InsightAn  IMAX 3D film that chronicles the year-long migration of hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies from Canada through the U.S. to remote 10,000-foot-high peaks in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico and back premiered recently at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington.


Heading the guest list of 400 was Mexican President Felipe Calderon, along with other government officials, the Mexico Tourism Board and representatives from the Mexican Embassy.

Monarch Gathering“Flight of the Butterflies” captures the true story of a scientist’s 40-year search to find the monarchs’ hideaway while overwintering in Mexico.

Calderon, a native of Morelia, Michoacan, grew up near the butterfly sanctuaries. “We must remain committed to the conservation of these fragile creatures and their threatened habitats,” he said.

In 2008 Unesco declared the monarch butterfly reserve in Mexico a World Heritage Site.

The Mexican government and leading conservation organizations continue to enforce measures to preserve the butterflies and their sanctuaries.

Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, Mexico’s secretary of environment and natural resources, described the film as “a brilliant example of Mexico’s commitment to sustainability. While there is more for us to do, our credentials in the industry are strong and, for this, we are immensely proud.”

Flight of the Butterflies premierThe film rolled out globally on Oct. 1 and can be seen in the following theaters in the U.S. in October: Maryland Science Center, Baltimore; Louisville Science Center, Louisville, Ky.; Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Neb.; Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington; Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga; Moody Gardens, Galveston, Texas; Houston Museum of Natural Science; Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, N.J.; Marbles, Raleigh, N.C.; Pacific Science Center, Seattle.

In Mexico, the film can be viewed at Papolote Museo del Nino, Mexico City and at Centro Cultural Tijuana.

It will be released in additional theaters in the U.S., Canada and around the world throughout the year. Unlike a typical movie, the release of IMAX films is staggered over a period of months/years.

The film was produced by SK Films, a Canadian production company, and is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Mexico’s federal Ministry of Tourism, the Mexico Tourism Board, the state of Michoacan and the state of Mexico, as well as governmental and international environmental institutions sponsored the film.

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