February 11, 2018

Vancouver Film School
420 Homer Street
Vancouver, Canada

Terabyte Sponsor

Creative BC

Megabyte Sponsor

Capilano University

Kilobyte Sponsors

DHX Media, Ltd.

Emily Carr University

Bardel Entertainment

Bron Animation


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 11, 2018


SPARK FX 2018 brings together local and international experts to discuss diversity in studio environments to promote a culture of inclusion. The Summit includes multiple panels and presentations discussing the importance of diversity in the workplace and how those differences — rather than separating us — can foster a sense of belonging and community, while making any organization a vibrant place to work, and where everyone’s experiences and contributions result with the most innovative work possible.

A networking light lunch will also be provided. We will end the day with a networking mixer.

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.


with Ian Failes interviewed by Michelle Grady
10:30 amPANEL
moderator: Zoe Cranley with Celia Jepson, Cheri Fojtik, Eve Levasseur-Marineau, Jessica Harris, Sandra Balej, Sue Rowe & Yvonne Muinde
with Tara Donavan · moderated by Charmaine Chan
2:15 pmPANEL
moderator: Heather Zolis with Cassandra Nelson, Mohammad Tahir, Pierre-Luc Labbée, Rosie Server & Victoria Long
Moderator: Zoe Cranley with Wendy Rogers

Sunday - February 11, 9:00 AM

Sunday - February 11, 10:00 AM

with Ian Failes interviewed by Michelle Grady

Michelle Grady, Senior Vice President of Production for Sony Pictures Imageworks, will discuss her own career in visual effects spanning more than 20 years, which also includes positions at Technicolor and MPC. This will be a great way to hear about working your way up in visual effects, with advice — especially for women — about navigating the industry.

Sunday - February 11, 10:30 AM
moderator: Zoe Cranley with Celia Jepson, Cheri Fojtik, Eve Levasseur-Marineau, Jessica Harris, Sandra Balej, Sue Rowe & Yvonne Muinde

SPARK FX welcomes seven wonderful women to discuss this past year’s events as well as their personal and career successes. We’ll learn what inspires them to take the lead, and why you’ll want to learn leadership (even if you don’t want to be a leader.) Most importantly, this power panel of seven sisters will discuss the need for more diversity as creative leads in the studios.

Sunday - February 11, 12:15 PM
with Tara Donavan · moderated by Charmaine Chan

How do we give a voice to women in the visual effects industry? How can we get them to speak up, be heard, and make the changes we want to see? In October 2016, Charmaine Chan answered these questions by creating, producing and directing a new video series, Women in VFX. With 54 women in three countries interviewed so far, this ongoing series intends to celebrate and bring a voice to women working in the industry. Through their stories and experiences, it hopes to shatter the normal expectations of women, and reach out to inspire future generations. Join us as Charmaine Chan sets a course for the future of woman in visual effects, while looking at our past.

Sunday - February 11, 1:15 PM

A light lunch will be provided to Diversity Summit pass holders only.

Sunday - February 11, 2:15 PM
moderator: Heather Zolis with Cassandra Nelson, Mohammad Tahir, Pierre-Luc Labbée, Rosie Server & Victoria Long

Spark the conversation on what VFX studios are doing now and in the future for inclusive hiring. Open to all.

Sunday - February 11, 4:00 PM
Moderator: Zoe Cranley with Wendy Rogers

Join us, as Wendy reflects on her rich and successful career in VFX. She will share her perspective on what is different now, and how she would approach a career in VFX, if she were to start today. She will take us through some of her defining moments, and what it has been like to be a woman in a position usually occupied by men. She will also offer advice and guidance to those hoping to follow in her footsteps. This is a must-attend talk for all aspiring VFX artists looking to enrich their career, and VFX students alike. Not to be Missed!

Sunday - February 11, 5:00 PM

The Industry Mixer is taking place at The Charles Bar, 136 West Cordova Street, Vancouver. Admission is FREE and open to all. Cash bar in effect.


