- Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018
The Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) is pleased to announce that Toni Myers and Jonathan Barker have been named recipients of the GSCA 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award. Honorees of the award are nominated by GSCA members and selected by the GSCA Executive Committee based on contributions of lasting impact which best advance the giant screen industry, enhance the immersive cinema experience, promote lifelong learning, and inspire audiences as well as the industry. Both awards will be presented during the GSCA Achievement Awards on Friday, September 21, at the Westin Chattanooga as part of the annual GSCA International Conference and Trade Show.
A visionary and pioneering filmmaker, Toni Myers has graced the giant screen cinema industry since its beginning as editor, writer, producer, director, and even sometimes narrator. Her celebrated, multiple award-winning filmography includes A Beautiful Planet(2016), Hubble 3D (2010), Under the Sea (2009), Deep Sea (2006) Space Station 3D (2002), Mission to Mir (1996), L5: First City in Space (1996), Destiny in Space (1994), Journey to the Planets (1993), Rolling Stones: At the Max(1991), Blue Planet (1990), The Dream Is Alive (1985), Hail Columbia! (1982), Nomads of the Deep (1979), Ocean (1977), and North of Superior (1971), one of the very first films made in the IMAX format. Throughout her entire career she has been mentored and encouraged by Graeme Ferguson, co-inventor of IMAX and founder of the IMAX Space Unit. Prior to her IMAX films, she edited television drama and music films, working with some greats of the 1960s—including John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Santana—and her music background has strongly influenced her filmmaking, especially her groundbreaking editing style.
Toni’s films are not only artistically and educationally significant but also commercially successful at theaters in museums and science centers around the world. Through her collaborations, including with the exceptionally talented underwater team of Howard and Michele Hall and many astronaut crews, she has taken millions of people deep under the sea and to the farthest reaches of space to the origins of our galaxy. In the process, Toni has inspired generations to care more about our planet and beyond. It’s impossible to watch her films and not feel a lump in your throat at the beauty in the universe. She was able to show the world for the first time what it’s really like to be in space, and astronauts Tom Jones, Susan Helms, and Terry Virts all credit her and the early IMAX space films for inspiring them to pursue space exploration and become astronauts.
Equally important to her long list of credits and achievements is how Toni is regarded in the industry. Humble, warm, and gracious, with an incredible work ethic, she is universally admired and respected. The late Jonathan Barker and his wife Wendy MacKeigan, both longtime friends of Toni’s, endorsed her nomination shortly before Jonathan’s death with a letter to the GSCA Executive Committee. They wrote that “Toni is one of the great pioneers of the IMAX world…and her body of work is truly astonishing. Toni’s winning personality, passion, and perseverance are her trademarks. She is a Renaissance woman, ahead of her time, both artistic and practical—a unique left-brain, right-brain thinker—liked and admired by all.”
In the past, GSCA has presented just one Outstanding Achievement Award each year; however, the industry lost a remarkable man who made countless contributions to the giant screen industry and to GSCA itself when Jonathan Barker passed away on July 5. All previous chairs of GSCA endorsed honoring Jonathan with a posthumous Outstanding Achievement Award this year.
Producer, distributor, and industry leader, Jonathan was the CEO of SK Films, which he founded 20 years ago with his wife Wendy MacKeigan and Bob Kerr, co-founder of IMAX Corporation. Under his leadership, SK established a presence as one of the stalwarts of the industry. With over three decades of award-winning film and television experience, Jonathan was a world leader in 3D film production and distribution, specializing in IMAX®/giant screen films that combine human drama and natural history discoveries. He executive produced, produced, and/or distributed a wide array of some of the industry’s most significant films in the past two decades. Titles include Into the Deep (1994); Oscar-shortlisted film Bugs! (2003); Flight of the Butterflies (2012), which achieved the only ever clean sweep of the GSCA Awards, won Best Immersive 3D/Large Format Film at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, and is one of the most successful and acclaimed giant screen films of this decade; the award-winning Amazon Adventure (2017); Backyard Wilderness (2018); and the upcoming films Turtle Odyssey and Volcanoes.
Prior to creating SK Films, Jonathan began his passion for giant screen films during his tenure running the worldwide film business at IMAX, where he developed the blockbuster IMAX 3D film T-Rex, oversaw the production and distribution of a number of the IMAX space films, David Attenborough’s Survival Island, and the hugely successful 3D film Into the Deep. Through his dedication and tireless devotion to presenting the highest quality giant screen films, millions of people of all ages across the world have been inspired by his films.
Jonathan was also one of the small group of leaders who oversaw the creation of GSCA when GSTA (Giant Screen Theater Association) merged with LFCA (Large Format Cinema Association) in 2006. He continued his service as one of the most active and influential leaders of the association to his final day.
The annual GSCA Achievement Awards honor excellence in giant screen filmmaking, marketing, and lifelong learning and will be presented at the Westin Chattanooga the evening of September 21 during the GSCA International Conference and Trade Show. The 2018 conference is September 21-23 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, hosted by the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater, with Dome Day on September 24 at the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, Alabama. The awards and following reception are sponsored by IMAX, which will present the IMAX Maximum Image Awards during the awards ceremony. The conference, which is attended by giant screen industry professionals from around the world, includes screenings of new films, films in production, and projects in development; professional development sessions; technical sessions; and trade show. For more information visit www.giantscreencinema.com.