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Around The Fleet

USS Peleliu on IMAX Big Screen

U.S. Navy to Show its Sea Power

The amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) was the scene of yet another film production involving the U.S. Navy, only this time it's not, "The Last Ship," nor will the ship be fighting alien life forms with decommissioned battleships, instead the film is a documentary shot for Image Maximum (IMAX) to show the Navy's true, "Sea Power."

"Sea Power" is the working title for a documentary being filmed on various U.S. Navy ships that are underway for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014.

"We see RIMPAC as an opportunity to get that incredible armada shot that is kind of timeless and goes back hundreds of years, to the great battle fleets of the past like the great white fleet," said independent film producer and director Stephen Low. "There's wonderful history in all of that. No one has done a carrier-centric film yet in IMAX. It's one of the great topics that haven't been tackled yet. We've always wanted to do a carrier-based film for as long as I can remember. We're using that as the framework for the story about sea power."

Low has encountered a few bumps in the road on the way to shooting this film.

"We are on the first stage of the process, the shooting phase, which is a very important part," said Low. "The hard part has been the funding and getting the Navy's support which is a long process to get everyone excited about it and on board with us. There's no use in having one without the other. Right now we're on the edge of signing a major sponsor so we'll finally have both."

This isn't Low's first foray in the IMAX film industry. He has worked on 18 feature IMAX films, many of which are award-winning films. RIMPAC is a familiar territory for Low and his crew since he was here once before, in 2004, to film "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag."

"We have done other films featuring the military like, "Legends of Flight," which we filmed for Boeing that highlighted the 767 but was also about the history of aviation. We featured AV-8B Harriers in that film from both the Canadian and U.S. Navy."

Filming for Low and his crew will not be exclusive to the Peleliu.

"We're going to the USS Independence (LCS 2) for a day, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) to shoot photos for a few days, head back to Kaneohe Bay for a few days to shoot amphibious operations and then we will shoot PHOTOEX and finally the closing ceremonies on the Reagan again," said IMAX crew liaison Cmdr. Robert Thoms, assigned to U.S. Navy Office of Information West.

The film is still in the early stages of production, as well as distribution, but Low is confident that this film will be a hit.

"Eventually it will be made into a feature-length IMAX film, and could play all over the world in more than 400 IMAX theatres and museums such as the Smithsonian and other museum theaters," Low said. "I would love to give everyone a rough completion of when the film will be done but it's kind of vague. We're hoping it will be sometime next year."

When the film does make it to theaters, Low has plans to make sure as many service members around the world get the chance to see the film.

"There are many IMAX theatres near military bases so in the past we've made deals where you can get reduced ticket prices to get as many service members in the U.S., Canada and other bases around the world in to see these movies," Low said.

Low had nothing but great things to say about the Peleliu and its Sailors.

"Our time here has been fantastic," said Low. "We've had a great time. Everyone has been really friendly around the ship and we've gotten great cooperation."

Low and his crew know they have a tough task ahead of them; to show the true power of the Navy and what it has to offer in a dramatic light.

"People have to want to see it so it has to be exciting," said Low. "If it's not, people won't pay to see it. It's our job to make it as beautiful and as dramatic as possible."

It is already quite beautiful and dramatic for Peleliu Sailors.