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January 21 – 26, 2009

Vancouver International Film Centre
1181 Seymour Street
Vancouver, Canada

Megabyte Sponsors

BC Innovation Council


Kilobyte Sponsors

Electronic Arts


Byte Sponsors

Next Limit Technologies

Annex Pro

Davis LLP


Vancouver Economic Development Commission


Vancouver International Film Centre


Visual Effects Association of BC

Visual Effects Society

Graphic Designers of Canada

13 Films, 18 Speaking Events, 6 Days, 1 Fantastic Festival
January 21 – 26, 2009

Welcome to SPARK FX '09

On behalf of Vancouver ACM SIGGRAPH and the Vancouver International Film Centre, we would like to welcome you to SPARK FX '09, Vancouver's second annual visual effects film festival. We're now 2 years old, and boy have we grown! This year we're bringing you a full slate of 10 fantastic visual effects films, as well as 18 speaking events with some of the most talented FX artists and researchers from Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles and beyond. We have a fabulous line-up of speaking talent again this year – touching on history, practical effects, aesthetics and the growing film VFX industry here in Vancouver, to name just a few. We cannot believe our good fortune in being able to host Dennis Muren, a legend in the VFX community, and we have a few more surprises coming your way. Thank you so much for supporting us, and thank you to all of our sponsors for supporting us as well!

Mike & Sly
SPARK FX '09 Festival Chairs


6:30 pmDoors Open
7:00 pmFILM
"The 7th Voyage of Sinbad"
Introduction by Ken A. Priebe
9:30 pmFILM
"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"
Introduction by Dennis Hoffman
10:15 amRegistration
"Access Denied! Fictional Interfaces in Films"
with Mark Coleran
"Raising the Bar on Modern Prosthetics"
with Gordon Smith
"Digital vs. Practical? Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Integration"
with Todd Masters & Andre Bustanoby
5:00 pmPANEL
"Pipedreams: In Search of the Perfect Production Solution"
moderator: Dave Fracchia with Tim Belsher, Troy Brooks, Anthony Brown, Leo Chan & Doug Smith
7:00 pmFILM
"Forbidden Planet"
Introduction by Keith Blackmore
9:30 pmFILM
8:30 amRegistration
"Spanning the Valley"
with Paul Debevec
"Digital Cloning at ILM: From Lemony Snicket's Baby to Pirates' Davy Jones"
with Christophe Hery
"A VFX Journey Through Pan's Labyrinth with CafeFX"
with Jeff Barnes
"Inside the World of Matte Painting"
with Dylan Cole
5:00 pmPANEL
"Flesh: Bringing Characters to Life"
moderator: Paul Griffin with George Borshukov, Paul Debevec, Christophe Hery, Caleb J. Howard & Gordon Smith
7:00 pmFILM
"El laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth)"
Introduction by Jeff Barnes
9:45 pmFILM
"Terminator 2: Judgement Day"
Introduction by Dennis Muren
8:30 amRegistration
"Weaving the Real & Imaginary in Visual Effects"
featuring Dennis Muren
"Myths, Monsters, Mad Men & Machines"
with Shane Mahan
"Indiana Jones: A Look Into the Visual Effects Challenges & Slight of Hand"
with Marshall Krasser
"What if David Lean had CGI?"
with Harrison Ellenshaw
5:00 pmPANEL
"Visual Effects in Vancouver"
moderator: Jason Dowdeswell with Michael Adkisson, Chris Harvey, Ivan Hayden, Winston Helgason & Shawn Walsh
7:00 pmFILM
"Star Wars Trilogy: Triple Bill"
7:00 pmFILM
"Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope"
9:30 pmFILM
"Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back"
11:55 pmFILM
"Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi"
10:15 amRegistration
"KaBOOM! The Extremely Exciting World of Practical Effects"
with Rory Cutler & Wayne Szybunka
"Under Pressure: How to Do a Creative Job Without Going Nuts"
with Mark Coleran
"Water, Water Everywhere: From Poseidon to Benjamin Button"
with Mark Stasiuk
"History of Visual Effects"
with Keith Blackmore
7:00 pmFILM
10:00 pmFILM
"The Abyss"
6:30 pmDoors Open
7:00 pmFILM
"La cite des enfants perdus"
9:30 pmFILM
"Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"
Introduction by Paul Griffin



Wednesday - January 21, 7:00 PM
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
USA 1958 // Dir.: Nathan Juran // 88 min. // 35mm // G
Introduction by Ken A. Priebe

Ray Harryhausen stands tall in the pantheon of visual effects masters – perhaps tallest of them all – and in this film some of his best work shines. We've got the cyclops, the dragon, the skeletons attacking – lots of classic Harryhausen magic. Torin Thatcher is wonderfully and melodramatically evil as Sokurah the Magician. Sure – the motion of the puppets is a little jerky, the acting a little wooden and the mattes are cut badly from time to time, but somehow it all comes together in old-fashion Hollywood movie magic. Stop-motion animator and author Ken Priebe will be introducing the film.

1958 Morningside Productions · All rights reserved.

© 1958 Morningside Productions · All rights reserved.

Wednesday - January 21, 9:30 PM
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
USA 2003 // Dir.: Gore Verbinski // 143 min. // PG
Introduction by Dennis Hoffman

Cynics might scoff at the idea of creating a movie – nay a franchise – based on a theme-park ride. But they weren't counting on Johnny Depp's performance. The Marquis of Quirky lifts a dire premise out of the muck and injects such infectious joie-de-vivre into it that it is nearly impossible for even the harshest of cynics to deny the film's charm. Reading the credits one can be excused for assuming that every single ILM employee worked on this film in one way or another. However, it is undeniable that the results are beautiful, as aptly recognized with the film receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. The ships, the battles, the hordes of undead – visually there is a lot to enjoy about this film and the fabulous work ILM did on it. And if that's not enough for you, of course there's also Captain Jack Sparrow. Come dressed in your best pirate garb to receive a golden piece of eight! Arrrgh! Dennis Hoffman will be introducing the film.

2003 Disney · All rights reserved.

© 2003 Disney · All rights reserved.


Thursday - January 22, 7:00 PM
Forbidden Planet
USA 1956 // Dir.: Fred M. Wilcox // 98 min. // 16mm // G
Introduction by Keith Blackmore

Children of the 60's and later often have no idea that Leslie Nielsen has had two acting careers: one as the straight man, and another parodying the very role he perfected. Forbidden Planet takes us back to his stalwart roots as Commander J.J. Adams who explores the mysterious dangers of the planet Altair, and the secrets of its inhabitants. A seminal B-Movie of the 1950's, the budget of Forbidden Planet was much larger than usual (allegedly contributing to the ousting of then MGM studio head, Dore Schary); the money can be seen in the animated and practical effects. Robby the Robot will be familiar even to those who have never seen the film, as he later became an icon, appearing in many film and television productions. Similarly, even the spaceships were reused (in half a dozen episodes of The Twilight Zone). Film historian and educator Keith Blackmore will be introducing the film.

