The September 23, 2011 release still has five months to go until it will be unveiled, but already the word is spreading about the true story of a young dolphin that lost its tail and inspired countless others to never give up.
It was less than six years ago that Winter (named for the season in which she was found) was discovered while trapped in a crab trap near Cape Canaveral, Florida. She was so badly injured that rescuers didn’t know if she would make it. Winter was rushed to Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida, where she was put on 24-hour watch during her recovery and rehabilitation. She eventually lost her tail, as the abrasions she suffered were just too deep and had disintegrated what was left.
But could a dolphin really swim without a tail? And could Winter still have quality of life going forward?
In a word, youbetcha. The “dolphin that could” quickly adapted to her new physical form and even developed her own swim pattern (side-to-side like a shark instead of up-and-down like dolphins that have tails). But her trainers and veterinarians were concerned that this would cause a curvature in her spine, and so they contacted a nearby prosthetics and orthotics company which specializes in human prosthetics and asked if they could help Winter.
Starring Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr. and Ashley Judd, Dolphin Tale illustrates how a new tail was created and the development of new technology called “Winter’s gel” which is a special sticky sleeve that enables prosthetics to adhere better and fit more comfortably on delicate skin. Today, Winter's gel is helping human patients with their prosthetic needs as well, including members of the military and children and adults with physical limitations.
Dolphin Tale is being brought to the big screen by the same filmmakers who made The Blind Side (if that tells you anything). And I had the privilege of visiting the film’s set last fall as production was nearing completion in Clearwater, Florida, at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
I look forward to sharing more about Dolphin Tale next week in my special report, so check back here or in the Crosswalk.com Movies channel for that. In the meantime, take a look at the official Dolphin Tale trailer below. And be inspired!