January 7, 2009--SK Films and Cosmic Picture are pleased to announce that the world premiere of Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta will take place on January 7, 2009. The film will be showcased to over 6,500 people on a specially built IMAX outdoor screen at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. The screen, measuring 100 feet by 70 feet, is the largest outdoor screen ever assembled.
The U.S. premiere will be held at the Henry Ford IMAX theater in Dearborn, Michigan, on January 9, 2009. The European premiere will be at the La Géode Film Festival in Paris, France, on January 14, 2009. The Canadian premiere will be held at Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Ontario, on February 6, 2009, with the traveling museum exhibit Sultans of Science, a.k.a Islamic Science Rediscovered.
Narrated by Oscar award-winning British actor Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Schindler’s List), Journey to Mecca stars Chems Eddine Zinoun (The Objective) as Ibn Battuta and Hassam Ghancy (Traitor, Rendition) as the Highwayman. This remarkable film will be distributed to giant screens worldwide by SK Films in association with National Geographic. The film will be released in North America on DVD by National Geographic.
Journey to Mecca is an IMAX dramatic and documentary feature filmed in Saudi Arabia and Morocco in English and Arabic that tells the amazing story of Ibn Battuta, one of the greatest travelers of all time--travelling for almost 30 years and three times farther than Marco Polo. The film follows his first epic journey in 1325 from Tangier to Mecca across North Africa, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula. His perilous voyage resonates with adventure while presenting an unforgettable picture of Islamic civilization during the 14th century. Journey to Mecca culminates with Ibn Battuta’s first Hajj--the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, which is one of the longest running congregations of people in history. The film reveals for the first time on the giant screen the Hajj as it was performed in the 14th century and dissolving into the most astounding modern-day footage of the Hajj ever recorded in IMAX, with over 3 million pilgrims.
The production’s crew is the only IMAX team ever granted permission to fly over and film giant screen aerials of Mecca and also given unprecedented ground access into the holy area of the Grand Mosque--the most sacred site in the Islamic world. The producers are also honored to have the endorsement of many world leaders, such as the Dalai Lama, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and numerous international experts on Islam and Ibn Battuta. Most world history textbooks used in schools include Ibn Battuta. Educator guides and lesson plans prepared by leading experts will be available.
Journey to Mecca was directed by Bruce Neibaur (IMAX hits Mysteries of Egypt, Lewis & Clark). Producers are Dominic Cunningham-Reid and Taran Davies of Cosmic Picture, and IMAX veteran Jonathan Barker of SK Films. Oscar award-winning Jake Eberts is Executive Producer (Chariots of Fire, Driving Miss Daisy, Dances With Wolves).