1956 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer · All rights reserved.

© 1956 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer · All rights reserved.

Thursday - January 22, 9:30 PM
UK·USA 1979 // Dir.: Ridley Scott // 116 min. (Director's cut) // 35mm // 14A

Ahhh – guys in monster suits. Those were the good old days weren't they? The creature, famously designed by H.R. Geiger and brought to life by Bolaji Badejo and Nick Allder's effects team, was carefully shot to maximize the illusion that this couldn't be a guy in a suit. In fact, some scenes were cut from the movie because at times it was just a bit too obvious. The original Alien is the first film in the series, and it is thick with atmosphere and claustrophobia – completely lacking the heavy military hardware of the later films. It is sentience versus sentience. Of course – on the one side, is a creature whose very blood is acid, and whose teeth can tear a hole through the hide of an elephant, so the fight isn't exactly fair. But on the other side, we have Ripley – easily one of the toughest most resourceful adventure characters ever penned for either gender. Ripley is no silicon jiggle fest. She is real, she is desperate, she is crushed by her losses and she is a survivor. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

1979 Brandywine Productions · All rights reserved.

© 1979 Brandywine Productions · All rights reserved.


Friday - January 23, 7:00 PM
El laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth)
Mexico·Spain·USA 2006 // Dir.: Guillermo del Toro // 112 min. // 35mm // 14A
Introduction by Jeff Barnes

A gothic fairy tale set against the postwar repression of Franco's Spain, Pan's Labyrinth unfolds through the eyes of Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), a dreamy little girl who is uprooted to a rural military outpost commanded by her new stepfather. Powerless and lonely in a place of unfathomable cruelty, Ofelia lives out her own dark fable as she confronts monsters, both otherworldly and human. Jeff Barnes, CafeFX CEO & Producer will introduce the film.

2006 Estudios Picasso, Tequila Gang y Esperanto Filmoj · All rights reserved.

© 2006 Estudios Picasso, Tequila Gang y Esperanto Filmoj · All rights reserved.

Friday - January 23, 9:45 PM
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
USA·France 1991 // Dir.: James Cameron // 152 min. // 35mm // 18A
Introduction by Dennis Muren

Terminator or Terminator 2? It's a tough question for fans of the series to decide which was the better film. Does Arnie do better as the bigger half of a buddy movie, or as the compassionless, unrelenting source of terror in a horror film? One thing that is fairly widely accepted in FX circles, however, is the importance of Terminator 2 as a milestone in computer animation. James Cameron had taken his chances with the water-being scene from The Abyss, and the logical successor to this technology was the shape shifting T-2000. The liquid metal design of the robot was a fantastic marriage between story and technology. The creature pushed the limits of rendering, modelling and animation of the day, while exploiting their very weaknesses. Rendering and shading techniques had not yet advanced into the realm of subsurface scattering, but they were perfect for shiny metallic surfaces. As such, rather than asking for the impossible, the designers leveraged the tools available to them for maximum effect. Join us for the action as a young John Conner discovers who he is and what his mom has been going on about for all these years. Dennis Muren will be introducing the film.

1991 Canal+ � All rights reserved.

© 1991 Canal+ � All rights reserved.


Saturday - January 24, 7:00 PM
Star Wars Trilogy: Triple Bill

Lots is good, but more is better. Grab your lightsaber and ask your little brother to give you back your Darth Vader mask - Lucas films has granted us the rare privilege of screening the first three Star Wars films back to back! Dress up in costume for a small door prize and come spend the night with a theatre full of rabid Star Wars fans.

We'll have beer and wine at the concession stand for this fabulous event, and there will be door prizes for people in costume, and a costume contest as well! May the Force be with you.

Saturday - January 24, 7:00 PM
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
USA 1977 // Dir.: George Lucas // 121 min. // G

Number 1 on the VES 50, Star Wars inspired thousands of future visual effects creators to get into the field, and it also sparked the creation of many of the tools we use today to get our work done. George Lucas really deserves a lot of credit for playing a critical role in changing the way movies were made. "Edit Droid", the software and hardware Lucas had developed by a brilliant team of engineers, went on to become the AVID editing suite which for many years was the industry standard, and that is just the tip of the innovation iceberg spawned by this film. Of course it also launched the career of a young Harrison Ford who flew one of the coolest spaceships ever designed for a film, the Millennium Falcon.

This screening is going to be a special one, and you're going to help us make it that way! There will be a small present for everyone who comes to the show dressed in a sci-fi costume of some sort, and we'll be picking a few of you to take part in a "best costume" competition before the show.

Our special guest Dennis Muren will be introducing the trilogy.

1977 Lucasfilm · All rights reserved

© 1977 Lucasfilm · All rights reserved

Saturday - January 24, 9:30 PM
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
USA 1980 // Dir.: Irvin Kershner // 127 min. // G

The budgets are bigger, the effects are better - ILM moved light years in the time between these two films. Many a sequel hasn't lived up to the original, but Empire certainly does! The walker scenes are pretty darned fun (I think Legolas learned how to attack Oliphants by watching Luke take on Imperial Walkers), and we meet Boba Fett, a giant space slug, a huge cloud city, steaming tauntaun guts and Lando Calrission. What more could you ask for? Four industry giants, Richard Edlund, Brian Johnson, Bruce Nicholson and our special guest, Dennis Muren, collectively won a Special Achievement Award from the Academy for the visual effects in this film.

Come and join us for this very special screening of The Empire Strikes Back.

1980 Lucasfilm · All rights reserved

© 1980 Lucasfilm · All rights reserved

Saturday - January 24, 11:55 PM
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
USA 1983 // Dir.: Richard Marquand // 135 min. // G

Return of the Jedi or - perhaps more to the point - return of Harrison Ford. Ford refused to sign on for three films originally, and the carbonite was going to be George Lucas's way out if he needed to make this film sans the dashing Han Solo. The final film in the trilogy is seen as the weakest by some, but it's not without its great moments, and once again the effects work cranks it up another notch. This time around Richard Edlund, Ken Ralston, Phil Tippett and our special guest, Dennis Muren won the visual effects Special Achievement Award from the Academy. The creature menagerie gets a real workout at Jaba the Hutt's palace, and Yoda is once again fabulously expressive in the hands of master puppeteer Frank Oz.

Join the hardcore, the die-hards, the insomniacs - as we celebrate the legend that is Star Wars in this very special midnight screening.

