Sleeping Bear Dunes Ready for the Big Screen

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is about to hit the big screen. A new film called Water, Sand, And Sky brings sights, sounds and stories to help bring the park to life. The Director of Visitor Services at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Merrith Baughman, says the name came from something somebody said during filming.

Sleeping Bear Dunes“Somebody said as they were being interviewed about how dynamic the park is and how it’s always changing. The water, the sands, the skies — always making for a different park,” Baughman explains.

It took film makers just over 5 years to make the movie. The film features rarely seen images and gives views of the parks most iconic sights. They say they wanted to make sure to show all four seasons.

“Even the first filming that we did in the winter didn’t work. We didn’t get the snow conditions that the filmmakers wanted. They had to come back a second time just to get those winter shots that we wanted. So it was a long process,” Baughman says.

Just in time for Earth Day and National Parks Week, Water, Sand, And Sky will premiere Monday April 18, at the City Opera House in Traverse City. The film is scheduled for over 10 venues in eight communities including Leland, Empire, Glenn Arbor, Manistee and Suttons Bay. They say they’re excited to have finally completed their first film.

“The park had to save up for quite awhile. We saved up through entrance fees. So when people come here and they pay that entrance fee and they wonder what they’re paying for. Well they helped pay for this new film,” Baughman states.

The movie used dozens of people at the park level and features well over 50 extras. Baughman says one of the things they wanted to do with the film, in addition to showing all four seasons was to show the diversity of the park.

“The really amazing history and natural history that we have here. I think that’s one of the most exciting things about the film. It’s going to show much more to the visitors that come to the park,” Baughman says.

Sleeping Bear Dunes will begin showing the film regularly at the Visitor’s Center in Empire April 24. Baughman saysCity Opera House it’s a great change of pace after showing a slideshow for the past 20 years.

“A lot of people that come to our visitors center they’ve never been here before. They’re going to be able to watch the film and go, ‘wow I really want to go see Port Oneida, or hey I really want to go on the Platte River, or hey I really want to go out to the islands.'” Baughman says. “I really hope by having the film it will really help people have a better experience when they are at the park.”

The first showing is Monday, April 18 at the City Opera House in Traverse City. All showings are free. Click here for more information and for a list of dates and venues.