The Film - Meet the Filmmakers


Greg MacGillivray’s (Director, Producer) film career spans more than 40 years.  As a cinematographer, he has shot more 70mm film than anyone in cinema history – more than two million feet – and he has directed and produced many of the most successful large format films of all time, including Everest, Dolphins, The Living Sea, and Coral Reef Adventure. His company MacGillivray Freeman Films has been dedicated to the large screen motion picture format since the production of their first IMAX® theatre film, To Fly!, which he co-produced and directed with his partner, the late Jim Freeman in 1976.
MacGillivray also worked in Hollywood, directing and photographing for Stanley Kubrick on The Shining, and filming for the Academy Award®-nominees Jonathan Livingston Seagull and The Towering Inferno.  MacGillivray is also well-known in the industry for his artistic and technical innovations for the giant film format. He has initiated the development of two cameras for the IMAX® theatre format – the high-speed (slow-motion) camera and the industry's first lightweight and "all-weather" camera used during filming on Mt. Everest.                    

MacGillivray and his company have received numerous international film awards and industry accolades. MacGillivray was first nominated for an Academy Award® in 1995 for The Living Sea (Best Documentary Short Subject), and was nominated in the same category again for Dolphins in 2000. In 1998, the company's dramatic film about climbing the world's tallest peak, Everest, became the first large-format film ever to reach Variety’s top 10 box office chart. In 1996, the company's first IMAX® theatre classic, To Fly!, was selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in America's national film archives. The first large format film to receive this honor, To Fly! joined such cinema greats as Gone With the Wind, Star Wars and Citizen Kane as one of the most important films in filmmaking history. In 2001, To Fly! was inducted into the IMAX Hall of Fame.

In 2002 the Giant Screen Theater Association honored MacGillivray as one of the five most important contributors to the success of the large format industry over the last twenty-five years. Two months later, MacGillivray accepted the Bradford Washburn Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Museum of Science, Boston, for his contribution to science education. He joins an illustrious group of previous honorees that includes Jacques Cousteau, Walter Cronkite, Sylvia Earle, Jane Goodall and Carl Sagan.
Q & A with director Greg MacGillivray
1. What is the theme of the movie? Watch the Video
2. Why is this film important to us today? Watch the Video
3. Tell us about the archeology theme in the film. Watch the Video
4. What is your favorite scene in the film? Watch the Video

Stephen Judson (Writer, Editor) has edited all but two of MacGillivray Freeman's large format films, making him the most experienced editor in the large format field. In addition to his editing work, he has also directed five large format films, and co-directed and co-written several others including Everest, Dolphins, Journey into Amazing Caves and Coral Reef Adventure.  In 2005, he edited and served as script consultant on Mystery of the Nile.

Before joining the MacGillivray Freeman team, Judson worked as a writer/director/editor at a number of production companies in Hollywood, including long stints at ABC and Universal Studios. Judson is a graduate of Yale University and holds an M.A. from the USC cinema school. He is a member of the Director's Guild of America, the Writer's Guild of America, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Jon Boorstin (Writer) is a novelist, and a writer and producer for films and television.  His film credits in various capacities include The Parallax View, All the President's Men, on which he was Associate Producer, and Dream Lover, a psychological thriller he wrote and produced for MGM. Directed by Alan Pakula and photographed by Sven Nyquist, Dream Lover won the Grand Prix at the Festival International du Film Fantastique. He has written screenplays for, among others, Universal Studios, MGM, HBO, ABC, and CBS, television pilots for CBS, NBC and Fox, and was writer-producer on a prime-time series for NBC. He is currently writing and producing Three Moons Over Milford, a one-hour series for Disney’s Family Channel.

Boorstin began as a documentary filmmaker and continues to enjoy making such films. His films for the National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, the National Science Foundation and others have won numerous awards, including Chris Awards, Cine Golden Eagles, and the IFPA Blue Ribbon. His film Exploratorium (1974) was nominated for the Oscar® for Best Documentary Short. 

Boorstin’s IMAX® theatre film writing credits include To The Limit, which won the Prix du Public, the highest award at the Second International Imax-Omnimax Film Festival in Paris, and has grossed over sixty million dollars; Eureka! which he wrote and designed (co-directing substantial portions) for the Spanish government as the theme film for the Expo '92 World's Fair in Seville; and The Discoverers

Boorstin was educated at Harvard University (BA 1967, magna cum laude, phi beta kappa), where he studied Middle Eastern history, and in England at Trinity College, Cambridge (1967-69), where he read Architecture and Fine Arts on a Knox Fellowship from Harvard and a University Scholarship from Cambridge. He studied photography at the Illinois Institute of Technology with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind and film on a post-graduate fellowship at The California Institute for the Arts. 