1983 Lucasfilm · All rights reserved

© 1983 Lucasfilm · All rights reserved


Sunday - January 25, 7:00 PM
USA 1998 // Dir.: Gary Ross // 124 min. // 35 mm // PG

Some films shove their effects in your face. As fun as that can be, there are more than a few stories that need a lighter touch. Enter Pleasantville, Gary Ross' ode to the 1950's. David (Toby Maguire) and his sister Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) are sent to an alternate reality set in a 50's TV soap opera. They are sent there by none other than Barney Fife himself – Don Knotts playing a rather odd TV repairman. Interestingly, Ross' father, also a screenwriter, was blacklisted during the McCarthy era, so it is no wonder that Ross has some interesting things to say about the 50's and the desire of so many people to resist change.

1998 New Line Cinema, Inc. · All rights reserved.

© 1998 New Line Cinema, Inc. · All rights reserved.

Sunday - January 25, 10:00 PM
The Abyss
USA 1989 // Dir.: James Cameron // 138 min. // 35mm // 14A

When he wrote The Abyss, James Cameron carefully crafted the pseudopod scene so that it could be removed from the story without substantially harming the narrative – he was hedging his bets because something like this had never been done before. However, his careful planning was not needed, as the ILM effects team managed to pull off the shot. At the time, they were pushing the absolute limits of what could be done with a computer, and the scene blew the doors off the CG community (eventually leading to the T1000 of Terminator 2 fame). So the computer animation work was groundbreaking, but what about the rest? The production was grueling, with whole days spent filming underwater in a huge abandoned nuclear reactor cooling tower's foundation (which was converted into the world's largest underwater stage). The challenges were immense; the claustrophobic stress that comes through in so many of the actors' performances might not have required much acting to achieve. Come follow the crew of the deep sea underwater drilling platform as they teeter between discovery and destruction.

1989 20th Century Fox · All rights reserved.

© 1989 20th Century Fox · All rights reserved.


Monday - January 26, 7:00 PM
La cite des enfants perdus
France 1995 // Dir.: Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro // 112 min. // 35mm // PG

This little gem of surrealist French science fiction shows its roots as Jules Verne type fiction. Thick with atmosphere, character and the signature expressive extremes of directors Jeunet and Caro, The City of Lost Children as it's known in English, was one of the first feature films to make use of Mental Ray – a ray tracing renderer conceived as a challenger to Pixar's rendering dominance at the time. La cité follows the story of One, a carnival strong-man (Ron Perlman speaking French... sort of...) whose little brother is kidnapped by an evil scientist, intent on stealing dreams to manufacture a new childhood for himself. The world is populated by a fantastical menagerie of street urchins, pawn brokers, blind cyborgs, clones and, of course a midget. The art direction is fabulous. Come and enjoy this Gallic delight in French with English subtitles.

All rights reserved.

© All rights reserved.

Monday - January 26, 9:30 PM
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
New Zealand·USA 2002 // Dir.: Peter Jackson // 178 min. // 35mm // 14A
Introduction by Paul Griffin

Lord of the Rings was to Weta Digital what Star Wars was to ILM. Together LotR and Weta put New Zealand on the film-making map in a way that it had never been before. Fans of Tolkien's books waited with baited breath for the film to be completed, gobbling up trivia and spawning websites. Surprisingly perhaps, considering the expectations, The Ring Trilogy managed to meet the expectations. In doing so, Weta set the new standard for character animation. The live action integration of Gollum is stunning, and, although Weta went on to improve the process over the course of the three films, we are including the second in the series as it was so groundbreaking. Additionally, this film includes some excellent miniatures work and some enormous crowd shots. A small surprise will await anyone who comes in costume to this screening.

2002 New Line Cinema, Inc. · All rights reserved.

© 2002 New Line Cinema, Inc. · All rights reserved.


Saturday - January 24, 9:30 AM
Weaving the Real & Imaginary in Visual Effects
featuring Dennis Muren

Visual Effects have become more sophisticated, and more pervasive than ever. So where does the film industry go from here? In this presentation, Dennis will discuss the five most compelling challenges facing visual effects today: what it means to evoke reality in creating imagery; how visual effects artists can both educate directors and free them at the same time; how to develop new technologies that will both inspire and streamline the filmmaking process; how to ensure that the industry maintains quality in spite of its explosive growth; and what it means, both financially and ethically, to create visual effects for an increasingly immersive entertainment environment.



Thursday - January 22, 11:15 AM
Access Denied! Fictional Interfaces in Films
with Mark Coleran

An often overlooked area in film visual effects and motion graphics is that of on-set screen graphics. This specialized area of visual effects and motion graphics can be anything from background set dressing all the way up to being a core component in the storytelling.

In this session, Mark Coleran will take a closer look at this unusual niche and give some insight into the art and methods used to create this work, using examples of his own work from The Island, Deja Vu and The Bourne Ultimatum amongst others.

Sponsored by

Gridiron Software

Thursday - January 22, 1:30 PM
Raising the Bar on Modern Prosthetics
with Gordon Smith

Gordon will talk about the state of the special effects make-up industry, then and now. The development of his unique approach to his work and his technology. How the digital world has come of age as a practical fine art and special effect design tool and his motivation in bringing the fine art world, the practical world of motion picture special effects and the digital world together into one design box.

Thursday - January 22, 3:15 PM
Digital vs. Practical? Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Integration
with Todd Masters & Andre Bustanoby

Digital tools have transformed the process of filmmaking and many traditional techniques have been replaced. But, does this mean that all practical approaches should be passed over? What about the artists who have made significant contributions in the practical & visual effects world? Are their experiences and skills not part of the Digital Revolution?

Andre and Todd from MASTERSFX illustrate how integrating Practical & Digital can not only produce better FX, but can also be a production-friendly alternative. From creature FX to more routine applications, their presentation will show examples of a mixed approach, and they allude to future expansion of what could be considered "the best of both worlds".


Friday - January 23, 9:30 AM
Spanning the Valley
New Techniques for Acquiring, Rendering & Displaying Human Performances
with Paul Debevec

How are we progressing in the battle to cross the uncanny valley? Dr. Debevec will discuss a collection of techniques and technologies in development today.

  • Acquiring, rendering and displaying photoreal models of people, objects and dynamic performances;
  • Image-based lighting techniques for photorealistic compositing and reflectance acquisition techniques (which have been used to create realistic digital actors in films such as Spider-Man 2 and Superman Returns);
  • Describing image-based relighting with free-viewpoint video to capture and render full-body performances and new 3D face scanning processes that capture high-resolution skin detail;
  • Investigating new 3D display that leverages 5,000 frames per second video projection to show auto-stereoscopic, interactive 3D imagery to any number of viewers simultaneously

Sponsored by


Friday - January 23, 11:15 AM
Digital Cloning at ILM: From Lemony Snicket's Baby to Pirates' Davy Jones
with Christophe Hery

This talk will focus on the procedures, techniques and tools used at Industrial Light & Magic to achieve state of the art character performances and rendering in three recent movies: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007).

