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Ferguson to Receive Kodak Vision Award at LFCA


Written by: The Large Format Cinema Association
Date: February 15, 2005


Category: Press Releases

The Large Format Cinema Association Selects Distinguished Filmmaker Graeme Ferguson To Receive The 2005 Kodak Vision Award

This Year's Honor Will Be Presented at The Annual LFCA Conference & Film Festival Taking Place At Universal City, California April 27th-29th, 2005

February 2005, Los Angeles, CA -- The Large Format Cinema Association (LFCA) is pleased to announce that distinguished filmmaker Graeme Ferguson, one of the original founders of IMAX Corporation, has been selected to receive the prestigious 7th Annual Kodak Vision Award.

The LFCA and Kodak will present the honor to Mr. Ferguson, during the 2005 LFCA Conference and Film Festival taking place April 27th-29th in Universal City, California. This year's LFCA conference theme is: "The Business of Large Format: Strategize and Thrive."

Established seven years ago, The Kodak Vision Award has been given to a distinguished cadre of cinematic talents and continues to be a highlight of LFCA's three-day conference. The presentation will showcase Ferguson's extraordinary career as a visionary filmmaker who played a seminal role in opening a new frontier.

Andy Gellis, President of the LFCA remarked, "Graeme has consistently brought fresh ideas and innovation to filmmaking, in addition to the visionary role he played in developing IMAX Large Format, and creating some of its most memorable films."

Ferguson developed IMAX's long-term relationship with NASA that has thus far resulted in six films. "He did the early 3D tests and was instrumental in nurturing NASA's interest in filming the building of the International Space Station in 3D," said Gellis. SPACE STATION (3D) (2002), the film produced by Toni Myers, Graeme's long-time collaborator at IMAX Corporation, has been successful world-wide, grossing over $80 million and still counting.

"Graeme Ferguson is that rare combination of artist and scientist, who recognized the possibilities for telling compelling stories on large format film," says Kodak's Tim Knapp. "He deserves this recognition for both his dedication to developing and perfecting the IMAX format, and also for the remarkable films he has produced and directed. We are all indebted to him."

The LFCA selection committee is chaired by Robert Dennis of CFI Labs. The Award Committee also includes past honorees Stephen Low, Sean Phillips, Reed Smoot (ASC), David Douglas, and Rodney Taylor, as well as Gellis and other distinguished members of the production and post- production communities.

Founded in 1996, the Large Format Cinema Association (LFCA) is a not-for-profit international association open to all those interested in the worldwide large format industry, including filmmakers, suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, theaters and their support industry, as well as film students, film studios and theme parks.

The mission of LFCA is to promote global public awareness of large-screen entertainment formats, to provide a forum for sharing information and to foster the growth of the industry. The next annual LFCA Conference and Film Festival takes place April 26-29, 2005 at Universal City in Los Angeles. For more information, contact LFCA Headquarters at (949) 831-1142 or consult the website at


Ivan Graeme Ferguson was born in Toronto in 1929. Given a camera by his parents at an early age, and he became fascinated by photography. Graeme attended Dickson School in Galt (now Cambridge) Ontario, and then Galt Collegiate Institute, where his father was head of the English Department.

At the University of Toronto he studied under Harold Innis and Northrop Frye, and sat on the Students' Administrative Council, representing Victoria College. He was elected president of the Film Society, where he began making films, and as a consequence was selected by the National Film Board as a summer student, leading to an opportunity to work with Maya Deren, the world's foremost experimental filmmaker.

After graduating in Political Science and Economics, he served for two years as National Secretary of World University Service, organizing the 1953 seminar in India, and leading the first student tour to West Africa.

Returning to India, he was hired by the renowned filmmaker Arne Sucksdorff as assistant director on the Swedish feature, The Flute and The Arrow.

For several years, Ferguson was a freelance filmmaker, as cameraman on Rooftops of New York (Academy Award nominee); cameraman-editor on A Bowl of Cherries; cameraman on Right Now and Nishnawbe – Aski; director on The Legend of Rudolph Valentino and The Days of Dylan Thomas (first prize, Bergamo Film Festival), The Question of TV Violence (Chris Award, best documentary, Columbus International Film Festival), among others. Ferguson co-produced the feature, The Love Goddesses with Saul J. Turell, for Paramount Pictures, and The Virgin President, which he also directed and photographed.

Ferguson and his former classmates Roman Kroitor (co-producer of Labyrinth) and Robert Kerr (co-producer of Polar Life and the Mayor of Galt) designed and produced Polar Life, which was featured at the "Man and the Polar Regions" Pavilion during the Expo ‘67 world's fair in Montreal. Ferguson was the producer, director, and cinematographer for the multi-screen presentation, which featured eight interlocking projectors and screens.

Ferguson was quoted as saying, "They ought to be looking for a way to make these films without multiple projectors."

He wasn't just talking. Ferguson, Kroitor and Kerr began collaborating on the IMAX format, along with another high school classmate, engineer William Shaw. They developed a new type of 65 mm camera with a horizontal film flow. Their company was initially called Multiscreen Corporation, which later became IMAX Corporation. Ferguson became the first president of the new Canadian company, and he continued in that role for 23 years.

The IMAX format premiered at EXPO' 70 in Osaka, Japan and was a run-away hit at that world's fair.

IMAX employs a patented projection system to present high fidelity images on motion picture screens of unprecedented size, filling the viewers' field of view. Ontario Place, which erected the first permanent IMAX theatre, commissioned Ferguson to produce, direct, and photograph NORTH OF SUPERIOR for its opening. North of Superior won the special jury prize at the Canadian Film Awards. Both the film and the new medium were extraordinarily successful with the public, and as a result there are now over 240 IMAX theatres around the world. In 1997, IMAX was awarded an Oscar® for Scientific and Technical Achievement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In addition to his executive responsibilities, Ferguson continued in various roles as a producer, director and cinematographer on such IMAX films as MAN BELONGS TO THE EARTH, SNOW JOB, OCEAN in OMNIMAX®, HAIL COLUMBIA!, THE DREAM IS ALIVE, BLUE PLANET, JOURNEY TO THE PLANETS in OMNIMAX (Expo 1993), DESTINY IN SPACE, INTO THE DEEP, L5: FIRST CITY IN SPACE, MISSION TO MIR, and the award-winning Space Station 3D.

Ferguson was invested into the Order of Canada, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bradford and a Doctorate of Sacred Letters from Victoria University in the University of Toronto. Other awards include The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Medal, The Canadian Government Environmental Achievement Award (for Blue Planet) and a Special Achievement Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Ferguson was awarded an Aviation Week Laurel, as well as the NASA astronauts' personal award, the "Silver Snoopy", for his continuing support to the space program. Ferguson has also received the IMAX Founders' Award, and been named an honorary lifetime member of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers. He is a patron of the Toronto Film Society.

Ferguson is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the International Cinematographers Guild, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

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