SPARK FX '13
Celebrating Innovation & Inspiration
January 30 - February 3, 2013
Conference: February 1 & 2, 2013
Job Fair: February 1 & 2, 2013
Festival: January 30 - February 3, 2013
Join us for the last two days of SPARK FX '13!
Saturday hosts a wealth of conference talks including a talk by pioneering visual effects supervisor, Bill Taylor, who is receiving this year's John Bonner Award for technical achievement from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.
If you're ready for more talks by the leading talents and minds of the visual effects industry and you'd like to meet and mingle with some of these amazing luminaries in the visual effects industry, come to the Vancity theater and join us.
Follow us on twitter and facebook for up to the minute information about what's going on and who's on stage.
We hope to see you there.
Friday - February 1, 9:00 AM
The Hobbit: Sampling the Real to Create the Digital
with Gino Acevedo
Textures Supervisor and Creative Art Director Gino Acevedo will discuss how Weta Digital was able to get the incredible textures and unique design looks for the creatures and environments of the Hobbit. Gino's background in practical effects has given him a unique perspective and helped him pioneer new techniques like skin scans for creating extraordinarily detailed and realistic textures. He will talk about how these were put to the test on The Hobbit's vast range of creatures, digital doubles and key environments.
© 2012 · New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.
Friday - February 1, 11:00 AM
The Making of Life of Pi: Above All... It's Important Not to Lose Hope
with Erik-Jan de Boer
Erik-Jan de Boer started working on Life of Pi in late 2010. Over the course of the next two-plus years, he helped create the 'unfilmable' with his team of animators at Rhythm & Hues. Together they succeeded in creating a convincing and naturalistic performance of a tiger that shares long periods of screen time with a live-action actor. This achievement has garnered a 2013 Oscar® nomination for Best Visual Effects. Erik-Jan will present some never-before-shown materials and some fun 'making-of' clips. Very few VFX artists can claim to have survived so long, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.
© 2012 · Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
Friday - February 1, 1:00 PM
Creating the Impossible: Bending the Laws of Physics to Tell the Story
with Ian Hunter
Join Visual Effects Supervisor Ian Hunter as he explains how to create spectacular story-driven effects. Using examples from The Dark Knight, Inception, and The Dark Knight Rises, Ian will show how challenging, complex, and physically demanding shots and scenes get dissected and solved through the use of innovative and simple processes. This presentation will provide attendees with insights on how the latest digital technologies support and enhance some of the most effective and time-honoured practical and photographic techniques, resulting in effects that manage to be both believable and mind-blowing.
© 2012 · Warner Bros. All Rights Reserved.
Friday - February 1, 3:00 PM
Halo 4: The VFX of Forward Unto Dawn
with John E. Sullivan
Visual Effects Supervisor and Producer, John E. Sullivan will provide an overview of the process and challenge of creating quality visual effects for the web series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. This groundbreaking digital production tells an exciting story of heroism and sacrifice on a scale never before seen in the "Halo" universe, taking fans back to the beginning of the human and Covenant war, and leading into the events of the game "Halo 4."
© 2012 · Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Friday - February 1, 5:00 PM
Prometheus: Engineering Alien Worlds
with Matt Middleton
MPC CG Supervisor Matt Middleton will present an overview of approaches taken for MPC's Academy Award® nominated work on Ridley Scott's Prometheus, with a focus on the build of the Prometheus Ship, the Juggernaut ship and the Alien Planet LV-223.
© 2012 · Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
Saturday - February 2, 9:00 AM
Wreck-it Ralph: Wrecking & Rocking the Worlds of Look, Lighting & EFX, Ralph Style
with Brian Leach & Cesar Velazquez
Associate Director of Look and Lighting Brian Leach and Effects Supervisor Cesar Velazquez share the artistic and technical skills required to overcome the challenge of creating distinctive looks for the numerous worlds featured in the film Wreck-It Ralph — including the 8-bit world of "Fix-it Felix Jr.", the first-person action game "Hero's Duty", and the candy-coated cart racing game "Sugar Rush". Brian will reveal the research and development that went into creating the "look" of these three worlds including the cinematography board, foundation lighting techniques, the use of new material shaders, and the relationship between lighting and layout. Cesar will cover the creation of the effects element for the video game worlds and the stylistic rules for each, including the use of traditional hand drawn technique in their pipeline. Join them in this entertaining talk on how they helped create these unique worlds and the unexpected discoveries along the way.
