LIVING WATERS is the third installment in Illustra Media’s critically acclaimed series THE DESIGN OF LIFE. This feature length documentary is the culmination of more than 15 months of work by the Illustra production team.

Like its predecessors (FLIGHT: The Genius of Birds and METAMORPHOSIS: The Beauty and Design of Butterflies) , LIVING WATERS is a search for evidence of intelligent design in the living world—this time in the liquid universe of oceans and rivers that cover the Earth.

The production of any new film is always an adventure. You never know who you’ll meet, exactly where you’ll end up working, or how all of the thousands of pieces you generate will ultimately come together in a finished documentary. That was certainly the case with LIVING WATERS.

A key to a film like this is spectacular photography. We knew we’d need footage that would rival the BBC and National Geographic, so the first thing we did was enlist the help of some outstanding cinematographers-- specifically, filmmakers who were comfortable working in close proximity to very large, powerful mammals (i.e. humpback whales). We found them in French Polynesia and Bermuda and they captured breathtaking footage of some of the largest animals on Earth.

In addition to whales, we also documented the life cycles of sea turtles, Pacific salmon, and dolphins. That meant trips to Honduras, British Columbia, Monterey Bay, and the coast of Southern California. Along the way, we swam with baby sea turtles as they entered the water for the first time; waded into shallow streams with underwater cameras, surrounded by thousands of Sockeye salmon; and leaned out over the front of boats (traveling at 30 mph) to photograph dolphins as they leaped within a few feet of our lens. Along the way, we got wet, cold, and seasick…but it was worth every second of the effort.

LIVING WATERS presented our first opportunity to use a sensational new piece of photographic equipment: the Phantom 2 drone. This remote controlled four-rotor helicopter weighs less than five pounds (including a camera stabilizer and high definition camera). After practicing for a month, we used it to capture aerial footage the likes of which we’ve never photographed before. Thousands of salmon clustered tightly at the mouth of a river. A mega-pod of dolphins racing through the ocean. A humpback mother and calf in the warm waters of Hawaii. Rugged coastlines and rivers in the Pacific Northwest. It was a truly a “wow” experience for all involved... even when we helplessly watched the drone sink into a lake (fortunately, it was insured).

Every day, we were reminded, and often stunned, by the evidence for intelligent design that radiates from every corner of our planet, including: the echolocation/bio-sonar system a dolphin uses to locate food in realms of limited visibility; tiny magnets embedded in a sea turtle’s head that help it find its way, unerringly, through a thousand miles of open sea; a salmon’s ability to navigate by sensing a few odor molecules from its home stream; and the majestic power and grace of a humpback whale.

LIVING WATERS is truly a celebration of the engineering brilliance that is a hallmark of life on our planet. It is a film bursting with unforgettable glimpses of design and imagination that could only come from the mind of supernatural Creator.

For everyone involved in the production of this documentary, it was an experience we will never forget.

Production Credits

Produced & Directed by
Lad Allen

Edited by
Jerry Harned

Cinematography by
Dennis Burkhart
Peter Schneider
Andrew Stevenson
Dave Anderson
Steven Dunbar
Jerry Harned
Marino Brzac

Written by
W. Peter Allen

Associate Producers
Paul Nelson
Timothy Standish
David F. Coppedge

Animation by
Joseph Condeelis
Jerry Harned

Original Music by
Mark Edward Lewis

Narrated by
Alvin Chea

Stereo & 5.1 Surround Mix by
Michael Lehmann Boddicker
Stanley Kastner
Jerry Harned