Sponsored by


Friday - January 23, 1:30 PM
A VFX Journey Through Pan's Labyrinth with CafeFX
with Jeff Barnes

When the harsh world of the Spanish Civil War becomes too horrific to bear in director Guillermo del Toro's visually rich and complex Pan's Labyrinth, young Ofelia escapes inward, finding in her imagination the power to heal her real-world wounds. Challenged to create the mythical creatures and landscapes of Ofelia's fantasy, CafeFX embarked on an artistic and technical journey spanning four months of location shooting and five months of post production. Seamlessly uniting the real world horrors with Ofelia's fantastic universe, CafeFX brought reality to the dream, creating a curious stick bug, faeries, a giant toad, a baby in the womb, and an infant-like mandrake root, while augmenting both the title character and our heroine's nemesis, the Pale Man, all contributing to the film's three academy awards, three BAFTA awards and six Goya awards.

Friday - January 23, 3:15 PM
Inside the World of Matte Painting
with Dylan Cole

Join matte painter Dylan Cole as he takes us on a journey through his work. Dylan will be showcasing and breaking down some highlights of his work, showing the evolution through the Photoshop files, as well as the finished shots. He will also be sharing his insight into, and discussing the various approaches and techniques used in matte painting – such as photo-collage, digital painting, 3D and miniatures. And as there are a thousand stories behind each painting, Dylan will share his experiences and discuss some of the challenges and details of individual shots he has worked on for many of the top studios in the VFX world.

Sponsored by



Saturday - January 24, 11:15 AM
Myths, Monsters, Mad Men & Machines
with Shane Mahan

Over 30 years ago, Stan Winston perfected the art of practical effects, opening the doors to a world of unachievable fantasy. Since groundbreaking films like The Terminator and Jurassic Park, the inspiration and creative contributions from both ILM and Stan Winston Studio has paved the way to a nearly flawless generation of Special FX by seamlessly fusing both mediums together. Join Shane Mahan, previously at Stan Winston Studio, and now one of the heads for Legacy EFX, as he discusses the various elements involved in making the magic we love, including different forms of inspiration, meticulous design, detailed construction and more. Come discover how some of the world's most legendary characters and creatures were conceived, from the page to the screen, and given their own flesh and blood.

Saturday - January 24, 1:30 PM
Indiana Jones: A Look Into the Visual Effects Challenges & Slight of Hand
with Marshall Krasser

In his presentation, Marshall will be highlighting the wide range of challenges the visual effects team faced in creating the 540 visual effects shots (on screen for some 48-minutes) in this film. Although the team developed cutting edge technology to solve many of the issues that had to be dealt with they were also careful to remain true to the original films.

Among the challenges and solutions that will be discussed are the creation of the digital jungle and jungle fight (behind the scenes on the shoot, and the digital matte work and compositing involved), the rocket sled escape sequence (decisions regarding when to use CG or real flames, and other decisions regarding use of CG vs. real world elements), creation of the over 200,000 swarming jungle ants (that had to attack and interact with the actors in a believable manner), some insights into how to "trick" out a shot, and more!

Sponsored by


Saturday - January 24, 3:15 PM
What if David Lean had CGI?
with Harrison Ellenshaw

Harrison Ellenshaw (visual effects supervisor on TRON) will discuss the creative implications of computer graphics in narrative film. Topics may include:

  • Has the 'digital revolution' made films better or worse?
  • The myths and realities of CG.
  • How will future technology impact our perception of visual entertainment?
  • What are the promises yet to be fulfilled?
  • Why is Hollywood so out of touch?
  • What are the next significant 'steps' in the film, television, web and gaming world?

Harrison's presentations are compelling and sometimes a bit controversial. Don't miss this opportunity to hear from a, at times, very opinionated and very experienced veteran of the film and effects business.


Sunday - January 25, 11:15 AM
KaBOOM! The Extremely Exciting World of Practical Effects
with Rory Cutler & Wayne Szybunka

Join Wayne and Rory for an hour of practical fun and a discussion of some of the hows and whys of using practical effects in filmmaking today. How do practical effects fit into the film making process, and what can you do to create a successful marriage between the practical and the digital? How do you plan your in camera work to cooperate with your post work? What are some of the things that it just makes more sense to do in camera? Expect some live examples of movie making magic! WARNING: Some seats will be blocked off for safety during this event.

Sunday - January 25, 1:30 PM
Under Pressure: How to Do a Creative Job Without Going Nuts
with Mark Coleran

It isn't easy being a creative. From the very nature of our work, to the environment in which we do it, there are numerous challenges that we face on top of the creative work we do.

What are the problems we face and what are some of the possible solutions?

After working in graphic and motion design for almost 20 years. Mark Coleran has encountered a great many of the challenges that creatives face, day to day. This session will take a lighthearted but truthful look at some of those challenges and a few of the possible solutions to deal with them. Everything from state of mind to the state of business.

Sponsored by

Gridiron Software

Sunday - January 25, 3:15 PM
Water, Water Everywhere: From Poseidon to Benjamin Button
with Mark Stasiuk

In the technical world of computer-generated effects, one of the toughest areas has always been digital water. It's a common element in movies and often has a major role in the plot. But it has generally been so incredibly difficult and expensive to create, that only the biggest VFX studios with large R&D teams and proprietary technologies could manufacture it. However, since around 2005, with the advent of faster, multicore desktop computers and the availability of high quality off-the-shelf dynamic simulation software like RealFlow, even small studios can drink deep from the well. We'll take you on a journey from the first large-scale application of this technology in Poseidon through more advanced recent work in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to the current technological edge of abstract art-directed water and pyro-technical effects.

Sponsored by


Sunday - January 25, 5:00 PM
History of Visual Effects
The Story of Man, Art & Technology
with Keith Blackmore

It's often said that you can't know where you are going until you know where you've been and this is especially true of the ever-changing visual effects industry. Visual effects history runs concurrent with film's and is equally vibrant. But the story of visual effects is really about the inventors, the innovators, and the technology they developed over time. Major breakthroughs in visual effects from the earliest crude efforts to today's greatest achievements will be examined.



Thursday - January 22, 5:00 PM
Pipedreams: In Search of the Perfect Production Solution
moderator: Dave Fracchia with Tim Belsher, Troy Brooks, Anthony Brown, Leo Chan & Doug Smith

From the simple "stop trick" effect in The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots (1895) to the seamless CG wizardry in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), advances in technology have been a predominant driving force in the creation of special effects. The VFX pipeline has changed dramatically over the last century, from a specialized post-production process to one broader in scope, spanning all phases of production. These changes have had a profound impact on artistic vision and storytelling, production process, budgets, final product and culture. This technical panel will discuss the current state of the VFX pipeline and where it is headed. There will be no equations.