© 2012 · Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Saturday - February 2, 11:00 AM
The Reality Behind the Illusion: The Business of VFX
with Scott Ross & Dennis Hoffman
Scott Ross, Founder and former CEO of Digital Domain, former SVP of Lucas Arts Entertainment, and former General Manager of ILM will comment on the current state of the visual effects industry. This dynamic and charismatic executive will provide an overview on the changes in visual effects since its re-emergence in the 1970's. Scott will address the problems with the current visual effects business model, and the impact rapidly changing technology has had on the business side of the industry. He will also comment on the effects of globalization, the value of tax incentives, and the role unions should play in visual effects. These and many other issues will be explored in this timely and intimate conversation between two visual effects veterans, Scott Ross and SPARK FX Conference Chair Dennis Hoffman.
© 1997 · Titanic · Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.
copy; 2008 · The Curious Case of Benjamin Button · Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
Saturday - February 2, 1:00 PM
Life of Pi: Riding Out the Storm
with Harry Mukhopadhyay & Jose Fernandez de Castro
This presentation will break down a number of shots created by the team at MPC for Ang Lee's Life of Pi. CG Supervisor Harry Mukhopadhyay and Lead Compositor Jose Fernandez de Castro will reveal how complex VFX shots drove the live action shoot and the creation of a spectacular digital hurricane for the Tsium Tsum sinking and Storm of God Sequences.
© 2012 · Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
Saturday - February 2, 3:00 PM
Calling the Shots: The Journey From VFX Supervisor to Director
with Eric Brevig & Hoyt Yeatman Jr.
What motivates a VFX supervisor to become a director? How did they land their first directing gig? What did they learn as a director? How has their VFX knowledge helped them in their directorial debut? What would they do differently? These are a few of the questions Eric Brevig and Hoyt Yeatman, two Academy Award® winning VFX supervisors, will answer when they share their experiences as directors on major motion pictures. They will reveal what it felt like to arrive on set as a director and share their thoughts on how they see the future for others who want to make the transition from visual effects to directing.
© 2008 · Journey to the Center of the Earth · New Line Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
© 2009 · G-Force · Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Saturday - February 2, 5:00 PM
The Art of Illusion: Merging the Imagined & the Real
with Bill Taylor
Visual effects is about creating an illusion and making it seem real. While the images on the screen are imagined, the bonds made behind the screen are real. Join Bill Taylor as he shares his story on how he got into "the business", the influence mentors had on his career, and the importance of collaborating well with others, especially in an industry where "who you know" is as important as what you know. Bill co-founded Illusion Arts, one of the most respected visual effects specialist facility in the industry, with his colleague VFX Supervisor/Matte Artist Syd Dutton. Over the company's 26-year history, they provided thousands of VFX shots for over 200 films and worked with many great talents. Bill will share how he overcame challenges on the job and the life-long connections made along the way.
© 1993 · The Age of Innocence · Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
© 2012 · First In Flight · American Film Institute. All Rights Reserved.
Saturday - February 2, 7:30 PM
VFX of The Hobbit: Fantastical Creatures & Lands of Epic Beauty & Darkness
with Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, R. Christopher White & Dave Clayton
Oscar® nominees Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White will provide a detailed look at the visual effects for The Hobbit. They will talk about the impact of working in 48fps stereo and what that meant for the artists across the facility. The team will also discuss the amazing array of creatures in The Hobbit, including the rebuilding of Gollum from the inside out, as well as the gloriously disgusting Goblin King, trolls, eagles, Azog and more. The presentation will also cover new tools developed during the show before delving deeply into set extensions and CG environments from Hobbiton and Rivendell, to the Goblin Caverns and the many forests of Middle Earth.
© 2012 · New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.
Saturday - February 2, 9:30 PM
Closing Industry Mixer
From 9:30 PM to 12:00 AM
Complimentary drinks & snacks
Where? Atrium @amp; Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour Street (near Davie)
Sorry, no minors.
Wednesday - January 30, 6:30 PM
2012 // USA // Dir.: Susan Frömke // 115 min. // BRD
English and French
Complete with soprano spillage, dangling Rhinemaidens, frayed tempers and frozen computers, Susan Frömke's fly-on-the-wall study of a glitch-filled, controversial opera production has more suspense and drama than any ten reality shows. In taking on Wagner's titanic Ring Cycle, superstar Canadian theatre director Robert Lepage should have known what he was getting into. The logistical requirements alone — 16 hours of musical drama, four stories over four nights, dragons, Rhinemaidens, tenors, carpenters, etc. — are staggering. But directors of Wagner's cycle must also come to terms with re-interpreting for contemporary audiences a work tainted by the composer's anti-Semitism and powerful associations with Hitler and Nazism.
