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Kieth Merrill
Academy Award-winning Writer / Producer / Director

The following profile and filmography was provided by representatives of Kieth Merrill:

Mr. Merrill is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He serves on the pre-nominating committee for documentary films.

He is a member of the Director's Guild of America.

He is an award-winning filmmaker with broad experience in a variety of genres and formats.

He is a two-time Academy Award Nominee, and Academy Award for his feature documentary "Great American Cowboy". He is the 3-time winner of the prestigious Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. He was nominated for an Emmy for his direction of "Cowboys" in his ten-hour mini series, "Wild West" for Warner Television.

Mr. Merrill's films have garnered an impressive list of additional awards, citations and critical acclaim. Three of Kieth Merrill's films: Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets (IMAX); Windwalker (feature); and Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic (IMAX) have been listed by Daily Variety on their roster of "film rental champions from independent distribution. Two of Merrill's films: (Grand Canyon and Windwalker) are in the top 100 independent films of all time.

Kieth Merrill
A Profile

Kieth Merrill is a filmmaker. He has created a remarkable assortment of motion pictures, television and commercials in a wide variety of formats. He is a director, writer, and producer. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Director's Guild of America. His many and diverse films include numerous landmark and award winning productions. Merrill has worked with Hollywood's major studios, written and directed feature motion pictures, created films and commercials for network television, and become recognized as one of the leading film makers of the Giant Screen. (IMAX format)

Merrill was nominated for an Academy Award for his recent IMAX-format film, Amazon. Earlier, Merrill won the Academy Award, "Oscar", for his feature documentary film, The Great American Cowboy. That success was followed by several feature films, television projects and an impressive array of additional recognition.

Merrill's recent work, The Testaments is a epic scale 70 mm dramatic film set in pre-Mayan America--combines Merrill's mastery of the big screen with his talent and experience as a dramatic director. It is a special venue film with extraordinary scope, but unlike other large format films, it is also a sensitive drama that has drawn on Merrill's depth of experience with actors and main stream filmmaking.

Olympic Glory, the first ever IMAX-format film of the Winter Olympic Games which Merrill directed, was released in January 1999. and has played to rave reviews throughout the world.

Merrill is a pioneer in the commercial large screen cinema industry. With the development of the Grand Canyon IMAX theater and film project, Merrill introduced a new concept that has become known as "destination cinema". The film, "Grand Canyon-The Hidden Secrets", is currently listed as one of the 25 most successful independent films in history. Merrill was a founding partner of World Odyssey which introduced the first IMAX-compatible projection system and ULTRA-70 cameras and opened the technology of the Giant Screen industry to much needed competition.

Merrill's "destination film" projects include the Grand Canyon IMAX Theater at the south rim of the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls IMAX theater, Canada, IMAX at RiverCenter, San Antonio, Texas featuring "Alamo--The Price of Freedom"--a large screen dramatic recreation of the battle of The Alamo--and a large screen film "Polynesian Odyssey" for Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii. Merrill wrote and produced the highly acclaimed "Legacy" which plays in a state of the art 5-perf 70-mm theater at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City. He also wrote, produced and directed "Yellowstone", an IMAX-format film for the Grizzly Bear Park Theater at West Yellowstone, "Zion Canyon: Treasure of the Gods", an IMAX format film at Zion National Park and "Ozarks: Legends and Legacy" for the IMAX Discovery Theater in Branson Missouri. Merrill directed "Passion of Life" for Valencia's IMAX Dome and is the creator of "San Francisco Adventure", a special venue film for the Cinemax theater at Pier 39 in San Francisco.

Merrill is active in church, community and family. He is married to the former Dagny Johnson of Piedmont, California. The Merrills are the parents of 8 children and reside on a small ranch in California's gold country.


The films of Kieth Merrill have won many honors, awards, and international citations. A partial list follows:

* Academy award nomination: Best Short Film, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences   
*  Winner's circle-LaGeode International IMAX-format film festival.

The Great American Cowboy
*  Academy award, "Oscar", Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
    *  Western Heritage Wrangler Award
    *  Silver Phoenix: Atlanta International Film Festival

Alamo-The Price of Freedom   
    * Western Heritage Wrangler Award - National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Grand Canyon-The Hidden Secrets
    *  International IMAX film festival. 1st Place

    *  Jury Award, Best Director - Yubari Fantastic Festival, Japan  '91   
    *  Premio Aj La Mejor Festival de Cine Ecologico/Canary Islands
    *  Best Director: American Indian Film Festival
    *  Award of Excellence: Film Advisory Board
    *  Golden Halo Award: Southern California Motion Picture Council
Wild West - Ten Hour Mini Series - Warner TV
    *  Emmy Nomination - Television Academy

Documentaries, shorts and other films:
    *  Gold Medal: Venice International Film Festival
    *  Bronze Venus Medallion: Virgin Island Film Festival
    *  CINE Golden Eagle: (Four-time winner (1975-77)
    *  Cup of the city of LaBaule France: Cidalc International Film Festival
    *  First Prize documentary: Festival of Tech films, Budapest, Hungary
    *  Wrangler Award (Three times)
    *  The Chris Award: Columbus Film Festival
    *  Silver Medal: International Film and TV Festival of New York
*  Cleo Award - "Service on the Run" Best Public Service 1992

Films by Kieth Merrill

IMAX FILMS - 15 PERF / 70MM   
Olympic Glory                             Director
Amazon                                    Co-Writer/Director/Producer **
Passion for Life                          Director/Co-Producer
Ozarks - Legacy and Legends               Director/Co-Producer/Writer
Zion Canyon - Treasure of the Gods        Director/Producer/Writer
Yellowstone                               Director/Co-Producer/Writer   
Polynesian Odyssey                        Director/Co-producer/Co-writer
Alamo - The Price of Freedom              Director/Producer/Co-writer
Niagara - Miracles, Myths and Magic       Director/Co-producer/Co-writer
Grand Canyon - The Hidden Secrets         Director/Co-Producer/Writer
Legacy II - Testaments                    Writer/Director
Witness                                   Director/Producer/Writer
Legacy                                    Writer/Director/Co-producer
San Francisco, The Movie                  Director/Producer/Writer

Windwalker                                Director/Producer/Co-writer
Harry's War                               Director/Producer/Writer
Take Down                                 Director/Producer/Co-writer
Three Warriors                            Director/Co-writer
Rivals                                    Writer

Wild West - The Mini Series               Director/Co-Producer
On The Way Home                           Director/Co-writer
Cherokee Trail                            Director/Co-writer
Mr. Krueger's Christmas                   Director
Kenny Rogers and the Cowboys              Director film unit

The Great American Cowboy                 Director/Producer/Co-writer *
Wheels of Fire                            Director/Co-Producer
Indian                                    Director/Co-Producer/Writer
Matter of Winning                         Director/Co-writer

In addition to the productions listed, Mr. Merrill has written, produced and directed over twenty five documentary, commercial, and short for clients including the United States Information Agency, Kaiser Steel, RJ Reynolds Co. National Bankamericard, Readers Digest Inc. and others.

Merrill has also produced an impressive list of TV Commercials, including "Service on the Run", winner of the 1996 Cleo.

Merrill was selected to re-write and direct the live theater production "It Came To Pass" which included a cast of 200 and 1200 voice choir.

Web page created 2 April 2002.