The Abyss

As part of its “Prime Tech” screening series, the Academy’s Science and Technology Council presents a 20th anniversary screening of “The Abyss.”

Premiering a newly struck 35mm print from the Academy Film Archive.

Onstage panelists included members of the film’s Oscar®-winning visual effects team, John Bruno, Dennis Skotak and Hoyt Yeatman; Oscar nominees Leslie Dilley (Art Direction), Mikael Salomon (Cinematography) and Lee Orloff (Sound); and John Knoll, the movie’s computer graphics designer who specialized in the development of the Pseudopod creature elements.

Much of the action in James Cameron’s 1989 deep-sea epic was shot in a tank containing millions of gallons of water. “The Abyss,” renowned for its sophisticated underwater sound recording and photography, along with its pioneering digital water effects, is still considered by many to possess some of the greatest underwater sequences ever seen on film.

Nominated for Academy Awards® in Art Direction, Cinematography, Sound and Visual Effects (for which it won), “The Abyss” stars Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and tells the story of crew members on an underwater oil rig during the Cold War who are enlisted to help rescue an American submarine, and the bizarre, mysterious force they discover living in the deep.

Several key members of the film’s crew gathered for an onstage discussion of the role motion picture science and technology played in shaping “The Abyss.”

20th Century Fox. 140 minutes.

Starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, Leo Burmester, Todd Graff, John Bedford Lloyd, J.C. Quinn, Kimberly Scott, Capt. Kidd Brewer, Jr., George Robert Klek, Christopher Murphy, Adam Nelson. Directed by James Cameron. Produced by Gale Anne Hurd. Screenplay Cameron. Cinematography Mikael Salomon. Underwater Photography Al Giddings. Film Editing Joel Goodman. Production Design Leslie Dilley.  Art Direction Peter Childs. Set Decoration Anne Kuljian. Costume Design Deborah Everton. Music Alan Silvestri. Sound Design Blake Leyh. Sound Mixing Don Bassman, Kevin F. Cleary, Richard Overton, Kevin Carpenter, Lee Orloff. Visual Effects John Bruno, Dennis Muren, Hoyt Yeatman, Dennis Skotak. 20th Century Fox. 1989. 140 minutes.

The “Prime Tech” screening series showcases Oscar®-nominated and winning films that have been recognized in at least one technical category. Panel discussions illuminate the art of filmmaking from a science and technology perspective, examining how technical elements can augment a film’s narrative capabilities and enrich the overall viewing experience.

Event Information

Tuesday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m.
Linwood Dunn Theater
1313 Vine Street
Hollywood, CA 90028

Academy Awards Facts

Academy Award Winner

Visual Effects (John Bruno, Dennis Muren, Hoyt Yeatman, Dennis Skotak)

Academy Award Nominee

Art Direction (Art Direction: Leslie Dilley; Set Decoration: Anne Kuljian), Cinematography (Mikael Salomon), Sound (Don Bassman, Kevin F. Cleary, Richard Overton, Lee Orloff)

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