Tag Archives: Greg MacGillivray

Paul McCartney ‘Really Came Through’ for ‘Arctic 3D’


IMAX moviegoers who see Greg and Shaun MacGillivray’s spectacular new “To the Arctic 3D” not only have breathtaking visual treats in store, but some musical ones as well. Paul McCartney songs are used in the movie, and according to producer Shaun, “He really came through for us. This is the first time that he ever sent out his original recordings, done on 48 tracks, to have them mixed in a way that he doesn’t control completely. Our composer was able to get those tracks and mix them beautifully for the six-channel IMAX system. Of course, when McCartney mixed them, they were all for two-channel. He saw the wisdom of remixing for the magnificent sound in IMAX theaters.”

Considering McCartney’s well-known love of critters and ecology-mindedness, it’s not surprising that he’d do his bit for the MacGillivrays. Greg is the two-time Oscar nominee whose films include “Everest,” “The Living Sea” and “Dolphins.” Shaun’s credits include “Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk.” And their history of supporting nature extends to educational outreach and much more.

The “Arctic 3D” film’s central focus is an extraordinarily cooperative polar bear mother and her cubs, but the movie also shows what’s happening as the ice melts up North. MacGillivray Sr. insists there is hope to restore the Arctic.

“Of course I have to admit that I’m an optimist, always, and I think when people are given the choice between two options, they’ll choose the one that is better for humanity. In the case of the Arctic, obviously the choices that we can make that will help are in the area of conserving energy — at home, by turning off the lights, and at the pump, by driving more fuel efficient cars. Conserving energy in all ways. People will save money by doing so as well, so it’s a double win for everyone. You can always make things change,” he continues. “There are wonderful success stories — the anti-littering campaigns, the ozone layer — all kinds of conservation efforts that have changed the world.”

Imax ‘Arabia’ Production Took Discomfort to New Level

We’re used to stories of tough productions, but Academy Award-nominated documentarian Greg MacGillivray takes discomfort to a whole different level, having already taken IMAX cameras to the top of Mt. Everest and the bottom of the ocean.  MacGillivray’s new “Arabia 3D,” narrated by Helen Mirren, offered its own sort of brutal challenges, including “filming in 120 degree heat, wind blowing, dust on the camera, dust in the lenses, sand everywhere,” as MacGillivray recalls it.

He came away with visually stunning pieces including a trek to the ruins of the Madain Saleh, “two cities carved out of limestone,” he says.  “A second visual highlight is diving in the shipwrecks off of Jeddah in the Red Sea.  It’s a beautiful environment.  The water is like 85 degrees, there are coral reefs and it’s super clear with all kinds of fish and different animals.  And a third would be the Hajj — the tribute to faith that happens once a year, when three million pilgrims come to Mecca to celebrate their faith and commune together.”  Although he wasn’t permitted in the main mosque, “My camera team was Muslim and were able to take the camera in.  We also had helicopters and a view of everything from an adjoining high rise building.  It’s an amazing thing to witness.”

“Arabia 3D” was hatched after the 9/11 attacks nearly 10 years ago now.  Not by MacGillivray. but by “a group of Arab business people who were educated in the U.S. and have homes over here, who love the U.S. and who love Arabia,” who came to him with the idea.

“They were completely shocked by that event and they completely understand the reaction of everyone toward Arabs after that event, but they decided that, well, the U.S. population isn’t gettting the full picture of what it is to be an Arab.  We don’t know much about it, and what we do know is not very good.  We’ve gotten a lesson in the bad stuff over the last 10 years.  They thought, ‘Maybe if we make an IMAX film to show around the world, it will give a full picture.'”

He maintains that his mandate required filming “not in a propaganda-ish way, no rah rah we’re great kind of thing” — just real.
By now, having shot his film during nine trips over four years of time, he says, “I really loved the people that we met — hundreds and hundreds of really amazing people.”

Next up for MacGillivray:  chilling out in a giant way.  He’s now working on an IMAX film of the Arctic.