Pix based on dramatic Shackleton expedition

White Mountain Films is teaming with Nova to produce a PBS documentary and a large-format film based on the 1914-15 Antarctic expedition led by Ernest Shackleton, which left the British explorer and his crew stranded for 590 days on the ice after their ship was crushed en route.

The docu and the 40-minute Imax offering — which is targeted for release in Imax theaters — will be made as two completely different films, will be produced and directed by George Butler (“Pumping Iron”); Caroline Alexander and Louise Rosen co-produce.

Both films are based on Alexander’s book “The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition,” published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Budgeted at $4.5 million, the giant-screen version will be in 2-D. Paula Apsell will serve as exec in charge of production and Susanne Simpson as exec producer for Nova Large Format Films. Simpson said that they are in negotiations with a distributor for the giant screen film.

Shooting on the large-format film is expected to begin in April in the Antarctic region. Nova is aiming for a summer 2000 release date.

Upcoming from Nova Large Format Films are “Cocos: Island of the Sharks” and “Volcano: The Lost City of Pompeii.” Past Nova giant screen films are “Storm Chasers,” “To the Limit” and “Special Effects.”

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