Friday - January 23, 5:00 PM
Flesh: Bringing Characters to Life
moderator: Paul Griffin with George Borshukov, Paul Debevec, Christophe Hery, Caleb J. Howard & Gordon Smith

When it comes to generating convincing and compelling digital actors, especially photo-realistic human beings, the devil is in the details. How does the fat move, and what effect do the muscles have on the form? How does the complexion change and react to the environment and emotions? What makes an eye human? How does the light play off and penetrate the skin? What sorts of micro-movements are required to breathe life into the character? Join our panel of experts for a discussion of the devilish details that go into making a believable human as they examine approaches to modeling, texturing, rigging, animating and rendering the most familiar and intimate of subjects in our world - us.


Saturday - January 24, 5:00 PM
Visual Effects in Vancouver
moderator: Jason Dowdeswell with Michael Adkisson, Chris Harvey, Ivan Hayden, Winston Helgason & Shawn Walsh

As the digital age of visual effects enters its third decade, the City of Vancouver has positioned itself as one of the few destinations for creating and delivering digital effects on a grand scale. Currently, that capacity and talent is spread across a collection of boutique effects facilities, each with its own unique pieces of the puzzle – a community that is growing without the benefit of a Peter Jackson or a Ridley Scott to help foster local work. What will the future bring to Vancouver's effects community, and what will the community bring to the future? Join our panel stacked full of local studio leaders, for a lively discussion on the evolving state of visual effect production in Vancouver: how we started and how we'll continue to support the creative process.

Sponsored by



Andre Bustanoby
Visual Effects Supervisor / MASTERSFX
(Waterworld, Titanic, Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow, Fantastic Four...)

Andre Bustanoby is an 18 year veteran visual effects artist and a graduate of Washington State University (Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, 1990). Even before graduation, he traveled to Los Angeles during summer breaks and worked on Look Who's Talking and The Hunt for Red October.

Upon graduation, he joined MastersFX as an Animatronics Engineer and contributed to the effects of both The Howling 6 and Tales from the Crypt, where he also played the main werewolf in both. Late in 1990, he moved over to Boss Film Studios as a Design Engineer and worked on several projects like Alien 3, Batman Returns, Cliffhanger, Waterworld, Species and Multiplicity.

In late 1995, he headed to Digital Domain and contributed Performance Capture work to The Island of Dr. Moreau, Michael Jackson's Ghosts, Nike's CG Andre Agassi and Titanic. After making his Visual Effects Supervisor feature debut on Lake Placid, he then moved over to the commercial division and worked on many projects winning a Silver CLIO for Best Animation, in 2001, for Iomega Pool.

Late in 2001, he began building a new digital division at Stan Winston Studio contributing work on such feature film projects as Terminator 3, Cat in the Hat, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Fantastic Four and Eight Below.

In 2005, he moved over to Brain Zoo Studios where he supervised Visual Effects on such game projects as Lost Planet, Mercs2 and commercials Star Wars Lego and Destroy all Humans 3.

Returning to MastersFX, Bustanoby looks forward to merging the tools and techniques of both the analog and digital mediums in service of good storytelling.


Anthony Brown
Managing Director of Business Development / Seven Group

Anthony Brown is the Managing Director of Business Development at Seven Group, a data management solutions company that has had great success developing and deploying render farms and production pipelines. His role at Seven Group is to recognize and develop markets which fit well with their core competencies, and to develop and manage their sales team while continuing to maintain and build their vendor relationships.


Caleb J. Howard
Technical Director / EA
(True Lies, Mystery Men, Beowulf...)

Born and raised on the Canadian prairies, Caleb started his career at Side Effects Software in Toronto before moving to the US in the early 90's to join the animation gold rush that followed Jurassic Park. He now works in Vancouver, BC where he lives with his wife and daughter.


Chris Harvey
Facility, VFX Supervisor & Head of 3D / Frantic VFX
(Superman, X-Men 3, Journey to the Center of the Earth...)

Chris Harvey is VFX Supervisor and Head of 3D for Frantic Films VFX. With practical knowledge and real world experience working on prestigious Visual Effects sequences (in films such as Superman, X-Men 3, The Fantastic Four Series and the groundbreaking Journey to the Center of the Earth), Chris has garnered an unparalleled level of expertise.

Having worked at leading edge facilities such as Digital Dimension, DreamWorks and Relic Entertainment, Chris has familiarized himself with the inner hierarchy of both the visual effects and games industry. And his passion for creature work has driven many facets of his skill set, enabling him to hone his rigging and visual effects skills while simultaneously working as a technical director.

As an industry leader, Chris is often called upon to share his insights at events and educational facilities across the globe. Additionally, he actively contributes to the 3D studio Max community, sharing several tools he has authored with his peers and colleagues.


Christophe Hery
R&D Principle Engineer / ILM
(Spawn, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Iron Man...)
Academy Award - Technical Achievement

Christophe Hery joined ILM in 1993 as a senior technical director, and quickly moved on to become a computer graphics supervisor. Since 2000, as a research and development lead, Hery has been supporting the facility's shaders and providing rendering guidance. In 2003, Hery was the recipient of a Technical Achievement Award for the development of practical methods for rendering skin and other translucent materials using subsurface scattering techniques.


Dave Fracchia
Studio CTO / Radical Entertainment

Dave is Vice President of Technology at Radical Entertainment and Adjunct Professor in the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University.

Prior to this he served as Vice President of Technology at Mainframe Entertainment from 1997-2007 and Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University from 1992 to 2000. He has authored over 45 journal and conference papers in the areas of computer graphics and scientific visualization and is a member of ACM SIGGRAPH, IGDA, and AIAS.


Dennis Hoffman
Senior Vice President & General Manager / CIS Vancouver
(Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Bulletproof Monk...)

Dennis Hoffman first joined CIS Vancouver as Head of Production, where he was responsible for the oversight of all visual effects projects and production resources. With the purchase of CIS Vancouver by Deluxe, Dennis was appointed Senior Vice President and General Manager in charge of the overall strategic planning and management of operations. Prior to, as a 20-year production veteran, Hoffman held stints at Digital Domain and Cinesite as Head of Production, Dream Quest Images as a feature Executive Producer, and Image G as a commercial Executive Producer. At Digital Domain, he oversaw the feature film division, including budgeting, client relations and strategic planning. At Cinesite, Hoffman was responsible for managing the 2D, 3D, TD and Art departments. His credits include The Rock, Flags of Our Fathers and a number of visual effects Oscar-nominees including Armageddon and Mighty Joe Young.


Dennis Muren
Senior VFX Supervisor / ILM
(Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, The Abyss, most Start Wars films...)
Winner of 9 Academy Awards

Dennis Muren is the Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic. Recipient of eight Academy Awards for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, Muren is actively involved in the evolution of the company, as well as the design and development of new techniques and equipment. In June 1999, Muren became the first visual effects artist to be honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is currently finishing a book on Inspiration & Observation for computer artists.


