The Path of the Condor Showing at Audubon Nature Film Festival on Wednesday

Condors are the most massive vultures in the Western Hemisphere. To imagine the wing span of Andean and California Condors at their largest, picture 7-foot-one NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal lying on his side. Now make him about three and a half feet taller.

Need a better image? See real Andean Condors take flight in the award-winning film The Path of the Condor, showing at the 8th Annual Audubon Nature Film Festival on Wednesday, June 16. The film includes some beautiful cinematography, with up-close aerial images of Condors gliding over snow-capped mountains and through rocky canyons. (Check out the movie trailer after the jump.)

In The Path of the Condor, Argentine director Christian Holler captures the journey of ornithologist Lorenzo Sympson and paraglider pilot Martin Vallmitjana, as they follow and fly alongside these majestic creatures. Actor Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings, Eastern Promises) narrates the story.

Audubon Arizona Founding Director Sam Campana says the film was chosen for their annual fundraising film festival because of its aesthetic beauty and relevance to local Condor conservation efforts. "The Condors are magnificent birds, with the largest wings spans of any birds on Earth, and there's some stunning photography in this film," she says. "They are only found in two places now -- in the Andes there is the Andean Condor, and in California and Arizona, there are California Condors."

"The film talks about what they went through to protect the Andean Condor," Campana continues. "And after the film, someone from the Arizona Game and Fish department will discuss local conservation efforts, and what we've done to help preserve the California Condors here in Arizona."

In addition to The Path of the Condor, the Audubon Nature Film Festival includes the documentary The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos, which captures a community of a million flamingos at Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. There will also be a "picnic supper," and a silent auction of a hundred items, ranging from golf packages to bird photos and art. All proceeds benefit the conservation programs of Audubon Arizona.

The 8th Annual Audubon Nature Film Festival takes place Wednesday, June 16, at Harkins Camelview 5 Theater in Scottsdale. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; films begin at 7. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door. For more information, or to reserve tickets, call 602-468-6470.

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