Visionary Award: James Cameron

As a filmmaker, James Cameron has never been scared to develop and use cutting-edge technology to enhance his movies. It’s appropriate, then, that as Cameron looks to further develop 3-D and digital technology, he is recognized by Cinema Expo with its Visionary Award.

Cameron first made his mark with international audiences in 1984 with “The Terminator,” a movie that featured a number of special effects that had never been seen before.

Cameron followed up with “Aliens” and then with 1989’s “The Abyss,” whose groundbreaking use of CGI won the Academy Award for visual effects. Cameron further developed CGI technology for “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” which also won the visual effects Oscar.

In 1997, Cameron helmed “Titanic,” the most expensive movie ever at that time. It became the highest-grossing movie in history and won 11 Oscars, three of them for Cameron, plus one for visual effects, which recognized the film’s visionary use of both CGI effects and scaled sets.

“Titanic” also helped to develop underwater photography techniques and remote vehicle technology, both of which the filmmaker further evolved during the shooting of “Expedition Bismarck,” “Ghosts of the Abyss” and “Aliens of the Deep.”

In the decade since “Titanic,” Cameron has continued to work on technical developments that will enhance how a movie tells its story and the impact it can have on its audience, especially on the bigscreen. One such development has been a stereoscopic camera system that can support a live-action 3-D feature.

“There isn’t a film that I’ve got in my queue — and I’m four deep right now in projects that I’ve got scripted and want to shoot — that I wouldn’t want to make in 3-D,” says Cameron.

Those projects include “Project 880” and “Battle Angel,” two sci-fi movies designed to showcase a number of technical advances, including performance capture and 3-D. Also in the queue is “The Dive,” the true story of legendary free divers and lovers Francisco “Pipin” Ferreras and the late Audrey Mestre.

Cameron’s vision goes beyond film as he also develops technology to be used in theme parks and on their rides, including participating in the Harrah’s Entertainment pitch to run Singapore’s first casino-resort. If Harrah’s does win the pitch, Cameron is committed to developing a series of rides based on his and other filmmakers’ works.

“We are going to people who have done world-class films and saying, ‘If you could have your fantasy reach people in a theme park attraction, what would you do?’ ” Cameron says.

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