February 10, 2018

VIFF Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour Street
Vancouver, Canada

Terabyte Sponsor

Creative BC

Megabyte Sponsor

Capilano University

Kilobyte Sponsors

Emily Carr University

Bardel Entertainment

Bron Animation

DHX Media, Ltd.


Byte Sponsors

Consulate General of France in Vancouver

Campbell River Creative Industries Council

Scanline VFX



Weta Digital


Drawn Together Vancouver


Celebrating innovation and inspiration
February 10, 2018

Vancouver’s SPARK FX 2018 Conference is the biggest little conference of its kind and this year, on February 10, it celebrates its 10th anniversary with a bang! The one-day Conference brings together some of the most important visual effects franchise names in film history, Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner and Planet of the Apes. Featuring an amazing line-up of animation and VFX creatives, this very special day is your best opportunity to meet and mingle with some of the most amazing luminaries from studios today. Through presentations and panels, they will take us behind-the-scenes in the creation of these iconic films.

Among those presenting are Academy Award® and BAFTA Award-winning Weta Digital VFX Supervisor Dan Lemmon, Industrial Light & Magic’s VFX Supervisor Dan Seddon, Framestore’s Animation Supervisor, Pablo Grillo and VFX Supervisior Chris Harvey from Neil Blomkamp’s new Oats Studio. These top talents join the roster of more than 20 top industry professionals already confirmed for the festival.

This is one day you will not want to miss.

Conference: Saturday, February 10 – 9 am to 6 pm
Career Fair: Saturday, February 10 – 9:15 am to 5 pm
Diversity Summit: Sunday, February 11 – 10 am to 5 pm

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.


with Ian Failes · Moderated by Donny Rausch & Mihai Cioroba
with Zoe Cranley · Moderated by Chris McLaughlin
with Pierre-Luc Labbée · Moderated by Mahmoud Rahnama
with Larry Bafia · Moderated by Chris Harvey & Michael Ferraro
with Sue Rowe · Moderated by Claire Michaud & Pablo Grillo
with Fred Chapman · Moderated by Dan Lemmon & Joel Whist

Saturday - February 10, 8:00 AM

Saturday - February 10, 9:00 AM
a presentation by Industrial Light & Magic
with Ian Failes · Moderated by Donny Rausch & Mihai Cioroba

VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie)

Catch a glimpse behind the visual effects for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. A panel of supervisors and leads from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) will discuss their process from layout to lighting to fx to compositing.

Saturday - February 10, 10:30 AM
a presentation by Double Negative
with Zoe Cranley · Moderated by Chris McLaughlin

VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie)

This talk, by CG Supervisor Chris McLaughlin, will focus on the creative and technical challenges behind Double Negative’s work on Blade Runner 2049, and the tools and techniques used to create the brutalist Los Angeles of 2049, the transformative holographic effects of Joi, and the climactic seawall sequence.

Saturday - February 10, 12:00 PM
a presentation by Pixomondo
with Pierre-Luc Labbée · Moderated by Mahmoud Rahnama

VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie)

Like George Meliès of old, visual effects artists today are magicians, creating illusions that leave audiences astonished and amazed. Especially when you’re dealing with a property as iconic as Star Trek, the bar for your visual effects magic is set incredibly high. How do you maintain a cinematic standard on a highly anticipated television series? Join us as Mahmoud Rahnama discusses the challenges behind Pixomondo’s work on Star Trek: Discovery. He will focus on different aspects of their pipeline, and how they managed to turn around hundreds of shots per episode on tight deadlines to produce some of the best quality visual effects seen in television today.

Saturday - February 10, 1:30 PM
a presentation by Oats Studios
with Larry Bafia · Moderated by Chris Harvey & Michael Ferraro

VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie)

Oats Studios is an independent film studio started by Neill Blomkamp. We’re weird, experimental and trying to change how things are done with a small team and everything under one roof. Come find out a bit about how we do things and why we have been focusing on short-films with a special case study on our most recent exploration of using real-time in creating our stories as we take you from inception through to the final live real-time film.

Saturday - February 10, 3:00 PM
a presentation by Framestore
with Sue Rowe · Moderated by Claire Michaud & Pablo Grillo

VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie)

Slip on your duffle coat and help yourself to a generous spread of marmalade: Paddington is back. Having animated the bear for his first big-screen outing back in 2014, Framestore rejoined the team to bring the iconic character to cinemas once more in 2017’s Paddington 2. Described in early reviews as ‘a work of art built up from thousands of tiny, thoughtful details’ (Hollywood Reporter), the second cinematic instalment of the beloved bear has earned the film a 100% rating on review website Rotten Tomatoes, with Framestore working on around 1300 shots of the final film and 700 shots of Paddington Bear.