Doug Smith
Visual Effects Department Head / VanArts
(Exorcist:The Beginning, Outlander...)

Doug Smith has over 20 years experience in digital production and visual effects supervision for film, TV and multimedia, ranging from 3D character animation and pipeline design to compositing, large-format film and academics. Using the first PC-based 3D animation system, he worked on the first digital photo-real Star Trek ships, the first motion capture in a commercial and the first digital IMAX composites. His more recent work includes CG supervision and pipeline design on the Exorcist: The Beginning and Outlander films and the Tomb Raider VII game, as well as projects with M&M/Mars, Franchise Pictures, Fox Television and Saban, and staff positions with Dreamquest Images, Disney, Modern VideoFilm and BOSS Film Studios, where he co-chaired the Character Animation Research Group. His academic credentials include a stint as Visual Effects Supervisor at Vancouver Film School and his current position as Visual Effects Department Head at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts). By staying awake 24 hours a day, he also finds time to do software development, technical writing, industrial design and new media work with clients like Panoram Tech, Zoic, Egg Inc., Cryoport Systems, Coriolis Press, Adobe Systems and RE:Vision. Doug is a member of SIGGRAPH, SMPTE, and the Visual Effects Society (VES).


Dylan Cole
Matte Painter & Concept Artist / Dylan Cole Studio
(The Golden Compass, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King...)

Dylan Cole is a southern California native who began drawing at an early age. Early interests in comic books and sci-fi illustration eventually led him to an obsession with matte painting. After graduating from UCLA and an influential internship at ILM, he got his start with a brief stint at Illusion Arts on Time Machine. Smaller jobs as a matte painter and concept artist led to him working at Rhythm & Hues on Daredevil.

He then left his native California to go to New Zealand to be a senior matte painter on Return of the King for Weta Digital. Dylan was in New Zealand for almost a year and contributed to many of the films epic environments, such as Mordor and Mt. Doom. He returned to the US as Lead Matte Painter on The Chronicles of Riddick for Rhythm & Hues, where he transitioned to Visual Effects Art Director on The Ring 2. Dylan has since switched to freelance matte painting on many different films including, I, Robot, The Aviator, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Superman Returns, and The Golden Compass. Dylan has also balanced his matte painting with concept work, working for more than a year on James Cameron's Avatar, and most recently Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. His latest matte paintings can be seen in the upcoming films, 2012, G.I. Joe and The Road.

Dylan enjoys teaching workshops at various events and schools around the world and has a line of instructional dvds from the Gnomon Workshop. He was also one of the co-authors of Ballistic's d'artiste: Matte Painting.


George Borshukov
Director of Creative R&D / EA SPORTS
(The Matrix Trilogy, What Dreams May Come, MI2...)
Academy Technical Award Winner: Image-based rendering in The Matrix

George Borshukov worked on various aspects of the Bullet Time sequences in The Matrix, and received an Academy Scientific and Technical Achievement Award for the image-based environment rendering technology used in the film and other projects. George led the development of photo-real digital actors for The Matrix sequels, and received a Visual Effect Society (VES) Award for the design and application of the Universal Capture system in these films. George also contributed to What Dreams May Come, for which he develop optical flow tools that helped create the painterly effects. More recently at Electronic Arts he has worked on photo-realistic rendering and animation of interactive human characters including Tiger Woods. Currently, as Director of Creative R&D for EA SPORTS he is leading a team focused on expanding the label's brand and its interactive entertainment offerings through innovation in hi-fidelity graphics and emerging forms of interactivity.


Gordon Smith
Special Make-Up FX Designer & Technology Pioneer / FXSmith
(Platoon, X-Men, X2...)

Gordon Smith is creatively known for his work with Oliver Stone on films like Platoon and J.F.K. and on the other side of the scale with films like Jacobs Ladder and the X-MEN. He and his colleges at FXSMITH Inc. pioneered and developed the State of the Art prosthetic technology used in both the film and medical industries today. He continues to break new ground now in the music industry with an all new global production, distribution, marketing and sales enterprise called Hippo.


Harrison Ellenshaw
VFX Artist & Designer
(Star Wars, TRON, Dick Tracy...)

Harrison Ellenshaw has spent over 30 years in visual effects and film, working on such films as Star Wars, The Black Hole, The Empire Strikes Back, Superman IV, Dick Tracy and most notably, Tron. He first started in the business as a matte artist at Walt Disney Studios, then joined George Lucas' premier effects facility, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), creating a number of matte paintings for Star Wars, and overseeing the matte department on The Empire Strikes Back. Later, upon his return to Disney in 1989 for Dick Tracy, Harrison headed Disney Studios' own highly regarded effects facility: Buena Vista Visual Effects (BVVE). Harrison has been nominated for an Academy Award® along with his father, Peter Ellenshaw, for special visual effects work on The Black Hole. He is also member of AMPAS, BAFTA and is a founding director of the VES.


Ivan Hayden
President / Visual Effects Association of BC
(Stargate SG-1, Andromeda, Lost, Supernatural...)

Ivan originally trained as a 3d animator, switching to supervision early in his career. With a decade of television and feature credits, Ivan is currently completing his fourth season supervising the series Supernatural, and third season running the show's in-house visual effects facility.


Jason Dowdeswell
Studio Head / CIS Vancouver
(Starship Troopers, The Da Vinci Code, Tropic Thunder...)

Jason Dowdeswell facilitates the creative and technical direction of visual effects production, including new technology implementation at CIS Vancouver. He first joined the company as a supervisor after gathering more than a decade's worth of artist experience at acclaimed studios including Industrial Light & Magic, Imageworks and Boss Films. His credits include films such as True Lies, Starship Troopers, Godzilla, Stuart Little, Star Wars: Episode II, Jurassic Park III, The Da Vinci Code, Night at the Museum, Blades of Glory, Tropic Thunder, Twilight and Changeling.


Jeff Barnes
CEO & Producer / CafeFX
(Pan's Labyrinth, Iron Man, Sin City...)

When the harsh world of the Spanish Civil War becomes too horrific to bear in director Guillermo del Toro's visually rich and complex Pan's Labyrinth, young Ofelia escapes inward, finding in her imagination the power to heal her real-world wounds. Challenged to create the mythical creatures and landscapes of Ofelia's fantasy, CafeFX embarked on an artistic and technical journey spanning four months of location shooting and five months of post production. Seamlessly uniting the real world horrors with Ofelia's fantastic universe, CafeFX brought reality to the dream, creating a curious stick bug, faeries, a giant toad, a baby in the womb, and an infant-like mandrake root, while augmenting both the title character and our heroine's nemesis, the Pale Man. In addition, artists tracked, rotoscoped, composited and painted hundreds of practical and digital elements to create the throne room, labyrinth, rock wall and womb environments, creating a dark and earthy realism that contributed to the film's three Academy Awards, three BAFTA awards and six Goya awards.


