Reporting to Imax Entertainment president Megan Colligan, Turner will lead a business line that can be traced back to the inception of the company in 1970.
Turner will also oversee the company’s five-picture deal with Imagine Documentaries, beginning with Mars 2080, about a colony on Mars set 60 years in the future. He will also work closely with Imax music chief Jason Richmond to identify new opportunities. Imax has recently gotten traction with theatrical releases like last month’s If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power by the pop artist Halsey and Kanye West’s Jesus Is King in 2019.
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“John’s deep filmmaking experience and creative storytelling ability will be critical as we continue to expand the storied Imax documentary business,” Colligan said. “His proven track record of creating award-winning content will also help us immerse new audiences in awe-inspiring worlds that only Imax technology can truly capture.”
Turner noted that his own initial experience with Imax came via a documentary screening at the Cinesphere in Toronto, one of the world’s largest screens. “This is the most exciting time for documentary filmmaking and Imax is renowned for its transformative and groundbreaking films,” he said. “Today, it is the leading platform for storytellers who want to showcase the aspirational, and often unbelievable world around us. I’m thrilled to join the amazing team here and look forward to continuing the tradition of bringing powerful and contemporary stories to our screens from creators all around the world.”
Prior to Imax, Turner was a development consultant with Netflix Documentary Features, where he was also the creator of the crime series Dirty Money. He executive produced the recent documentary feature, Why Did You Kill Me?
Turner also produced the short Walk Run Cha-Cha, which was featured in anthology series From Here to Home which Turner produced for Davis Guggenheim’s Concordia Studio and The New York Times‘ OpDocs. It was nominated for both an Academy Award and a News & Documentary Emmy following its premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
Prior to Netflix and Concordia, Turner was a director of development for the launch of Vice Media’s cable channel, Viceland. He also developed series and documentary films for Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions in New York.
The first Imax film ever shown to audiences was the documentary Tiger Child in 1970 in Osaka, Japan. In the half-century since, the company has continued to emphasize documentary, with releases like Journey to the South Pacific, Space Station, A Beautiful Planet, Pandas and Asteroid Hunters. Many of the films have had recognizable narrators. The 1992 Imax doc Fires of Kuwait received an Oscar nomination.
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