New stagings of the work are expected to take all of this on board and more, and radical re-interpretation has become the norm. Lepage's bold solution is to design a special stage — nicknamed (without affection) "the machine" — with interlocking wooden elements that shift to create new spaces, from the bottom of the Rhine to the ruins of Valhalla. This structure, which recalls at different times the world's biggest game of Jenga and a Rubik's cube, is elegant in action but terrifying to work with — watching the statuesque soprano Deborah Voigt wipe out and somehow bounce back is only the most impressive moment of doughty professionalism in this revealing (if sometimes nerve-wracking) film. Wagner ain't for wimps.
"Simply the best documentary about the Met ever made." Film Journal
"Destined to be one of the classic documentaries about opera." Philadelphia Inquirer
"A rousing portrait of creative renewal and, specifically, the way in which — by attempting something daring and new in the face of an opera culture deeply invested in tradition — Lepage proves that classic art can survive and flourish in a marriage with modern technology and imagination." The Village Voice
© 2012 · The Metropolitan Opera. All Rights Reserved.
Wednesday - January 30, 8:45 PM
Mars et Avril
2012 // Canada // Dir.: Martin Villeneuve // 90 min. // DCP
French with English subtitles
Produced by Robert Lepage (who also costars — from the head up — as cosmologist and inventor Eugene Spaak), this stunning Quebec sci-fi is an eye-popping debut feature from graphic novelist and Cirque du Soleil alumnus Martin Villeneuve.
Set in a futuristic Montreal, with man on the eve of setting foot on Mars, the film is a love triangle involving a beautiful photographer, Avril (Caroline Dhavernas), a musician, Jacob (Jacques Languirand), and his friend Arthur (Paul Ahmarani) whose original instruments are inspired by the female form.
Proof that scifi doesn't have to be about clone wars, Mars et Avril is more concerned with music, love, and philosophy than rocket guns. But it also packs a sly wit — as well as extraordinary production design by the Belgian artist François Schuiten (The Golden Compass; Mr. Nobody). With music by Benoit Charest (The Triplets of Belleville).
"Mars et Avril is a mind muck. It's whacked. It also happens to be one of the most inspired films I've seen in quite some time." Brendan Kelly, Montreal Gazette
© 2012 · By Respective Owners. All Rights Reserved.
Thursday - January 31, 8:30 PM
The Thing (1982)
1982 // USA // Dir.: John Carpenter // 109 min. // DCP
Filmed in Stewart, British Columbia, John Carpenter's film is the second adaptation of John W Campbell's novella "Who Goes There?", previously filmed by Howard Hawks and Christian Newby in 1951 as "The Thing From Another World".
Set in American Antarctic research station, the film follows the discovery of a similar Norwegian site, the scene of some recent unexplained horrors that claimed the lives of everyone on the base. Records show that the Norwegians recently came across a UFO buried in the ice...
Legendary for the shocking creature fx created by Rob Bottin, the 1982 Thing is now widely perceived as a classic in its own right, one of the scariest films ever made.
"The Thing is one of [Carpenter's] greatest moments, creating a terrifying atmosphere of claustrophobia, suspense and paranoia. And Kurt Russell is as good as he's ever been, wearing one of the best beards in movie history." Total Film
© 1982 · Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Thursday - January 31, 10:30 PM
The Thing (2011)
2011 // USA, Canada // Dir.: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. // 103 min. // 35mm
Introduction by Fred Chapman
Although critics were predictably sniffy about this prequel to John Carpenter's film, it's worth remembering the critical reaction in 1982 was equally hostile, with most reviews looking back nostalgically to the 1951 Howard Hawks production "The Thing From Another World". It took about a decade before Carpenter's shocker was accepted as a landmark in modern horror.
Ingeniously devised to dovetail with events at the remote Norwegian Antarctic base, the latest 'Thing' begins with the discovery of a flying saucer under the ice. American paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) arrives to investigate and is shown the alien body that has been retrieved from the scene... A corpse that defrosts with a vengeance.
Showcasing top of the line visual effects by Image Engine, the Vancouver company best known for "District 9", "The Thing" is a tense, horrifying movie that pays respect to the past while embracing the brave new wave in fx work.
"It's full of chills and thrills and isolated Antarctic atmosphere and terrific Hieronymus Bosch creature effects, and if it winks genially at the plot twists of Carpenter's film, it never feels even a little like some kind of inside joke." Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com
© 2011 · By Respective Owners. All Rights Reserved.
Friday - February 1, 7:30 PM
2001: A Space Odyssey
1968 // UK, USA // Dir.: Stanley Kubrick // 141 min. // DCP
Based on Arthur C. Clarke's short story "The Sentinel", 2001: A Space Odyssey redefined the sci-fi genre. With its radical structure (a single cut elides 4 million years), scant dialogue and oblique narrative this was the first movie to emulate the philosophical seriousness of writers like Clarke and Philip K. Dick, and the first to see that special effects could become an integral component in the art form.