Keith Blackmore
Educator & Historian

A former teacher in public speaking Keith Blackmore has been a passionate teacher of animation film studies at Vancouver Film School since 1995. Utilizing films from his extensive personal collection, Keith's classes are famously entertaining and educational. He has also taught Animation History at ECUAD and Van Arts and has been a guest lecturer at festivals and studios around Vancouver. In addition to teaching he works as a documentary film maker. Currently he is working on a documentary about conscience objectors interned in Canada during WWII.

Ken A. Priebe
Instructor / VanArts
Author of The Art of Stop-Motion Animation

Ken Priebe earned a BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art & Design, majoring in film & animation. He has worked as a 2D animator for several children's games and short films for Thunderbean Animation and Bigfott Studios. Ken has developed curriculum and taught stop-motion animation at Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) and for the Academy of Art University Cybercampus. He is also an independent filmmaker, writer, puppeteer, animation history fanatic and author of the book The Art of Stop-Motion Animation.


Leo Chan
Technical Director / EA Canada
(Blade II, The Wild...)

Leo is responsible for the technical art production for all the titles produced at the EA Burnaby studio including NHL, FIFA, NBA Live and Fight Night. He has 15 years of industry experience in all aspects of technical CG production. His code is in shipping tools such as Houdini, Maya and PowerAnimator. His technology, pipeline and workflow results are in feature films such as The Wild and Blade II.

Leo finds great joy in emerging creative processes enabled by digital technologies and collaborative infrastructure. Leo combines a life-long love for music, painting and drawing with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Waterloo to bridge the gap between technologists and artists. After hours, he creates new media art installations and interactive animation performances including pieces shown at the San Francisco MOMA and in the permanent collection at the Ontario Science Centre.


Mark Coleran
Visual Designer / GridIron Software
(Children of Men, The Island, The Bourne Identity...)

Mark Coleran is a visual designer working in film & television. Having originally come from a print background as a Graphic Designer, Mark has been designing and producing motion graphics for the film and television industries for the past 10 years. His clients and jobs have been as diverse as the BBC to Cartoon Network, creating titles and network identities, to the creation of computer screen graphics for feature films such as The Bourne Ultimatum, Déjà Vu, The Island, Children of Men and Mission Impossible 3 amongst others. Mark is currently working with GridIron Software in Canada, creating interfaces for a new generation of creative tools.


Mark Stasiuk
Co-founder & CG Supervisor / Fusion CI Studios
(Poseidon, The Guardian, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button...)

Mark has developed highly efficient proprietary methodologies for creating complex, photo-real fluid & particle fx and has custom designed his studio's fluid fx pipeline for maximum efficiency and creativity.

Mark has a PhD in geophysical fluid mechanics and has worked for 20 years in fluid dynamics. This gives him a unique advantage in the world of computer generated fluid fx as he has a deep understanding of the physics of fluid behaviour - an understanding that began with traveling the world, studying volcanic eruptions for a living! Mark's drive to simulate the repercussions of a volcanic eruption led to his current status as a world expert in Realflow. He's has been a devoted user since RF2.

Mark works closely with the engineers at Next Limit (creators of Realflow) to constantly improve the software and resolve production issues. His python scripting was instrumental in moving Realflow from version 3 to 4, and he wrote the scripting guide in the RF4 user guide. He's currently advising Next Limit as they develop RF5. Mark has also created a number of tutorials for Next Limit’s website and has given workshops across the US to studios such as Disney Animation and Blue Sky Studios on Realflow use.

Because of Mark's international reputation as a RealFlow expert and artist, Fusion CI Studios has an accomplished record in creating a wide range of outstanding fluid & particle fx, from large-scale, multi-million particle ocean surfaces with cresting waves, foam & spray for feature film, to dancing and swirling fluids in television commercials.


Marshall Krasser
Associate Visual Effects Supervisor / ILM
(War of the Worlds, Titanic, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back...)
2 Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards

Marshall Krasser is a graduate of Southwest Missouri State University, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with an emphasis in graphic design. In 1994, he joined Industrial Light & Magic as a digital rotoscoper on Casper. Since then, he transitioned into the roles of Digital Compositor (on such films as Mission Impossible, Twister, Titanic, and Snake Eyes), Lead Digital Compositor (Small Soldiers, The Mummy), and Compositing Supervisor (on such films as Pearl Harbor, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Hulk, War of the Worlds, Lady in the Water, and Evan Almighty). He shares two Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards, "Best Single Visual Effects of the Year" and "Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture", for his work on War of the Worlds (2005). Most recently, he was Associate Visual Effects Supervisor on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.


Michael Adkisson
Lead Compositor / MPC
(Æon Flux, Outlander, Mars Attacks!...)

Michael began his visual effects career in 1995 at Warner Digital, moving on to Digital Domain, Digital Dimension and Pixel Magic in Los Angeles, and then Spin VFX, Rainmaker Digital and MPC in Vancouver; his career has spanned everything from traditional opticals to full CG visual effects compositing and film chain supervision, in formats from 16mm to IMAX. Since joining MPC in March 2008, he has composited on Watchmen and is currently working on Surrogates. His past credits include such films as Mars Attacks!, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, The Last Samurai, Æon Flux, and Kinsey.


Paul Debevec
Associate Director of Graphics Research / Institute for Creative Technology, USC
(Peter Jackson's King Kong, Spider-Man II & III, Superman Returns...)

Paul Debevec is a research associate professor at the University of Southern California and the associate director of graphics research at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies. Debevec's Ph.D. thesis (UC Berkeley, 1996) presented Façade, an image-based modeling and rendering system for creating photoreal architectural models from photographs. Using Facade he led the creation of virtual cinematography of the Berkeley campus for his 1997 film The Campanile Movie whose techniques were used to create virtual backgrounds in the 1999 film The Matrix. Subsequently, Debevec developed techniques for illuminating computer-generated scenes with real-world lighting captured through high dynamic range photography, demonstrating new image-based lighting techniques in his films Rendering with Natural Light (1998), Fiat Lux (1999), and The Parthenon (2004); he also led the design of HDR Shop, the first widely-used high dynamic range image editing program. At USC ICT, Debevec has led the development of a series of Light Stage devices for capturing and simulating how objects and people reflect light, recently used to create realistic digital actors in films such as Spider-Man 2 and Superman Returns. He is the recipient of ACM SIGGRAPH's first Significant New Researcher Award and a co-author of the 2005 book High Dynamic Range Imaging from Morgan Kaufmann.


Paul Griffin
Executive Producer / The Vortex Project
(El Laberinto del fauno, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King...)

