IMAX Expands Documentary Budget

IMAX is making education edgy.

The motion picture giant known for its involvement in such fantastical films as Godzilla and Avatar is making good on a long-time commitment to produce films that teach as much as they excite. The company is creating a fund of up to $50 million to co-finance as many as 10 original large-format documentary-style films for the coming years.

IMAX already works alongside museums, science centers and aquariums nationwide to provide stunning educational pieces on topics such as wildlife and ocean exploration. Currently, IMAX is able to produce about one nature documentary every 18 months; with expanded funding, IMAX expects to produce two documentaries a year.

The films to be produced under this new initiative will still be screened in museums and traditional IMAX venues, but company officials aren’t ruling out the possibility that these documentaries could be released theatrically.

IMAX executives are aware of their unique opportunity to utilize cutting-edge technology in a way that can engage and excite viewers while they are learning.

“In the past our documentaries have been a little too traditional,” said Greg Foster, chief executive of IMAX Entertainment, in an interview on the LA Times. “The world has changed, kids are changing and technology is changing and we need to hip it up a bit and make it a little more accessible to school groups in a way that makes learning more entertaining.”

The fund will include outside investments until the documentaries are making enough money to be self-sustaining. The Catholic fraternal benefit society Knights of Columbus will contribute an initial investment of $25 million.

"The Knights of Columbus is pleased to partner with IMAX in this fund, both as a financial investment and as an investment in future generations through the creation of family-friendly entertainment," said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson in an LA Times article.

In addition to an investment in future generations, this fund is an investment in job creation for those passionate about documentary filmmaking. If you’ve dreamed of helping educate people through film, now is the time to make that dream a reality.

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