September 6, 2017—The Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) is pleased to announce it will bestow a posthumous Outstanding Achievement Award to George Casey, who died on June 3, 2017, at the age of 84. The award will be presented at the GSCA Achievement Awards on the evening of Tuesday, September 26, at the DoubleTree Magnificent Mile in Chicago. The award ceremony is held as part of the annual GSCA International Conference and Trade Show.
George Casey, producer, director, and writer of some of the most beloved and enduring giant screen documentaries, was a pioneer in the industry and has left behind an inspiring and timeless body of work. A four-time Academy Award nominee, his film The Eruption of Mount St. Helens was the first giant screen film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.
As a partner in Graphic Films, first with Les Novros and later with Les’s son, Paul, Mr. Casey was dedicated to making groundbreaking and thoroughly researched nature-based films with a firm foundation in science. He had a special affinity for filming volcanoes, first with The Eruption of Mount St. Helens, later with Ring of Fire, which took him 13 years to make, and Forces of Nature, which won Best Film at the GSCA Achievement Awards in 2005. With movies that encompassed locations and subject matters of great diversity and importance, he opened viewers’ eyes to new experiences and cutting-edge scientific subject matters using magnificent visuals, gripping stories, and eloquent narration, which made his films truly immersive and educational.
George Casey’s films include Forces of Nature, Amazing Journeys, Search for the Great Sharks, Africa: The Serengeti, Ring of Fire, Seasons, Great Barrier Reef,Genesis, and the Academy Award-nominated filmsAlaska: Spirit of the Wild, The Eruption of Mount St. Helens, Probes in Space, and Planet Ocean.
Just as significant as his work, however, was his benevolent and magnanimous character. As tributes poured in after his death, the words most frequently used to describe him were “kind,” “gentleman,” “artist,” “humble,” “passion,” and “integrity.”
“George embodied all that is right with the giant screen industry, not only in his films, but in his commitment to taking people where they could not go otherwise,” says GSCA Chair Gordon Stalans, Vice President-CFO, CIO, of the Tennessee Aquarium. “His tenacity to see a film project through to its completion continues to be legendary. But even more legendary was the way he treated people. When I think of George, I think about the kindness, generosity, and respect he showed all those he came in contact with.”
Mike Day, Executive Vice President at the Science Museum of Minnesota and a giant screen film executive producer, worked closely with Mr. Casey on a number of films, including Ring of Fire. In a tribute published shortly after Mr. Casey’s death, Day wrote, “George Casey was mightily dedicated to his craft, a warrior capturing in the world's largest film format worldwide phenomena and events that audiences would never have the chance to otherwise experience in their lifetimes. He was enormously loyal to his crews, steadfast in his determination to get the shot, and as calm and witty a traveling companion as one would ever hope for. And, along with the images he labored to capture were the wonderful minimalist expressions he brought to a script. One of my favorites from the film Seasons was the sequence of summer trees transitioning to fall colors with the line, ‘leaves–disposable gatherers of sunlight.’”
Honorees of GSCA's Outstanding Achievement Award are selected based on contributions of lasting impact which best advance the giant screen industry, enhance the immersive cinema experience and/or promote lifelong learning through the giant screen experience, and inspire audiences as well as the industry.
The annual GSCA Achievement Awards honor excellence in giant screen filmmaking, marketing, and lifelong learning and are presented during the GSCA International Conference and Trade Show. The 2017 conference is September 26-29 in Chicago, hosted by the AMC Navy Pier IMAX Theater and the Museum of Science and Industry. The conference, which is attended by giant screen industry professionals from around the world, includes screenings of new films, films in production, and projects in development; professional development sessions; technical sessions; and trade show. This year’s conference features the first-ever GSCA Marketing Symposium, an engaging day exploring consumer trends, new ideas, and helpful tools focused on increasing theater attendance and revenue. For more information visit www.giantscreencinema.com.