Paul Griffin is a graduate of the Sheridan College Classical Animation Program. He was among the first of traditional animators to enter the world of computer generated animation, receiving a Bachelor of Science from the New York Institute of Technology, and later working at the Computer Graphics Laboratory in Old Westbury, NY.

An early adopter of CGI animation, Paul has worked as an animator, director and producing supervisor for some of the most prestigious studios in the world, including Industrial Light and Magic and Weta Digital, NZ, as well as for some of the greatest directors, including Peter Jackson on Lord of the Rings and King Kong, and George Lucas on Star Wars.

Recently, Paul was the Facial Animation Supervisor on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, directed by David Fincher.

Some of his TV commercial work is part of the permanent video collection at the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Paul's many projects have allowed him to travel the globe with his wife of 27 years, Laurie. They are now settled in the Vancouver area, where Paul provides his services to a variety of studios.


Rory Cutler
Special Effects Coordinator
(Juno, Blade: Trinity, Everything's Gone Green...)


Shane Mahan
Effects Supervisor / Legacy Effects
(Iron Man, Big Fish, Terminator 2: Judgment Day...)

Shane Mahan grew up in a small town and dreamed of working on horror films. "The first images from a film that I remember as a child are from King Kong. From there on I was fascinated by horror and sci-fi books, paintings, and movies. I also had a strong desire to learn all I could about art since it seemed to go hand in hand with helping me to create monsters."

Shane moved to California during the effects boom of the early 1980s. He attended a school that specialized in film makeup and animatronics in addition to taking sculpting lessons from a portrait master. Shortly after completion, he began working at various effects studios around Hollywood, ultimately landing on the steps of Stan Winston Studio.

Shane's first film for Stan Winston Studio was The Terminator, for which he served as Key Sculptor. Thus began a long list of projects he created, coordinated, or supervised effects for, such as Aliens, Edward Scissorhands, Jurassic Park, Galaxy Quest and Big Fish, to name but a few.

Shane's diverse talents and skills earned him the title of Co-Producer on HBO's Creature Features, where he designed and coordinated several episodes, and lent his experience and vast knowledge of classic horror films to produce and further enhance the series.

Most recently, Shane supervised suit construction for, G.I. Joe, as well as the design and creation of the physical suits for 2008's box office smash, Iron Man. Having most recently completed work on Terminator 4 and Pandorum, Shane and studio are prepping for their next epic adventure with Iron Man 2.

As a brilliantly talented innovator it's no surprise that prior to his passing Stan would chose him, with three other partners, to carry on his legacy.


Shawn Walsh
VFX Executive Producer / Image Engine
(The Matrix: Revolutions, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium...)

Shawn joined Image Engine as an episodic Digital Effects Supervisor on Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis in late 2005, transitioned into the position of Visual Effects Supervisor for the newly established feature film visual effects division in early 2006, and is currently Visual Effects Executive Producer. Since joining the studio Shawn has shown his expertise in the crucial areas of overall production method, client relations, and bidding.The Walshman as friends and colleagues know him, comes to Image Engine after spending several years abroad working at such venerable visual effects studios as Rhythm and Hues, The Moving Picture Company and ESC Entertainment. During this time away from Vancouver Shawn contributed to such notable films as The Matrix: Revolutions, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Kingdom of Heaven, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, as a Senior Lighting Technical Director and Compositor.

Shawn is an active member of The Visual Effects Society and has recently provided on-set visual effects supervision to the following films: Chilled in Miami, Lost Boys: The Tribe, & Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.


Tim Belsher
Sequence Supervisor / Image Engine Design Inc.
(Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, War of the Worlds, Escape from Planet Earth...)

Tim Belsher is currently a Sequence Supervisor at Image Engine Design Inc. Prior to this he worked at Rainmaker Animation as a CG Supervisor on their CG feature Escape from Planet Earth and at Vanguard Animation as the Lead Lighting TD on Space Chimps. He worked at Industrial Light + Magic as a CG Software Engineer and Technical Director from 2002 to 2006. His credits at ILM include Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, War of the Worlds and Poseidon. Tim started his career as a Technical Lead/Software Developer at Mainframe Entertainment Inc.


Todd Masters
President / MASTERSFX
(A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child, Stargate SG-1, Headless Horseman...)

A founding board member of the Visual Effects Society, he's received international awards for his makeup effects, directing and visual effects work. Todd Masters started his film career early, at the age of 12, as an animation assistant on a sex-educational film. As he quickly grew-up, his deep voice & youthful pace got him working in optical effects, graphics and monster-building... all before his senior year of high school.

By 18, he moved to Hollywood and was immediately involved in a myriad of early genre classics: Big Trouble in Little China, Poltergeist II, Predator, The Lost Boys, Twilight Zone, Night of the Creeps... After several years of assisting in both makeup effects and visual effects, he set-out to start his own company that would blur Hollywood's distinction between FX techniques.

Now, more than two decades later, Todd's company, MASTERSFX is a leader in motion pictures & television FX, with two studios in Los Angeles and Vancouver, British Columbia. He over-sees many talented and diverse teams, and is involved in each project's design and FX, contributing to hundreds of projects over the years, including Nightmare on Elm Street 5, Look Who's Talking, Six Feet Under, The Horse Whisperer, What Dreams May Come, Tales from the Crypt, SLiTHER, Stargate SG-1, Star Trek: First Contact... Currently, in theatres: Day the Earth Stood Still, While She Was Out, and Marley & Me... and True Blood, Big Love, Dexter, Sanctuary, Eureka & Stargate: Atlantis on the tube. Coming out in 2009: Haunting in Connecticut, New Daughter, 2012 and many more...


Troy Brooks
Co-founder & CEO / PipelineFX
(Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Animatrix...)

Troy is a co-founder and CEO of PipelineFX and heads technology development and strategy. Troy also provides consulting to film and game studios on pipeline workflow and the deployment of Qube! for render farm management and distributed game build functions. Prior to co-founding PipelineFX, Troy served as Production Systems Supervisor at Square Pictures, managing development of queuing software for Square's film projects, and contributing to Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and the short film Animatrix for the makers of The Matrix. He has previously designed and developed queuing systems at Mainframe Entertainment in Vancouver, B.C. Troy received his BS in Computer Science from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C.


Wayne Szybunka
Special Effects Coordinator
(Masters of Horror, Blade: Trinity, X2, Romeo Must Die...)


Winston Helgason
President & CG Supervisor / The Embassy Visual Effects
(Iron Man, Max Q, Terminus...)

As one of the initial co-founders of The Embassy in 2002, Winston's 20+ years as a skilled artist has been recognized by D&AD, Clio and Cannes wins, and an Emmy nomination. He recently VFX supervised sequences on Marvel's hugely successful feature Iron Man.


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