Saturday - February 10, 4:30 PM
a presentation by Weta Digital
with Fred Chapman · Moderated by Dan Lemmon & Joel Whist

VIFF Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St. (@ Davie)

War for the Planet of the Apes is the stunning conclusion to the acclaimed Planet of the Apes trilogy. Bringing apes with intelligence and emotional resonance to the screen has successfully carved out a new standard and a new era in the realistic animation of non-human lead characters.

In this panel, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist will discuss the practical and digital effects that were pivotal to the film — from vast digital environments featuring thousands of digital characters, down to the infinitesimal details of characters like fur and hair.


Chris Harvey
VFX Supervisor // Oats Studios

Chris HarveyIn a near 2-decade long career, Visual Effects Supervisor Chris Harvey has become known among the directors, producers and peers he works with for his collaborative skills, sharp eye for effective storytelling practices and dedication to artistic excellence with a track record of production efficiency. With projects ranging from Tron Legacy, to Zero Dark Thirty and Chappie his mix of technical and artistic abilities have provided unique insights into both realms of our industry, allowing him to innovate and adapt to a multitude of challenges. “I believe that there is no such thing as standing still,” Harvey said. “You are either moving forward or you are moving backwards... I want to be pushing ahead.”

Chris McLaughlin
CG Supervisor // Double Negative

Chris McLaughlinChris McLaughlin, a DFX Supervisor at Double Negative, is currently hard at work on the much-anticipated Deadpool 2. He joins this project fresh from his duties as CG Supervisor on the highly acclaimed Blade Runner 2049.

Joining Dneg in 2010, Chris quickly moved into a Sequence Supervision role in 2013 with Ron Howard’s adrenaline-fueled biopic Rush, Terminator Genisys and The Huntsman: Winter’s War, which was his first project in Double Negative’s Vancouver studio following his transfer from London. He has since progressed to the role of CG Supervisor, working on projects such as Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them and Blade Runner 2049.

In 2009, following a successful career in Architecture in both Glasgow and London, Chris re-trained to work in VFX, graduating with a Masters in Digital Effects from Bournemouth University. He landed his first VFX role at Double Negative’s London office shortly afterwards, going on to work on films such as 2010’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, John Carter and Fast & Furious 6.

Claire Michaud
Lighting Supervisor // Framestore London

Claire MichaudBorn and raised in France, Claire Michaud graduated from Supinfocom in 2006. She moved to London the same year and started her career working for commercials and music videos at Passion Pictures for 4 years (Gorillaz stylo, Compare the Meerkat).

She joined Framestore in December 2011 and has since contributed as lighting lead and supervisor on movies such as Gravity, Jupiter Ascending, Beauty & the Beast and Paddington2. This year, she is supervising the lighting on Mowgli to be released in October 2018.

Dan Lemmon
VFX Supervisor // Weta Digital

Dan LemmonDan is known for his work as Visual Effects Supervisor on The Jungle Book and the Planet of the Apes trilogy. He received an Academy Award® for The Jungle Book and was nominated for an Academy Award® and BAFTA Award for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Both films won Visual Effects Society Awards for Most Outstanding Visual Effects.

Dan has contributed to six films that have won Academy Awards® for Visual Effects and has also won the VES Award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial and a Gold Clio for his commercial work. He is an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Visual Effects Society.

Dan joined Weta Digital in 2002 to work on The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. He was Digital Effects Supervisor on Peter Jackson’s King Kong and served as Visual Effects Supervisor on Avatar and Man of Steel. He has recently finished supervising War for the Planet of the Apes.

Donny Rausch
Compositing Supervisor // Industrial Light & Magic
(Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Revenant, Watchmen)

DonnyDonny Rausch has been working in television and visual effects for over 20 years. While studying Illustration and Graphic Design at the University of Kansas, Donny landed a job in television. Combining the skill set he acquired working in TV with his love for drawing and fine art, Donny turned his focus to animation and compositing. After winning several short film awards, Donny was recruited by Weta Digital to work as a paint artist on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. By the third film, he led sequence compositing work and did some light matte painting. Donny then moved back to the States to work with Sony Pictures Imageworks where he led compositing work, helped with matte painting, and became a lighting TD. Later, Donny would work with Digital Domain on an animated feature, before working again with Weta Digital and spending some time with ILM in San Francisco. His filmography includes Spider Man 2, Watchmen, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Alice in Wonderland, and many more.

