Climate Action

IMAX and UNEP launch environmental film campaign

IMAX Corporation and the UN Environment Programme launched major corporate social responsibility initiative on Wednesday

  • 17 March 2016
  • William Brittlebank

IMAX Corporation, the Canadian-US theatre giant, launched an ambitious corporate social responsibility initiative on Wednesday in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme.

The #IMAXBigPicture campaign is designed to leverage the power of film to promote awareness and understanding of environmental issues and encourage people to live more sustainable lifestyles.

The "Big Picture" project is part of the stated core mission of IMAX to educate, entertain and inspire movie audiences globally and will address a wide range of environmental, social and economic issues.

Canada-based IMAX will also launch its documentary film A Beautiful Planet on April 29 to demonstrate the power of film in addressing environmental issues and climate change.

The IMAX-UNEP partnership will promote solutions to combat climate change and to achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UN's 17 development goals were adopted by world leaders in New York in September and formally adopted by 193 member states.

The SDGs cover poverty eradication, gender equality, environmental protection, ensuring universal access to clean water, clean energy and quality education.

As part of the new partnership, IMAX and UNEP will encourage the production of sustainability-themed films.

IMAX will launch a series of educational screenings and charitable premieres to showcase sustainability-themed films and it will also encourage the development of films and documentaries to promote global action around World Environment Day on 5 June and the UN Campaign on the Illegal Trade in Wildlife.

IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond said: "This global endeavor builds upon IMAX's DNA and bridges to our legacy in advancing society's understanding of and appreciation for mankind's natural surroundings and co-habitants through documentary films."

Mr Gelfond added: "We couldn't think of a better partner than UNEP to help mobilize action and build on this foundation. Our hope is that by launching this campaign, we will change minds and hearts and make a greater impact across the world."

UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP Achim Steiner said: "As an iconic storytelling platform and distribution network, IMAX brings entertainment and information to captive audiences across the world. Such an impact is immensely valuable.

Mr Steiner continued: “IMAX has also made a commitment to corporate social responsibility in the form of its Big Picture initiative, which is being launched today. This work is just as important. Coupling the two in efforts to bring attention to the social, economic and environmental issues affecting our planet aligns with UNEP's goals of engaging the public to better our world."

IMAX also launched the "In Focus" programme as part of the new campaign to shine a light on the work of young filmmakers and inspire them to pursue careers in filmmaking.

The initiative will help to establish an annual young filmmakers' competition, challenging participants to create public service announcements or short films addressing issues like climate change and access to clean water and quality education.

To start the new campaign, IMAX will run a panel discussion on 16 March at USC's Michelle & Kevin Douglas IMAX Theatre and Immersive Media Lab to discuss "The Power of Film to Effect Change."

The panel will be moderated by USC's School of Cinematic Arts' Dean Elizabeth Daley, and will include Gelfond, Naysan Sahba, Director of Communications at UNEP, the World Bank's Action4Climate programme director Lucia Grenna, and film producer Lawrence Bender.