Cameron returns to sea

Filmmaker beckoned by call of ocean

James Cameron is lining up backers for his next project, but movie investors can put away their checkbooks.

Undersea exploration project Deep Ocean One incorporates education, science and environmentalism as well as opportunities for documentary filmmaking, adventure tourism and even a reality skein.

At a Wednesday press conference at Lightstorm’s digital theater in Santa Monica, Cameron said he and Deep Ocean One CEO Mike McDowell will host “Mission Control,” an evening for potential corporate sponsors of Deep Ocean One, on March 24.

Initiative aims to expand scientific and educational exploration of the deep ocean.

“Mission Control” invitees will be leaders of “Fortune 500 companies that want to reinforce their public image as environmentally aware,” said Cameron.

Corporate sponsors will have the chance to put their names and logos on deep-sea submersibles like those in Cameron’s current Imax docu “Aliens of the Deep.”

Helmer said he’s not focusing on entertainment companies in his search for sponsors. “What they do is buy shows,” he said, instead of the kind of corporate sponsorship the project needs.

But he added that Deep Ocean One will provide opportunities for all sorts of people to dive and explore, including documakers and adventure tourists.

He even said there’s talk of a reality series.

“People learn best when they identify with people on the screen,” he said. “It’s something we’ve been talking about, but we won’t be voting people off the expedition.”

Cameron said the project does not affect his plans for what he expects to be his next dramatic feature, “Battle Angel,” an effects-laden epic based on a popular Japanese anime title. He said that “Battle Angel,” like “Aliens of the Deep,” will be shown in 3-D and will depend on the rollout of new digital cinema technology.

Though “Battle Angel” has not been greenlit by Fox, Cameron is hoping for a June 2007 release.

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