Donny joined ILM Vancouver in January of 2015 as a Compositing Supervisor, where he’s worked on such films as The Revenant, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Donny currently serves as Compositing Supervisor on Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin.

Donny has been a part of many award-winning teams, most recently receiving a VES award for the bear attack sequence in the film The Revenant.

Fred Chapman
Head of Creature // DNEG
(Alita: Battle Angel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Chappie, Harry Potter franchise)

FredFred has over 20 years of CG experience around the world. It was while studying Marine Biology and Dynamical Oceanography in the late 90’s that he first stumbled into working in Virtual Reality. He followed up his degree with a Masters in Computer Graphics and worked first as an Animator, then 3D Generalist, Rigger, Creature Supervisor, Business Owner, R&D Manager, and now as Head of Creature at DNEG Vancouver.

As an artist and supervisor, he received a VES award nomination in the “Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture” category for his work on The Thing (2011). Today he achieves far greater results though contributing to efficient pipeline design, supporting and mentoring the professional development of his team, and through leading effective communication and collaboration between departments.

Ian Failes
Freelance VFX, Animation Writer //

IanIan is a former lawyer and now Sydney-based writer specializing in VFX, animation and post production. He is the author of Masters of FX, which profiles 16 visual effects supervisors from around the world.

He was a senior writer for fxguide for five years and now contributes to several publications, including Cartoon Brew (as VFX and tech editor), 3D Artist magazine, MovieMaker magazine, Inverse, Thrillist, Digital Arts and Empire Magazine, as well as publishing VFX retrospectives on his own site

Ian also maintains the world’s largest memorabilia collection from the movie, Speed.

Joel Whist
Special Effects Supervisor // Weta Digital
(War for Planet of the Apes, Batman vs Superman, Godzilla, Watchmen)

Joel WhistA 30-year veteran of the industry, special effects supervisor Joel Whist’s passion for movies began in Kamloops, BC with the single movie theatre which brought the latest movies to town. His interest was supported and largely fuelled by his mother who provided a steady stream of books and magazines on special effects. His dream of working in the movies led him to UBC, where he studied mechanical engineering before entering the industry in the late 80s.

Over the years, Joel has worked on over 60 productions in both TV and film including Watchmen, Sucker Punch, Godzilla , The BFG, Batman vs Superman, War for the Planet of the Apes and the upcoming Netflix series, Altered Carbon.

Larry Bafia
Creative // Independent
(Shrek, Antz, Batman and Robin, Mission Impossible II)

LarryAn animator and educator who works with various media, Larry started his career in stop motion and Claymation with Crocus Productions in Chicago and then the Will Vinton Studios in Portland, Oregon. At the Vinton studio for nearly a decade, Larry worked on stop-motion projects such as the California Raisins and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. During a seven-year stint as Commercial Animation Director at PDI/DreamWorks, Larry directed commercials for many top clients including Coca-Cola, Sega, Intel, Kraft, Target, Circle K, and Saturn. As an active member of the SIGGRAPH Conference Committee, Larry has chaired the 2018 Computer Animation Festival, the 2019 Creative Development Team, and the 2021 VR Theater. He has also chaired several SPARK ANIMATION conferences and has participated in SPARK FX.

From 2002 through 2008, Larry was Department Head of Animation and Visual Effects at the Vancouver Film School. Larry has also served as VP of Faculty and Development at VanArts as well as the Director of the Master of Digital Media Program at The Centre for Digital Media, Vancouver BC.

Mahmoud Rahnama
VFX Supervisor // Pixomondo Toronto

Mahmoud RahnamaAfter studying Computer Animation and Visual Effects, Mahmoud started his professional career in 2003. Throughout the past decade, he has worked on various feature films, TV series and commercials.

Mahmoud joined Pixomondo in early 2011 as CG and VFX Supervisor. Since then he has worked on feature and episodic projects including Oblivion, Hugo, Sleepy Hollow, Da Vinci’s Demons, Snow White and The Huntsman, The Amazing Spiderman, and most recently Marco Polo. In addition to project supervision, Mahmoud is one of the managers for Pixomondo’s Toronto office.