The film's pacing is deeply unfashionable (except in the art-house) but seen on the big screen it still holds up as a spellbindingly immersive experience. Made at the height of excitement around the space age — just a year before the first Moon landing — the movie combines a typically cold Kubrickian rationalism with a genuine sense of awe, mystery, and (often overlooked), beauty.
© 1968 · By Respective Owners. All Rights Reserved.
Friday - February 1, 11:00 PM
1973 // USA // Dir.: William Friedkin // 122 min. // DCP
40 years ago, William Friedkin's The Exorcist redefined screen terror with its slow but atmospheric build up mounting to a sustained crescendo of graphic, visceral horror. Audiences had never seen special effects like these before, and reacted with panic and revulsion — as if Satan himself was at loose in this film.
Thirteen-year-old Linda Blair is Regan, the movie-star daughter who is possessed by a demon, and whose body becomes a spiritual battleground. Even today, 40 years on, if you have never seen this movie before you have never seen anything that can match it for sheer unadulterated horror.
"A credible portrait of the modern, urban world ripped apart by an obscene, ancient evil... the graphic desecration of everything considered wholesome and good about the fading American Dream — the home, the family, the church, and, most shockingly, the child." Mark Kermode
© 1973 · By Respective Owners. All Rights Reserved.
Sunday - February 3, 1:00 PM
1924 // Germany // Dir.: Fritz Lang // 300 min. // BRD
The two-part, five-hour Die Nibelungen is a courageous and hallucinatory work, a film in which every single shot might alone endure as an exemplar of visual art. Its extraordinary set-pieces, archetypal themes, and unrestrained ambition have proven an inspiration for nearly every fantasy cycle that has emerged on-screen since — from Star Wars to The Lord of the Rings.
In Part One, Siegfried, the film's eponymous hero acquires the power of invincibility after slaying a dragon and bathing in the creature's blood. Later, an alliance through marriage between the hero and the royal clan of the Nibelungen turns treacherous, with Siegfried's sole weakness exploited. In Part Two, Kriemhild's Revenge Siegfried's widow travels to the remote land of the Huns to wed the monstrous Attila, and thereby enlist his forces in an act of vengeance that culminates in massacre, conflagration, and, under the auspices of Lang, one of the most exhilarating and terrifying end-sequences in all of cinema.
Adapted from the myth that served as the basis for Wagner's Ring cycle (though not an adaptation of the operas themselves), Lang's picture employs its own counterpoint through a systematic, viral series of deranged geometrical patterns and the arresting, kabuki-like quality of the actors' performances. The result is a film of startling expressionistic power, and a summit of Fritz Lang's artistry to rank beside Metropolis.
"It's too-faint praise to claim that Die Nibelungen is The Lord of the Rings of its time (J.R.R. Tolkien was apparently inspired by the Nibelungenlied, too), but that gives you some sense of all the scope, innovation, rousing razzle-dazzle, human emotion writ large, and cinematic virtuosity on proud display here. It's a huge, action-packed spectacle to rival those concocted by DeMille and Griffith, but with access to the bold, harsh, glacially-gleaming, tragically doomed finality of Northern-European myth. Once it's over, you'll be exhausted, emotionally drained, and already looking forward to the time you can experience the whole intensely involving, transporting, and devastating dream/nightmare once more." Mark Kermode
© 1924 · By Respective Owners. All Rights Reserved.
Sunday - February 3, 7:00 PM
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec
2010 // France // Dir.: Luc Besson // 107 min. // BRD
French with English Subtitles
Paris, 1911: When a pterodactyl hatches in a museum and begins terrorising the town, clueless detective Caponi (Lellouche) seeks the connection between the prehistoric menace, a mad old professor (Nercessian) conducting resurrection experiments and intrepid reporter Adèle Blanc-Sec (Bourgoin), whose pursuit of ancient artefacts is a desperate personal mission...
A whimsical, madcap action adventure romp in the spirit of Indiana Jones from the director of The Fifth Element, Nikita and Leon: The Professional.
"This is utterly delightful from start to finish, thanks to a witty script, gorgeous production design, enjoyably pacey direction and a wonderful performance from Louise Bourgoin. Highly recommended and one of the best films of the year. Don't leave before the end credits." Matthew Turner, This Is London
© 2010 · By Respective Owners. All Rights Reserved.