Alec Lorimore (Producer) has over 20 years experience in giant screen, 70mm formats in addition to an extensive screenwriting career with the major Hollywood studios. He has produced many of the most successful large-format titles of all time, including Everest, Dolphins, The Living Sea, Top Speed, Coral Reef Adventure, Journey Into Amazing Caves and At Sea (Writer, Producer), for which he was honored with the prestigious Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement by the Navy League of the United States in 1993.

Lorimore, along with Greg MacGillivray, was first nominated for an Academy Award® in 1995 for The Living Sea (Best Documentary Short Subject), and they were nominated in the same category again for Dolphins in 2000. A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, he was named Academy Co-Chair of the 4th International Documentary Congress (IDC4), a three-day symposium jointly convened by the Academy and the International Documentary Association in August 2002.  A graduate in Cinema of the University of Southern California, Lorimore resides in Newport Beach, California.

Nia Vardalos (Narrator) is best known as the star of the highest grossing independent feature film in history, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Discovered by Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, who expressed interest in producing a film based on her original screenplay, Vardalos went on to star in the leading role.  She garnered an Academy Award® nomination for Best Original Screenplay and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture.  She also received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Appearance, a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast and a Writers Guild Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.  One of the most successful romantic comedies of recent times, the film also won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture.

More recently, Vardalos starred in and wrote the comedy Connie and Carla with Toni Collette and David Duchovny.  An alumnus of the Second City Comedy Theatre in Toronto and Chicago, Vardalos performed and wrote 12 revues and won Chicago’s Jeff Award for Best Actress. 

Alex G. Spanos (Executive Producer), the son of Greek immigrants, is one of the nation’s most dynamic business leaders.  As founder and chairman of Stockton, California-based A.G. Spanos Companies, he is credited with transforming a modest business venture into a corporate giant that is ranked at the top of the national housing industry.  As the force behind his family enterprise, Spanos presides over eleven companies with more than 500 employees.  The Spanos organization has built more than 100,000 apartment units and owns more than 3 million square feet of commercial property in 18 states.  In 1984 Spanos bought the San Diego Chargers, realizing a lifelong dream. 

Spanos and his wife Faye are known for their lifetime of philanthropy and humanitarian achievements.  Alex Spanos in particular has been recognized for his commitment to community and humanity.  He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, among them the Horatio Alger Award, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Starbright Foundation’s Heart of Gold, Republic of Cyprus Grand Cross of the Order of Makarios III, and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith’s National Distinguished Community Service Award for devotion to community and concern for others.  Spanos also sits on Kennedy Center Board of Trustees and the Eisenhower Medical Center, and has served as regent at the University of the Pacific and board member of the Shoah Foundation.

Always proud of his Greek heritage, Spanos contributed to many projects dealing with Ancient and Modern Greece.  His lifelong commitment to support them include such noteworthy projects as underwriting the cost of “The Search for Alexander” exhibit at M.H. De Young Museum, supporting the excavations of the Temple of Zeus in Nemea, Greece by the University of California at Berkeley, bringing the National Theatre of Greece to participate in the Los Angeles Olympics, and underwriting the PBS production of American Homelands: Greece, and the independent production of The 11th Day, a documentary on the battle of Crete during World War II.  

In 2001 Spanos published his autobiography, Sharing the Wealth, a recollection of his earlier years, as well as his observations and experiences in the business world.

Throughout his life, Alex Spanos has treasured family and community above all else.  His personal life has been as rewarding and fulfilling as his extraordinary career.  He and his wife, Faye, have four children, Dean, Dea, Alexis and Michael, and fifteen grandchildren. 

Brad Ohlund  (Director of Photography) has worked in the large format industry for 30 years and has contributed to the photographic success of all MacGillivray Freeman’s giant screen films including Everest, The Living Sea, Dolphins, Adventures in Wild California, Journey Into Amazing Caves, Coral Reef Adventure and Mystery of the Nile. After attending Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California Ohlund began his career with the classic film To Fly!  Since then, his broad and varied assignments have included filming underwater reefs in the South Pacific and primitive tribes in New Guinea and Borneo. He has filmed from inside the eye of a hurricane from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft and captured for the first time on IMAX® film the fury of an approaching tornado.     

In 1996 Ohlund was a key member of the MacGillivray Freeman Films Everest expedition. During that three-month expedition, he served as the Photographic and Technical Consultant to the climbing camera team. He was also responsible for filming numerous scenes including the exciting and dramatic avalanche and blizzard sequences – and was directly involved in the rescue efforts during those tragic and historic days in May.

Ron Goodman (Aerial Cameraman) is President of SpaceCam Systems, Inc., the designer of the system and an active camera operator who has specialized exclusively in gyro-stabilized cinematography for nearly thirty years. A native of Canada, Goodman started his career at age five in his grandfather's portrait studio darkroom.

