Colin Low, Quebec documentary filmmaker, dead at 89

Colin Low, whose experiments in large-format cinema contributed to the development of IMAX 3D film, died Wednesday in Montreal.

Prolific filmmaker and animator worked on more than 200 NFB productions

Filmmaker Colin Low worked with the National Film Board for 50 years. (National Film Board )

Colin Low, whose experiments in large-format cinema contributed to the development of IMAX 3D film died Wednesday in Montreal. 

Born in Cardston, Alta., in 1926, Low would work on more than 200 productions at the National Film Board over a career that spanned more than 50 years. 

The NFB called Low a "pioneer" and "one of our most important filmmakers."

"He was tireless, visionary, generous in spirit, a true gentlemen―a great Canadian and Albertan," Claude Joli-Coeur, NFB Chairperson, said in a statement.

"Canada will not see his like again and we are forever in his debt. "

Low began his career with the NFB in 1945  as a graphic artist and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming head of the animation unit. He later moved into documentary filmmaking and produced titles including City of Gold, Corral and Universe, which was among the sources Stanley Kubrick used when making 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Kubrick used the narrator from Universe as the voice of the HAL 9000 computer.

His film In the Labyrinth, which he co-directed with IMAX creator Roman Kroitor, was part of a multi-screen presentation for the Labyrinth Pavillion at Expo 67.

Low developed techniques that would be used in the development of IMAX 3-D film and often worked in large-format cinema.

Low's film In the Labyrinth was projected on two 50 foot screens inside the Labyrinth Pavilion at Expo 67. (National Film Board)

Over the course of his career, he won more than 100 awards, including two Short Film Palme d'Or awards at the Cannes Film Festival and a BAFTA award.

In 1996, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. 

Low is survived by his wife Eugénie and his sons Alexander, Ben and Stephen, all of whom work in the film industry.