Cassandra Nelson
VFX Recruitment Manager // Method Studios
(Black Panther, Justice League, Spider Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy 2)

CassCassandra has built VFX teams internationally and locally in Vancouver for Method, ILM/Lucasfilm, MPC, and Prime Focus, on productions including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Warcraft, Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Justice League and more. In nearly a decade in the VFX industry, she has had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s most creative people, teach new, innovative talent as an instructor at Vancouver Film School, and now, lead a team of recruiters at Method that has more than doubled in a year. Cassandra’s everyday thrill is recruiting a superstar and then seeing them develop and grow. Knowing that her efforts impact both the quality of productions and the company’s bottom line keeps her excited every day.

Celia Jepson
CG Supervisor // Industrial Light & Magic
(Thor: Ragnarok, Kong: Skull Island, Jurassic World, The Legend of the Guardians – The Owls of Ga’Hoole)

CeliaCelia Jepson is a CG Supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic, currently hard at work on Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Originally from Vancouver, Celia graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BSc in Astrophysics with a Minor in Fine Arts in 2001, before pursuing her combined love of technology and art by starting a career in CG. After 6 years working in the gaming industry as a lighter, as well as a VES win for Outstanding Real Time Visuals in a Video Game, she loved to Australia to pursue an interest in vfx and film, over time working at Animal Logic, Sony, MPC, and Dneg, before moving back to Vancouver to join ILM in 2012. Joining originally as a senior lighter, she progressed to Lead Lighter, Lighting Supervisor, and most recently CG Supervisor, working on such films as The Revenant, Transformers 4, Jurassic World, and Kong: Skull Island.

Charmaine Chan
Digital Compositor // ILM San Francisco
(Black Panther, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Captain America: Civil War, Warcraft)

Charmaine ChanOriginally from the Islands of Hawaii, Charmaine currently resides in San Francisco where she is a Compositor and Technology Lead at Industrial Light & Magic.

Charmaine has over 10 years of experience working in the film industry specifically with compositing, motion graphics, and vfx pipeline development.

Cheri Fojtik
Lead Texture Artist // Image Engine
(Logan, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, Game of Thrones, Life of Pi)

CheriCheri Fojtik’s career was kickstarted when she landed her job at Rhythm & Hues in 2010 as a Junior Texture Artist. Within three years, she became sought after among the leads and supervisors to be on their team, landing her her first lead position in 2012. She contributed to the creation of hero characters on Life of Pi, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 2012.

After a quick year at ReelFX in Dallas, and then another at Industrial Light & Magic in San Francisco, Cheri found her home as Lead Texture Artist at Image Engine in Vancouver. Here, she has contributed to several projects including Logan, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them and Game of Thrones seasons six and seven. One of which earned her a VES award nomination in 2017.

Cheri started her pursuit for a career in visual effects by attending Savannah College of Art & Design to study animation where she received her Master of Fine Arts. She initially pursued lighting and compositing as a focus, but her background in traditional painting took hold, and she found her true passion in texture painting, and she hasn’t looked back!

Eve Levasseur-Marineau
Lead Technical Animator // MPC Vancouver

After completing a Bachelor’s Degree in CG animation in Video Games, I started my career as a FX artist for cinematics in productions such as Injustice: Gods Amongst Us and Mortal Kombat X. Afterwards, I moved to the VFX industry, joining MPC and leading film including X-Men: Apocalypse and Terminator Genisys. I am currently the Head of TechAnim at MPC Vancouver, overseeing the character effects department and working on a Master Degree in Digital Arts.