Prior to Pixomondo, Mahmoud was at C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures where he had worked on projects such as Silent Hill, SAW II, The Tudors, Lucky Number Slevin, and Splice.

Mahmoud has been teaching Visual Effects at Seneca College for almost a decade and has been a mentor to many young Visual Effects artists in Toronto.

Michael Ferraro
(Adam Episode 2 & 3, Gears of War 4, LittleBigPlanet Karting, Reboot)

MikeMike started his career on Reboot in 1995. After 6 years in TV production, he moved to games as an Animation Director and TD, shipping AAA titles for EA, Disney, Sony, and Microsoft, and then a mobile game for Ubisoft. He mostly works in game engines lately.

Mihai Cioroba
Lead Effects Technical Director // Industrial Light & Magic
(Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

MihaiBorn and raised in Romania, Mihai graduated from the Politehnica University of Bucharest and holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science and a M.Sc. in Industrial Graphics and Design.

Mihai began his career working in TV commercials. After graduating, he soon moved to Tokyo, Japan where he co-wrote a crowd simulation system and worked with Massive software within the Japanese quirky animation industry. His Crowds roles continued in Sydney, Australia at Dr. D Studios. The move to Vancouver came with a switch from Crowds to Effects at studios such as Digital Domain and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Mihai joined Industrial Light & Magic early 2014 where he continues to take on various effects challenges for feature film visual effects.

Pablo Grillo
Animation Supervisor // Framestore London
(Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Paddington, Harry Potter franchise)

Pablo GrilloPablo Grillo is the animation supervisor who brought Paddington to life for his first big screen adventure, overseeing the team at visual effects studio Framestore. With a famous animator for a father (Oscar), rebellion for Pablo meant studying Zoology. He didn’t stay away from animation for long though and found VFX allowed him to indulge his scientific as well as artistic side, joining Framestore in 2000 as an animator on Dinotopia.

The degree soon came in handy, as he helped create more and more elaborate creatures. He was lead animator on the Hippogriff in Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban and supervisor on the Grindylows in The Goblet of Fire, and Dobby and Kreacher in The Deathly Hallows, taking a break Hogwarts in the middle work on the Oscar-winning polar Bears in The Golden Compass. In 2012 he was reunited with Harry Potter Producer David Heyman to take on Paddington — ‘the dream character job,’ as he puts it.

However, the world of JK. Rowling called again, with the incredibly successful Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which saw Pablo take on the animation direction for the entire film, working closely with David Hayes and various VFX vendors to achieve the desired looks of all the creatures featured. He is currently working on Paddington 2.

Pierre-Luc Labbée
Founder //
(Blade Runner 2049, Stranger Things 2, Paddington, Jungle Book)

Pierre-Luc LabbeePierre-Luc is the founder of rhum — humans and resources. For the last 12 years, he has been traveling around the world and on the web to meet the best possible talents, in highly competitive and creative fields such as gaming, advertising and VFX. He understands the challenges of attracting, hiring and managing creative talent, and is now a reference when it comes to getting the pulse of the market and create effective and creative talent pipelines.

Sue Rowe
VFX Supervisor // Scanline VFX
(Meg 2: The Trench, Slumberland, The Adam Project, Eternals)

SueSue Rowe is a visual effects supervisor with over 25 years of experience in the film industry. As a child, Sue loved drawing, so it was no surprise that she went on to study for a BA in Animation at university. Following this, Sue went on to study for her MA in Computer Animation back in the day when it was all programming! This is where she experienced the creative buzz of Visual Effects, with her first job in the industry on Space Jam with Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny! Sue’s latest project was as Scanline’s co-VFX Supervisor for Meg 2: The Trench, where she brought three huge Megalodons and a T-Rex to life!

Zoe Cranley
Head of CG, Canada // beloFX

ZoeAs Head of CG Canada, Zoe engages in shows from their very initial discussions until their final delivery, and beyond! Zoe is excited to adopt new technologies and resources, giving artists a new and exciting means to create VFX of the highest level.

Whilst being an active member of the VFX and Animation Community, Zoe is passionate about building and growing talented and diverse teams, whereby people can work at their very best in a thriving and enriching environment.

Zoe started her career in 2005 at Double Negative London, subsequently working in the Singapore and Vancouver studios. Her most recent roles were CG Supervisor, Head of Build and Head of CG.

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