Sunday - February 3, 9:00 PM
2009 // France // Dir.: Jean-Pierre Jeunet // 105 min. // 35mm
French with English Subtitles
Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the wizard who gave us Amelie and Delicatessen conjures another buoyant medley of slapstick, whimsy and satire in this infinitely inventive contemporary fantasy.
Dany Boon (from Welcome to the Sticks) is Bazil, a video store clerk who takes a bullet to the head in a freak drive-by shooting mishap. He survives, but the doctors decide to leave the bullet in there, meaning that he could die at any moment. Released from hospital, he's jobless and penniless, but his luck changes when he falls in with Slammer (Jean-Pierre Mareille) who introduces him to an industrious group of salvage artists making their home in scrap heap beneath a Parisian underpath. It's a bohemian shelter where tables walk and you never know what contraption you might bump into next. The slightly damaged Bazil is another piece of junk to be reclaimed and put to renewed purpose.
"A fun-house of mirrors that is lovely to get lost in." Betsy Sharkey, LA Times
"Micmacs is like a Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd movie where everybody is Buster or Harold, yet they all work in harmony." Peter Howell, Toronto Star
© 2009 · By Respective Owners. All Rights Reserved.
VFX Supervisor, Cinematographer
Bill Taylor ASC is a Visual Effects Supervisor/Cinematographer. He began his visual effects career at the Ray Mercer Co, an old-line title and optical house, before working as a cameraman for long-time mentor and matte artist Albert Whitlock at Universal Studios. After Whitlock's retirement, Bill and his matte artist colleague, Syd Dutton, founded Illusion Arts Inc. where they supervised and executed the visual effects for nearly 200 films, including Bruce Almighty and Casanova. His recent credits as Visual Effects Supervisor include John Hillcoat's Lawless (2012), and Brandon Hess' First in Flight (2012).
Bill co-authored with Petro Vlahos, chapters on blue and green-screen compositing in both the "American Cinematographer Manual" and the "Visual Effects Society Handbook". Bill served five terms as a Motion Picture Academy Governor representing the Visual Effects Branch and Chairman of the Executive Committee. He was also the founding co-chair of the Academy Science and Technology Council (with Ray Feeney). Bill owes a lifetime debt of thanks to three mentors, the late Lin Dunn ASC, the late Albert Whitlock, and Petro Vlahos.
Associate Director of Look & Lighting
(Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, Bolt)
Brian Leach received a degree in photography with a minor in fine art from Art Center in Pasadena. Upon graduation in 1994, he launched his professional career with a stint as a digital artist and compositor at the award-winning effects house, Dream Quest Images. His first assignment there was working on The Mask, and he went on to contribute to such other effects oriented films as Kundun, Armageddon, and Inspector Gadget. This was followed by a role as compositing supervisor on Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow, 2D sequence supervisor on X-Men 2: X-Men United and senior technical director on Spider-Man 2 and The Haunted Mansion. He served as compositing supervisor on 102 Dalmatians and Kangaroo Jack. In 2004, Brian joined Walt Disney Animation Studios as a lighting artist and sequence lead on the feature Chicken Little. His other Disney credits include the role of sequence lead on Bolt, and lighting supervisor roles on Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice, Tangled, and the short film Tick Tock Tale.
(Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, Bolt, Chicken Little)
Cesar Velazquez began his career in 1995, at Warner Bros. Imaging Technology (WBIT), developing software for live-action films including Eraser, Batman & Robin, and Mars Attacks. Afterwards, he worked at Kodak's Cinesite for the next 2.5 years. In 1999, he joined Dream Quest Images (renamed The Secret Lab after being acquired by Disney) and worked on Mission to Mars, and Reign of Fire, among others. At Walt Disney Animation Studios, Cesar has credits as an effects animator on Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, Bolt, and Tangled. He worked in a similar capacity on the 2008 animated short, Glago's Guest. Cesar attended the University of Michigan, where he graduated with a BFA degree in 1993. In college, he made 3D shorts with a small group of classmates and worked on independent film projects involving computer art. His goal was to get into the art side of production while finding ways to apply his technical background. Cesar makes his debut as effects supervisor on Walt Disney Animation Studios' ambitious and visually stunning CG comedy-adventure, Wreck-It Ralph.
(The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Avatar, Eragon, King Kong)
Dave Clayton's degree in Communication Design was his introduction to 3D animation. He quickly became passionate about the art form and in 1999 began animating for films, music videos, and advertisements.
In 2002, Dave and his university friend Andrew Silke took a hiatus from work to follow their dream of creating an independent animated short film. The result was the award winning Cane-Toad: What Happened to Baz.
Dave's career at Weta Digital began in 2003 when he was hired for as an animator on Return of the King. His talent for creating realistic movement led to him taking on more responsibility — first as a Senior Animator on I, Robot, then a Sequence Lead on King Kong. His first Animation Supervisor role came in 2006 on Eragon, where he and his team created the climactic end sequence.
