed with the camera at regular intervals walking in the same position on a treadmill.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an imaging technique used to produce high-quality images of the soft tissue in the human body, like the brain or the liver. It complements X-ray techniques, which are better for looking at dense materials like bone.

Sonography/Ultrasound are procedures that use very-high-frequency sound waves to produce real-time imagery of the internal structure of the body.

Heather's Journey

Sitting in her living room, Heather Pike rubs her stomach, a gesture of reassurance for herself and the baby growing within. In a few short weeks, she will give birth to a healthy little boy, but for now she's still waiting to meet her baby. Unlike most mothers-to-be, Heather and her husband Buster will share the first few exciting moments of their baby's life with the crew filming The Human Body.
Over seven months of her pregnancy, Heather faced the camera at regular intervals to let us in on the changes going on in her body and offered a few personal observations about what it means to her to expect a baby. For the morphed time-lapse shot of her pregnant belly, Heather was photographed once every four weeks. We travel on her emotional journey from the first ultrasound scan to holding her newborn in her arms. For this Newport, RI native, sharing the joy of her pregnancy has added another dimension to the experience.
"I would have had a much harder time had I not been involved with this project," she states. "It's been a privilege being able to share this experience. I don't think that many people have this type of opportunity."
An adventurer by nature (she left the U.S. to live in New Zealand before moving to England), Heather was gung-ho from the start about participating in The Human Body. "TruthfulIy," she says, "I didn't really have any qualms or fears. My main concern was just that our pregnancy was going to be our pregnancy. I didn't want it to be taken over by this project, and certainly, that hasn't happened. Richard [writer-producer Richard Dale] was very good at putting us at ease by saying 'the pregnancy comes first, the child comes first. If anything ever is going to interfere, you tell us and we'll back off.'"


She does acknowledge Buster had a moment of doubt. "I know that at the beginning, if I hadn't really pushed to do this, he could have very easily walked away from this," Heather explains. "But he's such a supportive person. I drag him into adventures and he goes along willingly, but it's because of him that I have the strength and opportunity to do things. Now he's quite excited."
The rest of her family had a slightly different response, Heather recalls: "My mother's reaction about the whole thing was "Well, you never do anything small. It's always got to be some big dramatic event.' It's typical of my personality and I think a little typical of Buster's as well."
Heather's natural comfort on screen belies her inexperience. While she admits to being concerned that "I was doing something wrong or not hitting my marker right," on the whole, "it was like I was going out to play for the day. It was like recess." According to director-producer Peter Georgi, "Heather is a natural in front of the camera she responded to direction and was able to be herself in the face of the quite cumbersome process of large format filming."
"Being really frank in interviews," Heather says was her biggest challenge. "I wanted to be honest about how this has changed me personally. It's a hard decision to make to become pregnant, thinking about everything that it entails. As soon as the pregnancy was confirmed, I found I viewed things differently. Your whole perspective changes. All the things that are looming in the future as things to do when you're an adultlike getting life insurancebecome important. It's a very emotional experience and I hope that some of that comes through in the film."
"It was also difficult at times to make sure you give a certain amount of respect to the process," she continues, "because you never want to say anything that might offend somebody. The people who are going to see this are obviously from different backgrounds, different religious beliefs, and they have different views concerning health and pregnancy. There is a certain amount of responsibility in knowing how many people are going to see this film and how it will affect them."


Looking ahead to the birth, Heather had that under control too. "I don't even think about it now. Everybody at the hospital knows that cameras are actually going to be there. They are just part of the landscape at this point. We know exactly what's going to happen, down to the smallest details. Most of the people that we've told are not at all surprised. Things like this just happen to us. It's quite amazing."
And just as she predicted, the delivery went off almost without a hitch. It took a bit of timeover 30 hours in laborbut Heather and Buster finally met their son, Samuel Wyatt. "Everyone was simply terrific and the scene was unbelievable," she recalls. "I know I'm not the first person who feels this way, but the act of bringing a new life into the world is truly overwhelming."

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