Big Movie Zone Blog Press Releases Teacher's Guides Community
Features and Reviews

Coral Reef Adventure Wins Best Film Award at GSTA


Written by: MacGillivray Freeman Films
Date: September 25, 2003


Category: Press Releases

"Coral Reef Adventure" is 2003's Top-Grossing New Documentary With Over $18 Million at the North American Box Office

Laguna Beach, California, September 25, 2003—MacGillivray Freeman's new documentary for IMAX® theatres, "Coral Reef Adventure," was named Best Film of 2003 by the Giant Screen Theatre Association (GSTA) during the 8th annual GSTA Achievement Awards ceremony this week. The prestigious award caps more than eight months of critical acclaim and public accolade for the company's newest documentary.

Directed by Greg MacGillivray and produced by MacGillivray and Alec Lorimore, "Coral Reef Adventure" follows the inspirational personal quest of underwater filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall to document the imperiled coral reefs of the South Pacific and the worldwide challenge to save them. Stephen Judson edited the film, which was written by Judson and Osha Gray Davidson with narration written by Jack Stephens. "Coral Reef Adventure" is narrated by Liam Neeson and features songs written and recorded by Crosby, Stills & Nash with additional music by Steve Wood.

"Coral Reef Adventure" has grossed over $18 million at the North American box office since its platform opening in February 2003, making it the top-grossing new documentary of 2003. The film opened in 10 theatres in the US/Canada and has now played worldwide in 49 theatres. Its worldwide gross is in excess of $20 million.

For MacGillivray, who is not only a renowned filmmaker but a passionate advocate for ocean conservation, the award is doubly significant. "We are deeply grateful to the giant screen community for recognizing Coral Reef Adventure, a film that took us more than four years to make and that was even more challenging to produce than Everest," stated MacGillivray. "When we started out, we weren't positive people would want to see a film that addressed the devastation facing coral reefs today, but as we got deeper into the story of the reefs, we knew it was a story we had to tell. It has been a tremendous experience to see audiences responding with such enthusiasm and new-found concern and respect for this vitally important environment."

"Coral Reef Adventure" has additionally broken new ground in underwater filmmaking. Director of Underwater Cinematography Howard Hall set a new depth record for taking the IMAX camera down 370 feet in the open ocean to film never-before-seen deep ocean reefs. Five new species of fishes previously unknown to scientists were discovered during filming.

The third in a series of ocean-themed films MacGillivray has produced, "Coral Reef Adventure" reveals the vast array of curious creatures that inhabit the reefs; introduces the everyday heroes fighting to save the reefs; and teams up with scientists exploring the reefs for potent new medical cures and never-before-seen species that are adding to what we know about life on earth. "Coral Reef Adventure" is not only one of the most technically advanced underwater films ever made, it is also a rare portrait of the demanding and daring process by which movies about life in the ocean are made. Among the highlights of the journey are stunning images of the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living organism on the planet; rare footage of huge schools of sharks deep off the coast of Rangiroa; the discovery of five new fish species near Fiji; and scenes of conservationist Jean-Michel Cousteau passing on his passion for coral reefs to a new generation.

"Coral Reef Adventure" was produced and distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films with major funding provided by the National Science Foundation and in association with the Museum of Science, Boston, National Wildlife Federation, Lowell, Blake and Associates and the Museum Film Network.

MacGillivray Freeman Films is the world's largest independent producer and distributor of giant screen films. During a career that spans forty years, Greg MacGillivray has produced or directed twenty-nine large format films. His first giant screen film, To Fly!, premiered in 1976 at the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum where it has played continuously for over twenty-five years, making it the longest running documentary in one theatre in history. In 1996, To Fly! was selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Film Registry where it joined such classic films as Citizen Kane and Gone With The Wind as one of the most important representations of American filmmaking in the last 100 years. Since that auspicious debut in the large format, MacGillivray has directed such major giant screen hits as To The Limit (1989), The Magic of Flight (1996), Everest, the highest grossing documentary in history (1998), and two Academy Award®-nominated films, The Living Sea (1995) and Dolphins (2000). In addition to his two Academy Award nominations, MacGillivray has received numerous critical awards, including the Clio, the Cine Eagle, and the industry's Maximum Image Award for Best Film.

MacGillivray is also well-known in the industry for his artistic and technical innovation. He has initiated the development of three cameras for the IMAX format—a high-speed (slow-motion) camera, the industry's first lightweight camera, and the "all-weather" camera used during filming on Mt. Everest.

MacGillivray currently has over six new giant screen films in development and production, including his next ocean-themed project, Ocean Planet.

For more information, please visit or contact: Lori Rick, MacGillivray Freeman Films (949) 494-1055,

IMAX® is a registered trademark of IMAX Corporation. Academy Award® is a registered trademark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Articles Archive: Newest to Oldest

Reviews Archive: Newest to Oldest