Dave then started the initial animation studies for Avatar, which began his three-year involvement in the project. His Animation Supervisor role on Avatar gave him the experience necessary to lead the animators back into Middle-Earth and bring to life the digital characters of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
SPARK FX '13 Conference Chair
(Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Bulletproof Monk...)
Dennis Hoffman is a film industry veteran who has held many leadership positions within the visual effects industry, most recently as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Method Studios, a Deluxe Entertainment company. In many of his roles, Dennis has been responsible for building and expanding a company's capabilities and position by improving client relations, budgeting, production supervision, strategic planning, and creating a healthy and supportive environment for its visual effects artists. Prior to Method Studios, Dennis was the Head of Production at Rainmaker Visual Effects; Vice President and Head of Production at Digital Domain, Los Angeles; Head of Visual Effects at Cinesite, Los Angeles; and Vice President and Executive Producer at Dream Quest Images, where he started his VFX career as a Producer. Some of the numerous projects Dennis has worked on include Cloud Atlas, Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Argo, Invictus, Changeling, Flags of Our Fathers, as well as Oscar® nominees Mighty Joe Young and Armageddon. Dennis is a charter member of the Visual Effects Society and is currently serving on the board of the Los Angeles and Vancouver sections.
Director, VFX Supervisor
(Yogi Bear, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Pearl Harbor)
Academy Award® winning VFX Supervisor Eric Brevig made his directorial debut in 2008, with Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, the first live-action feature to be shot and presented in digital 3-D. His second feature film, Yogi Bear 3D, combined both live-action digital 3D photography and stereo-rendered CG animation to become Warner Bros. live-action 2010 holiday hit. Both films have generated sequels, which are continuing today. Prior to helming Journey, Eric served as second unit director and VFX supervisor on over 25 films, including Men in Black; Wild, Wild West; and The Island. An expert in 3D filmmaking, Eric oversaw the photography and visual effects for "Magic Journeys", "Captain Eo", and "Honey I Shrunk the Audience" — all created for continuing exhibition at Disney theme parks around the world.
Eric received an Academy Award® for Special Achievement in Visual Effects for his ground-breaking work on Total Recall, and he is the recipient of two more Oscars® nominations and a BAFTA nomination.
(The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Avatar, King Kong, The Lord of the Ring Trilogy)
A native of Maine in the United States, Eric Saindon arrived at Weta Digital in 1999 to work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Eric was the Creatures/Character Setup Supervisor for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and worked extensively on the creation of Gollum for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. In 2002, Eric became CG Supervisor for "Pelennor Fields", the largest sequence of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Following The Lord of the Rings, Eric worked as a lead CG Supervisor on I, Robot. For Peter Jackson's blockbuster remake of King Kong, Eric became Digital FX Supervisor, and has since worked as a visual effects supervisor on X-Men: The Last Stand and The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Eric began work on Avatar at the start of 2007 on the pre-production pipeline development for jungle and biolume as well as overseeing the creation of digital assets and continued on to oversee 745 shots.
Following on from the Avatar DVD, Eric started early pre-production on The Hobbit. He worked with the previz team and art department to help breakdown and layout the different environments in The Hobbit. When production started in March 2011 Eric became the onset visual effects supervisor for the Hobbit trilogy.
Eric Saindon came to Weta Digital from Santa Barbara Studios where he was a modelling supervisor and lead technical director on such movies as Star Trek: Insurrection and The Little Vampire.
Erik-Jan de Boer
(Life of Pi, The Golden Compass, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe)
Rhythm & Hues Animation Director Erik-Jan de Boer has more than 23 years of experience in animation, graphics and special effects for commercials, feature films and theme park rides. He recently directed the character animation for Ang Lee's Oscar-nominated adaptation of Life of Pi.
Starting at London's Moving Picture Company in 1989, Erik-Jan became head of 3D animation and special effects at Rushes Plc, responsible for the artistic and commercial success of spots for Ford, the BBC, Reebok, Phillips and the US Marine Corps.
Joining R&H in 1996, Erik-Jan's credits include Academy Award VFX winner The Golden Compass, and VFX Oscar nominee The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and numerous other projects.
Born in Amsterdam, Erik-Jan holds a Masters Degree in Image Synthesis and Computer Animation from Middlesex University, England and a Bachelors in Image and Media Technology from Utrecht School of the Arts.
Lead Character Technical Director
(The Thing, Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, Terminator Salvation)
Fred Chapman is a VFX Creature Rigger specializing in creating animation rigs for realistic movement and associated tools to support an efficient and flexible workflow. For the past 12 years, he has worked in senior positions for various leading visual effects companies around the world.
