MacGillivray Freeman Films

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MacGillivray Freeman Films is an American film studio based in Laguna Beach, California and founded in the mid-1960s by Greg MacGillivray and Jim Freeman. It has produced documentaries, feature films, and IMAX films.

In 2010, MacGillivray Freeman Films became the first documentary film producer to ever cross the $1 billion mark in gross box office.[citation needed] Concerned about conservation, it established the non-profit MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation and One World One Ocean.


MacGillivray has produced and directed more than 30 IMAX films and shot over 7 million feet of 70 mm film—the most in cinema history. He has also developed three cameras that work with the format: a high-speed (slow-motion) model, the industry’s first lightweight model and the “all-weather” camera he used while filming on Mt. Everest.[1]

Founding partner Jim Freeman was killed in a helicopter crash in 1976, two days before the release of To Fly![2]


Documentaries and other films[edit]

Prior to producing IMAX films, the company had success producing surfing documentaries, TV commercials and filming for Hollywood feature films. Its 1972 film Five Summer Stories is still considered a surfing classic.[3]

In 1976, it produced Magic Rolling Board, a 10-minute documentary about skateboarding. The company has directed and photographed for Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount and Stanley Kubrick. The company was honored for its aerial cinematography when Jonathan Livingston Seagull was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Photography in 1973 and when The Towering Inferno received the Academy Award for Best Photography in 1974.[citation needed]

IMAX films[edit]

Most well known for its IMAX films, the studio has produced and distributed 35 IMAX films since 1974. Its first IMAX film To Fly!, produced for the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum, was later selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Film Registry.

Two of its films, Dolphins (2000) and The Living Sea (1995), were nominated for Academy Awards. Its film Everest (1998) was the first IMAX film to appear on Variety's Top 10 Box Office chart for North America and is currently the highest grossing IMAX film in history.

Other works from the company are routinely nominated for and win awards from the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA).[4][5][6][7]


In 2004, Greg MacGillivray and his wife Barbara founded the non-profit MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation to contribute to the conservation of the world's natural and cultural heritage through giant screen films and companion educational programming.

MacGillivray Freeman established the One World One Ocean campaign,[8] which along with other organizations, in Laguna Beach Eco Heroes, a 30-minute documentary by The My Hero Project. The efforts of the Crystal Cove Alliance, ECO Warrior, Laguna Bluebelt, Laguna Canyon Foundation, Nancy Caruso, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Wyland, and Zero Trash Laguna were also highlighted in the documentary.[9]


  1. ^ Maximum Exposure in FLYP
  2. ^ "Surf-film pioneer MacGillivray to be honored at Newport Film Festival". 2014-04-25. Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  3. ^ Warshaw, Matt (2005-01-01). "The Encyclopedia of Surfing". The Encyclopedia of Surfing. Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  4. ^ "2015 Award Winners". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  5. ^ "2014 Award Winners". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  6. ^ "2013 Award Winners". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  7. ^ "2012 Award Winners". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  8. ^ "Our Story". One World One Ocean. Retrieved December 4, 2016. 
  9. ^ Laguna Beach Indy Staff (August 6, 2015). "Roundabout Comes to Town". Laguna Beach Indy. Retrieved December 5, 2016. Documentary is posted at 2015 Eco Heroes, My Hero 

External links[edit]