September 30, 2016—The Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) is very pleased to announce that renowned filmmaker and IMAX co-inventor and co-founder Graeme Ferguson is the recipient of its inaugural Outstanding Achievement Award. Mr. Ferguson will accept the award at the GSCA Achievement Awards on the evening of Tuesday, October 4, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.
Toronto native Graeme Ferguson was the driving artistic force behind IMAX. For Expo ’67 in Montreal, Ferguson directed the multi-screen, multi-projector film Polar Life, which viewers watched while seated on a central rotating turntable in the middle of 11 screens. The film was so successful that Ferguson, along with fellow filmmaker Roman Kroitor, had the idea of creating a movie theater with a similar immersive experience but with a single giant screen using only one projector. To achieve that, Ferguson and Kroitor recruited high school friend and businessman Robert Kerr, and engineer William Shaw, also a high school friend, to develop the camera, projection system, and theater configuration. Their IMAX (Maximum Image) system debuted at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan, with the first-ever IMAX film, Tiger Child. With a 15 perf/70mm film frame that was nearly 10 times larger than conventional 35mm film, the bright, clear, steady, and giant images resulted in a revolutionary immersive theater experience.
Ferguson has continued to make giant screen films throughout his career as director, producer, writer, and cinematographer, and his films have been seen by millions of people around the world. He was instrumental in getting IMAX cameras into space and fueling the dreams of would-be astronauts. Susan Helms credits the film The Dream Is Alive for inspiring  her to become an astronaut, and she appears in the IMAX documentary Space Station 3D.
Ferguson’s IMAX filmography includes Tiger Child (1970), North of Superior (1971), Circus World (1974), Man Belongs to Earth (1974), Snow Job (1974), Ocean (1977), Hail Columbia! (1982), The Dream Is Alive (1985), Blue Planet (1990), Journey to the Planets (1993), Into the Deep (1994), Destiny in Space (1994), L5: First City in Space (1996), Mission to Mir (1997), Space Station 3D (2002), Deep Sea 3D (2006), Under the Sea 3D (2009), Hubble 3D (2010), and A Beautiful Planet (2016).
“We are so honored to present the first GSCA Outstanding Achievement Award to Graeme Ferguson,” says GSCA Executive Director Tammy Seldon. “He has inspired an entire industry and countless viewers around the world for decades.”
“We respect and thank him for his artistic vision and passion,” says GSCA board member Diane Carlson of Pacific Science Center. “Simply put, without Graeme Ferguson, we would not have the industry we now have.”
“I have admired Graeme ever since I first entered the giant screen industry,” says GSCA Board Chair Gordon Stalans of the Tennessee Aquarium. “The films he has brought to our audiences are outstanding and impactful. But even more than his work product, I admire the way Graeme goes about conducting his business in a quiet, humble way but with the unwavering determination to do the job and do it right. That is the mark of a true giant in any 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 2016 conference is October 4-7 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, hosted by the Cineplex Scotiabank IMAX Theatre and Ontario Science Centre. The conference, which is attended by giant screen industry professionals from around the world, includes screenings of new films, films in production, projects in development, professional development sessions, a technical session and trade show. For more information visit