Heather Zolis
Outreach & Recruiting Manager // WildBrain Studios

As the Outreach and Recruiting Manager at WildBrain (formerly DHX) Heather is passionate about all things creative and technical. When matching candidates, roles, and business culture, she draws upon 20+ years in the creative-tech industry as a Recruiter, Trainer, Project Manager and Graphic Artist. Working in-house she has directed large scale recruiting for corporations and managed slow growth business development for boutique start-ups including: Electronic Arts, Capcom, Scanline VFX, and Digital Domain. Heather specializes in customized resource sourcing via a worldwide network.

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.

Jessica Harris
Composing Supervisor // Scanline VFX
(The Meg, X-Men: First Class, TRON: Legacy, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

JessicaJessica Harris has worked in the VFX industry for 23 years. She spent the first 18 years of her career in Los Angeles working in many aspects of the VFX industry. She got her start at Boss Film Studios before spending 12 years at Digital Domain. Her experiences include data management and software, on set work, 3D artist, offshore management and compositing roles. She also had the opportunity to work with the creators and developers of the compositing software package Nuke at Digital Domain.

As an artist and supervisor, Jessica contributed to a broad range of films from Air Force One, A Beautiful Mind, I, Robot, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to TRON: Legacy, X-Men: First Class, and The Meg. She moved to Vancouver 4 years ago and is currently working as a compositing supervisor at Scanline VFX.

Michelle Grady
Senior Vice President, Production // Sony Pictures Imageworks
(Suicide Squad, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Godzilla, Maleficent, Life of Pi)

MichelleMichelle Grady is Senior Vice President of Production for Sony Pictures Imageworks, responsible for overseeing all projects in production and managing the studio’s growing roster of more than 800 visual effects and animation artists.

Michelle has spent 23 years in the Visual Effects and Post-production industry in Vancouver, where her career grew alongside the expanding film production business in the city.

She joins Imageworks from the visual effects studio MPC, where she served as head of film, managing many projects including SUICIDE SQUAD (Warner Bros.), BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (Warner Bros.), GODZILLA (Warner Bros.), MALEFICENT (Disney) and the Academy Award®-winning LIFE OF PI (Fox).

Prior to MPC, Grady was Vice President and General Manager at Technicolor, overseeing the film laboratory, digital post production and VFX divisions.

Michelle is an Executive Board Member of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC (MPPIA), sits on the Board of Creative BC and is Co-Chair of the Canadian Media Producers Association’s (CMPA-BC) VFX and Animation Talent Committee.

Mohammad Tahir
Global Talent Acquisition Manager // Moving Picture Co.
(A Wrinkle In Time, The Lion King, Dumbo, The Nutcracker)

MohammadMohammad joined MPC Vancouver in January of 2016 as a Recruitment Assistant. He has supported the talent team globally as a coordinator, and he served as the touchpoint for MPC’s Academy in 2017. Currently, he helms recruitment for Digital Matte Painting in Canada, Previs & Postvis in LA and New York, and Production and Editorial in Vancouver.

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.

Rosie Server
Senior Recruiter // Sony Pictures Imageworks
(Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Meg)

RosieRosie has been an active member in the animation and visual effects industry for the past 15 years. After starting her career in production management, she transitioned to artistic recruitment in 2006 at Industrial Light & Magic. Rosie has been a key leader of sourcing the top talent in the CG industry. In 2013, she made the move from Los Angeles to Vancouver in order to help grow the new headquarters for Sony Pictures Imageworks. Rosie continues to be on the hunt for the best CG talent worldwide.

Sandra Balej
Digital Effects Supervisor // Method Studios
(Ant-Man & the Wasp, Thor: Ragnarok, Doctor Strange, Legend of Tarzan)

SandraSandra’s 10-year VFX career has taken her around the world — from her native Germany to Beijing to Vancouver, and she has contributed her talents to more than 20 features and TV productions. She joined Method in 2012 as a Compositor on Dark Shadows and Elysium, was elevated to Comp Lead on The Maze Runner and White House Down, and to Compositing Supervisor on Legend of Tarzan, Doctor Strange, and Thor: Ragnarok. She is currently guiding her team through the technical and artistic challenges of Ant-Man & the Wasp as Digital Effects Supervisor. Prior to Method she worked at Pixomondo, Uncharted Territory, and Exozet Effects. Sandra completed her VFX education at the Vancouver Film School, and inspired by the vibrant artistic community there, made the city her home.

