Dolphins and humans have always shared an intriguing symbiosis despite the natural divide of land and water. Their gentle spirits, smiling expressions and undeniable intelligence captivate us, and dolphins, likewise, seem drawn to the people who venture in or onto the oceans they call home...sometimes to their own detriment.


"Dolphin Tale" is a heartwarming, fun adventure about the healing bonds of family, both human and animal. Charles Martin Smith directed "Dolphin Tale" from a screenplay by Karen Janszen and Noam Dromi.




He most recently directed and wrote the historical drama "Stone of Destiny," for which he won the Best Director Award at the 2009 Palm Beach International Film Festival. The film was also chosen to be the Closing Night Gala at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival, and went on to earn a BAFTA Scotland Award nomination for Best Picture, and six Leo Award nominations, including three for Smith for Best Director, Best Screenwriting and Best Picture.


While in town promoting his film, Martin Smith sat down with me at the posh Trump Chicago hotel. He has changed little since his early films, "American Graffiti" and American Graffiti 2" save with the multiple levels of experience in the industry.


But how was he drawn to this compelling story about a dolphin? "Well, actually it came to me," Martin Smith said. "They came to me to help develop the script."


But what qualified him to direct a marine docudrama? "Probably, they remember my work on 'Air Bud'(1997)" he chuckled. Plus he has a certain interest in environmental topics.


During the shoot, Charles had the opportunity to interact with Winter - the actual star of the film. "He actually used to do the Tweety Bird tweet to communicate with the talent. But did he tweet with Sawyer? "Oh the two kids were added characters", they don't really exist.


What about animatronics and CGI? "My first thought was for her [Winter] well-being. So everything that may have caused her harm we used a realistic looking animatronic dolphin and CGI. Otherwise she played herself".


Did Martin Smith gain anything out of working on the film? "Oh, I learned a lot about dolphins" and marine biology in general.


Did Martin Smith gain anything out of working on the film? "Oh, I learned a lot about dolphins" and marine biology in general.


"Dolphin Tale" was filmed on location in Florida, including Winter's home at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, whose motto is Rescue, Rehabilitate and Return. The film will be released September 23rd in 3D and 2D in select theaters by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. It has been rated PG for mild thematic elements.