While in Europe, where he lived for fourteen years, Goodman modified and improved the Wescam system and renamed it the X-Mount. With two X-Mount units he racked up such film credits as The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Superman - The Movie, Superman II and III and Santa Claus, The Movie. In 1974, using the X-Mount, he shot the longest single shot in any feature film to date; an eight minute continuous shot in The Passenger. Goodman won numerous awards for his aerial cinematography in a series of films directed by the Danish director Sung Lund Sorenson, as well as the top Scandanavian prize for Commercial Cinematography. Goodman's work was also on display in the Oscar®-winning visual effects on The Empire Strikes Back and Superman - The Movie.                     

In 1984 Goodman moved to Hollywood to forward his career in the growing field of aerial cinematography. He made some additional improvements to the X-Mount and renamed the system Gyrosphere. He stayed with Gyrosphere for only three years, parting company to design his own system, the most sophisticated gyro-stabilized camera system ever – SpaceCam. His new system made several noteworthy improvements over the other camera systems, including eliminating the reflection generating window still currently in use by other systems, and increasing the stabilizing power of the gyro motors, resulting in vastly increased pan and tilt speeds. He obtained three patents relative to the design of the new system, including a special fiber optic video viewfinder technology, a constant center of gravity magazine design for film and on overall patent covering the design of the SpaceCam Stabilized Camera Platform.       

In 1995, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Ron Goodman and SpaceCam the Academy plaque for Scientific & Engineering Achievement for allowing substantially increased maneuverability of the camera support vehicle and for expanding the boundaries and applications of stabilized cinematography.

Steve Wood (Composer) has been scoring films with Greg MacGillivray since Greg's surfing cult classic Five Summer Stories in 1972. Since then, he has worked on over a dozen of MacGillivray Freeman’s IMAX® theatre films including The Living Sea, Discoverers, To Fly!, The Magic of Flight, Everest, Dolphins, and most recently Mystery of the Nile. Steve worked with Sting on both The Living Sea and Dolphins and worked with George Harrison on Everest.         
Wood was Kenny Loggins' musical director for 9 years and has written many songs with Loggins including "If You Believe." He composed the instrumental interludes for Loggins' "Return to Pooh Corner." He has played with artists such as The Pointer Sisters, Michael McDonald, David Crosby, and Graham Nash. Woods' music has also appeared in other films such as Why Me? starring Christopher Lloyd, Boiling Point starring Wesley Snipes and Dennis Hopper, and Greedy starring Kirk Douglas. He also worked with Stevie Wonder on a Clio-award winning television spot for Hansen's Soda.   
Scoring giant screen films has allowed Wood to develop his interest in and knowledge of diverse ethnic music including Indonesian, Caribbean, Chinese, Tibetan, and Irish styles. He has also recorded folk music in Fijian locations. He recently completed production of CDs for Greek singing star Mario Frangoulis and a project featuring Salvatore Licitra and Marcelo Alverez, all for Sony Classical.

Matte World Digital (VFX) has worked with the most highly acclaimed directors of the current era to put their ideas on the screen.  The company designs and produces digital visual effects for films, television, commercials and interactive projects by using the latest techniques in digital compositing and computer graphics. The company has gone from critically acclaimed classic effects work to digitally rendered effects for such highly-regarded films as Clear and Present Danger, and Martin Scorsese's Casino.

Matte World Digital was created in 1989 by Industrial Light and Magic alumni who set out to create and develop the most realistic visual effects shots possible while still remaining affordable. The company is available to all types of projects including the non-effects driven pictures that need visual effects shots. Craig Barron, founder and Visual Effects Supervisor, is a winner of an Academy Award® nomination for Best Visual Effects by both the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for his work on Batman Returns.  Among the company’s many clients have been Disney, Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Amblin Entertainment, Castle Rock Entertainment, Morgan Creek, American Zoetrope and Warner Brothers.  Matte World has also created commercial work for AT&T, Coca Cola and Honda, as well as the effects in Michael Jackson's Black or White music video.

Sassoon Film Design (VFX) is a Santa Monica-based graphic design company specializing in visual effects for feature films, television, 3D IMAX®, as well as special venue projects. The company most recently completed visual effects work on the critically acclaimed IMAX® theatre film Magnificent Desolation:  Walking on the Moon 3D.  Other Sassoon Film Design credits include Spartan, DeLovely, Roar: Lions of the Kalahari (IMAX® format), Forces of Nature (IMAX® format), Sesame Street 4D (for Universal Studios Osaka), Discovery Channel’s Unsolved Histories, Back to the Future: The Ride, and The West Wing.  Among the company’s clients are Disney, Paramount, IMAX Corporation and Dreamworks SKG. 
© Copyright 2006 MacGillivray Freeman Films
IMAX® and IMAX® experience are registered trademarks of Imax Corporation
"Great Adventure Films" is a registered trademark of MacGillivray Freeman Films, Inc.