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!

Tara Donavan
Sr. Animator // Scanline VFX
(Justice League)

TaraAnimation has been Tara’s lifelong passion since she graduated from Sheridan College’s Classical Animation program more than two decades ago. Her animated journey spans many styles from Richard Williams’ incomparable hand-drawn Thief & the Cobbler to the VFX blockbuster Justice League. Balancing teaching and freelancing with family life, Tara transitioned into leadership roles like Animation Lead on an Ice Age short for Blue Sky at Arc Productions, Animation Director on the TV series Dot for CBC/Sprout at Industrial Brothers and Director of a series of shorts for History/SyFy at Chuck Gammage Animation. Tara continuously adds to her knowledge through masterclasses, workshops and self-study in skills like Life Drawing, Improv and Stage Combat.

Victoria Long
Talent Acquisition Manager // DNEG

VictoriaOriginally from London, Victoria began her career as an Actor’s Agent, helping build careers for actors straight out of drama school, as well as finding casting opportunities for established TV and West End actors. Victoria then went on to specialist media recruitment, sourcing talent for leading UK TV and Film Production companies.

Victoria joined the DNEG London recruitment team in January 2013, and 2 years later, transferred to DNEG Vancouver as Senior Recruiter. In 2017, she was promoted to Talent Acquisition Manager where she leads a successful team of recruiters and assistants, ensuring DNEG continues to bring in the very best talent in the industry. During her 5.5 years at DNEG, Victoria has hired crew and support staff for over 40 movies including award-winning shows such as Interstellar, Ex Machina and Blade Runner 2049.

Wendy Rogers
VFX Supervisor, Creative Executive
(The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Flushed Away, Shrek)

WendyWendy Rogers career combines her love of story, her artistic talent and her technical ability. As a Visual Effects Supervisor with over 25 years of experience in this field, she has helped to shape Academy Award®-nominated feature films and visual effects blockbusters, working with world-famous actors and directors. As a prior long-time employee of DreamWorks Animation she worked on the Academy Award®-winning Shrek, Flushed Away, Puss in Boots, Spirit and Sinbad. She moved back into live-action VFX with the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, supervising over 1100 shots across multiple facilities worldwide. Subsequently returning to DreamWorks, she worked on a number of feature animation projects in development, and has since consulted on multiple animated and live-action features. Wendy is a member of the Academy, BAFTA, VES and Women in Animation.

Yvonne Muinde
Matte Painting Supervisor // Scanline VFX
(Avatar, The Hobbit, Rise of Planet of the Apes, Happy Feet, San Andreas, Independence Day 2)

YvonneAs a Matte painting supervisor, Yvonne has worked for world renowned Academy Award-winning directors on several high-profile productions. Her matte painting career has taken her from California, Australia, New Zealand and now Canada, working on a wide range of films, Happy Feet, Avatar, The Hobbit, Planet of the Apes, Independence Day 2 to name a few. In 2009, she, with her co workers, earned the Visual Effects Society Award for Outstanding Matte Painting in a Feature Film for their work on Avatar.

Yvonne’s art career began as a fine artist and mural painter. After establishing her visual narrative style of painting, she participated in several solo and group shows. One of her artistic achievements came when she applied for, and was awarded a public mural commission for the city of Denver, which was installed in the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library. She continues the pursuit of honing her skills in fine art and expanding both her talents and her audience in the effort to bring the narrative and stories we all speak about, and turning those into the narratives that we all can see. Her traditional fine art base is what she attributes to helping her develop and excel as a successful matte painter in creating realistic and, hopefully, memorable epic matte paintings and environments.

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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