IMAX launches ‘Big Picture’ initiative, partnering with UN to amplify action on environment issues

Executive Director of UNEP Achim Steiner. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

17 March 2016 – IMAX Corporation, the company that creates entertainment technology best known for its big-screen IMAX theatres, has partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to launch an ambitious corporate social responsibility initiative called ‘Big Picture,’ which aims to address the host of environmental, societal and economic issues.

According to UNEP, the campaign is an extension of IMAX’s core mission to educate, entertain and inspire movie audiences globally. It is expected to leverage the power of film to raise awareness and promote appreciation for the “big picture” – the understanding that actions we take in our daily lives can significantly impact the future of the planet.

“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,” said the Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner, in a press release.

“IMAX has also made a commitment to corporate social responsibility in the form of its Big Picture initiative,” he added. “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.”

With the launch of its documentary film A Beautiful Planet, which opens 29 April, IMAX hopes to showcase the power of film in addressing these issues. Through film, the IMAX-UNEP partnership intends to promote solutions against climate change as well as actions to achieve the 17 Goals of the2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted unanimously last September by all UN Member States.

The goals range from eradicating poverty, promoting gender equality and protecting the environment, to ensuring universal access to clean water, modern energy and quality education. Under the partnership, the organizations will encourage the production of sustainability-themed films on a wide array of issues that lie at the heart of the UN's efforts to protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all.

As part of the agreement, IMAX will launch a series of educational screenings and charitable premieres called “In Feature” to showcase sustainability-themed films. It will also encourage the development of films and documentaries to promote the UN's 2030 Agenda and to promote global action around World Environment Day, marked every 5 June, and the UN Campaign on the Illegal Trade in Wildlife.

“This global endeavour 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,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “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.”

As part of the ‘Big Picture’ campaign, IMAX also launched ‘In Focus,’ a program to shine a light on the work of young filmmakers and inspire them to pursue careers in filmmaking. Under this initiative, IMAX – in collaboration with UNEP – will 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.


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