Freeman Films is the world’s most prolific independent
producer of giant screen films. This Laguna Beach California company
is creator of the top two box office hits for the giant screen industry:
To Fly! (1976) and Everest
(1998). The company also produced the popular The Living
Sea, nominated for an Academy Award in 1995, and the box office
started the company with Jim Freeman, whom he met in the 1960’s
when both were focusing their lens on the art and sport of surfing.
Together they produced several short films and gained critical success
as they ventured into commercials, corporate promotional pieces
and Hollywood motion pictures. Jim Freeman’s photography for the documentary Sentinels of Silence helped the film win two Academy Awards® for Best Documentary Short and Best Live Action Short in 1971, and the team’s camera work for Jonathan Livingston Seagull helped the film receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography in 1973. The Towering
Inferno, for which they supplied aerial photography, received
a 1974 Oscar in cinematography and was that year’s highest grossing
The team’s aerial
expertise prompted an offer from the Smithsonian Institution’s National
Air and Space Museum to produce the bicentennial film for the museum’s
theatre, the first of its kind in the United States. Just two days
before the 1976 premiere of their film To Fly!, Freeman died
in a helicopter accident in California.
In tribute to
Freeman’s talents and friendship, MacGillivray retained their company
name. Twenty years later, To Fly! was selected by the Librarian
of Congress to be preserved in the National Film Registry as one
of the most important films in 100 years of American filmmaking
and his company are responsible for several technical innovations
for the IMAX®
format, including developing special cameras, mounts and photographic
techniques. Each adds to the visceral experience unique to this
format. The company has mounted the giant cameras on a jet dragster,
a whitewater kayak, a downhill ski racer, the Blue Angels jet aircraft,
and inside the P-3, a research plane that flies into hurricanes.
The filmmakers even placed their camera directly in the path of
an avalanche to achieve a shot with maximum impact.
addition to its film production and camera divisions, MacGillivray
Freeman Films operates its own Distribution Company that develops
marketing and educational materials for each of its films. Journey
into Amazing Caves marks MacGillivray Freeman Films’ 25th large
format film release.