Working on films such as Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, and several Harry Potter films has provided Fred with many rigging challenges, including a fighting tree, exploding canary, giant snake, miniature fire-breathing dragon, and an armchair that transforms into Jim Broadbent. Along the way, Fred has designed and created a facial animation system used in several talking animal movies and played a pivotal role in the design of the assets pipelines at two facilities.
The creation of multiple mutilated, transforming, and organic creatures for The Thing was Fred's most challenging work to date. Presently, he is raising the bar even higher on current projects at Image Engine.
Textures Supervisor, Creative Art Director
(The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Avatar, Lord of the Rings Trilogy)
Gino Acevedo joined Weta Workshop to supervise the special makeup effects of the creatures in Lord of the Rings. During filming, Weta Digital asked Gino to help create the digital Gollum.
Gino became the Art Director for digital creatures and the liaison between Weta Workshop and Weta Digital. This supported a continuous design vision, from the initial illustrative designs through to the final digital effects.
As Creature Art Director on Avatar, Gino oversaw the Weta Digital texture artists. They created "life casting" techniques to achieve lifelike details such as minute skin pores on the digital models. Gino recently completed work on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
(Life of Pi, Sucker Punch, Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince)
Harry joined MPC in 2006, as a digital artist on 10,000 BC and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. His skill as an FX artist was quickly recognized and over the next few years he worked as Lead FX TD on movies including Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince, Surrogates and Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief.
In 2010, Harry accepted the role of CG Supervisor for MPC's Vancouver studio working on Sucker Punch and Fast Five. Harry's expertise in FX came to hand a year later when he began work as CG Supervisor on Ang Lee's Life of Pi, working closely with MPC's VFX Supervisor Guillaume Rocheron to create the spectacular Storm of God and Tsimtsum Sinking sequences.
Harry was originally born in Brazil and has a very technical background holding degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Harry is currently MPC's CG Supervisor on Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger.
Hoyt Yeatman Jr.
Director, VFX Supervisor
(Jack the Giant Slayer, G-Force, Mighty Joe Young, The Abyss)
Academy Award® winning visual effects virtuoso, Hoyt Yeatman has made a career of creating the technology and producing the most complex and stunning practical and digital effects for Hollywood's most acclaimed filmmakers and studios. His work has earned him an Oscar® for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for his dramatic use of miniature and underwater blue screen photography in the The Abyss and a Scientific & Technical Achievement award from the Academy for his contributions to the invention of a new visual effects film stock, SFX 200T. He co-founded Dream Quest Images, an Academy Award® winning visual effects company that was purchased by Walt Disney Studios, and supervised the visual effects on over a hundred projects before making his feature film directorial debut on the live-action animation hybrid film G-Force. Yeatman is currently the Senior Visual Effects Supervisor on the highly anticipated Bryan Singer film, Jack the Giant Slayer, utilizing the most advanced ground-breaking technology in digital and stereo 3D effects for this film.
(The Dark Knight Rises, Green Lantern, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides)
Ian Hunter is a creative director and co-founder of New Deal Studios in Los Angeles.
As a visual effects supervisor and art director for over 20 years on films and commercials, Ian has overseen the creation of effects sequences including previs, miniatures and sets, photography, matte paintings, digital animation and compositing, including work for the Christopher Nolan projects The Dark Knight, Inception, and The Dark Knight Rises.
Other New Deal Studios credits include The Avengers, Pitch Black, The X-Files Movie, End of Days, T3: Rise of the Machines, X-Men 3: The Last Stand, Watchmen, Night at the Museum, Whiteout, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Ian is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Visual Effects Society.
Senior VFX Supervisor
(The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Avatar, King Kong)
Joe Letteri's pioneering work on digital visual effects has earned him four Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects on Avatar, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and King Kong. He has also received the Academy's Technical Achievement Award for co-developing the subsurface scattering technique that brought Gollum to life.
Joe joined Weta Digital as Visual Effects Supervisor on The Two Towers and over the last eleven years he has led Weta Digital to become one of the worlds premiere visual effects studios.
Joe has developed many techniques that have become standards for bringing photographic quality to digital visual effects. He specializes in the creation of compellingly realistic creatures, from the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, to Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, the 25ft gorilla in King Kong, the Na'vi in Avatar, and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
As Senior Visual Effects Supervisor on Avatar, Joe oversaw a programme of research and development over four years that produced shots larger and more complex than ever attempted before. This involved shooting on a virtual stage with a new camera system, along with the development a full pipeline of tools effectively launching a new approach to filmmaking called virtual production.
Last year, Joe led the Weta Digital team back into Middle-earth to bring to life the first film of Peter Jackson's much anticipated trilogy The Hobbit:An Unexpected Journey.
John E. Sullivan
(Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Big Love, The Pacific)
John E. Sullivan is an Emmy® award-winning VFX Supervisor who started his motion picture career at the Howard Anderson Company while studying cinema at the University of Southern California. He worked at Apogee for twelve years starting out as a photographic effects camera person and motion control camera operator and eventually became a director of photography. After Apogee, John started working as a VFX Supervisor at many of the major studios including Sony, Walt Disney, Warner Bros., Buena Vista, MGM, New Line, Fox, and DreamWorks on many features including, Last Action Hero, Die Hard With A Vengeance, Eraser, and Collateral. In 2010, John received an Emmy for "Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special" while working as a VFX Supervisor on the HBO television series The Pacific. John recently completed work supervising the visual effects for the groundbreaking digital series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.
Jose Fernandez de Castro
(Life of Pi, Sucker Punch, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Jose Fernandez de Castro has over 10 years of visual effects compositing experience in Mexico, London and Canada, working on a number of high profile movies including The Golden Compass, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, and many more...
Jose joined MPC Vancouver in 2010, where he has worked as a Lead Compositor and Nuke TD on multiple shows, such as Suckerpunch, Fast Five, Source Code, Man of Steel and Life of Pi.
His emphasis as a Nuke TD and lead at MPC has been on the development of tools and workflows that simplify the artists' tasks and achieve each show's specific technical and artistic goals. In the case of Life of Pi, he lead the push to adopt deep compositing as a viable solution to many of the technical challenges that the film presented.
Jose is currently working as a Lead Compositor and Nuke TD on Maleficent.
(Prometheus, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Watchmen)
Matt Middleton is CG Supervisor at MPC Vancouver with 10 years experience in visual effects.
After studying Computer Visualisation and Animation at Bournemouth University, Matt began his career in 2003 working at Hourglass Studios as a digital effects artist on the Jim Henson Pictures movie Mirror Mask.
In 2005, Matt joined MPC to work on The Da Vinci Code and Golden Age. Matt's talents as an artist were quickly recognized and between 2007 and 2009 Matt worked on a number of high profile movies as sequence supervisor / Lookdev lead including Wolfman, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Watchmen. In 2009, Matt accepted the role of CG Supervisor working on Prince of Persia, followed by Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and most recently Ridley Scott's Prometheus.
Matt is currently CG Supervisor on The Lone Ranger.
R. Christopher White
(The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Avatar, King Kong)
Chris White originally came to Weta Digital from Industrial Light & Magic. At ILM, he focused on creating innovative effects and tools — including the dynamics software used to create the tornadoes in Twister, as well as creating podracer crashes, exploding asteroids, and battling dinosaurs for the Star Wars prequels and Jurassic Park series.
Chris joined Weta Digital in 2002. Starting with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, he worked on look development for creatures including Shelob, Oliphants, and the Haradim. He created the complex destruction of the Black Gates for the conclusion of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
For King Kong, Chris helped develop the CityBot software that helped recreate 1930s New York, procedurally building over 100,000 3D buildings to match the actual 1933 skyline. As well as developing software and techniques for building a digital New York, Chris supervised the VFX for several sequences in the film.
Next, Chris worked as a Visual Effects Supervisor on Avatar, as well as Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones and Neill Blomkamp's District 9. His work as a Visual Effects Supervisor on Rise of the Planet of the Apes was nominated for both a Bafta and an Academy Award (in the Visual Effects category). He has recently completed work as a Visual Effects Supervisor on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Co-founder, Digital Domain
(Flags of Our Fathers, X-Men, Terminator 2: Judgment Day)
Scott Ross has had a stellar career as one of the most notable pioneers in digital media and entertainment. He founded, along with Hollywood luminaries James Cameron and Stan Winston, Digital Domain, one of the largest digital production studios in the motion picture and advertising industries. Under Scott's direction, Digital Domain garnered multiple Academy Award® nominations, receiving its first Oscar® for the ground breaking visual effects in Titanic. That success was followed by a second Oscar® for What Dreams May Come and a third for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. In 2006, as Digital Domain's CEO and Chairman, he successfully sold Digital Domain to director Michael Bay and a group of private equity investors.
Prior to forming Digital Domain, he led George Lucas' vast entertainment empire: running Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Skywalker Sound, Lucasfilm Commercial Productions, and DroidWorks. Under his leadership, ILM won five Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects (Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Innerspace; Terminator 2; The Abyss; Death Becomes Her).
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