Year after year, SPARK FX presents some of the most creative and innovative work being done in VFX for both film and television.
Don't miss your opportunity to go behind the scenes of the most buzzed-about movies and TV with the innovators of technology and the artists who bring it all to life.
In partnership with the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), we are pleased to dedicate Sunday, 16 February to open source for visual effects. Meet the leaders in the community, see case studies and examples of use in the industry, and bring technology and artistry together in Vancouver's budding VFX open source community.
The Weekend Pass is $100 and provides access to all sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Individual session tickets are $20 unless otherwise noted.
Sunday Day Pass is $50 and provides access to the Sunday sessions only.
Get into the SPARK FX groove at the opening night mixer. Unwind and mingle with fellow industry friends and colleagues, meet the speakers, and share in drinks and appetizers.
7:30 PM · Ask the Supervisors: Insights & Tips from the Top
Troubleshooters, magicians, creative thinkers, fearless leaders. VFX supervisors are on a project from inception to delivery, ensuring that a filmmaker's vision is possible and then rallying the artists and technicians to deliver that vision.
Betsy Paterson (Marco Polo, Incredible Hulk, Carnival Row), Chris Downs (Ad Astra, The Dark Tower), and Joern Grosshans (Game of Thrones, Hugo, Spider-Man: Far From Home) have decades of experience and a multitude of awards and accolades. They will share insights into how they got to where they are in their careers, the things they have learned, and the tools that they use.
The industry is constantly in flux and panelists will look ahead and share insights into how the role of VFX supervisors is changing and where they see it going in the future, and also sharing details on the tools and technology currently in development that they are most excited for.
At the end of the panel, there will be a prize draw for a Production Collective License valued at over $10,000.
Saturday - February 15, 8:30 AM WEEKEND PASS SPARK FX 2020: WEEKEND PASS
Your weekend pass grants you access to all of the SPARK Conference events including:
Opening Night Mixer + Panel on Friday, 14 February (includes one complimentary drink ticket).
Access to all sessions on Saturday, 15 February.
Access to all sessions on Sunday, 16 February.
Conference passes are $100 (taxes included).
Shop with friends and save! Group sales available until midnight on Thursday, 13 February. Buy 5 or more passes and save 10%!
Note that the group discount is only available via advance, online sales and will not be available at the venue.
Join Digital Domain's Animation Supervisor Liz Bernard and Head of Animation Jan Philip Cramer to discuss VFX animation in major VFX tentpoles. Terminator: Dark Fate, Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame have been dominating last year's box office and were all created with the help of Digital Domain. From mocap to keyframe, each movie will highlight different techniques to bring CG characters to life alongside some of Hollywood's biggest stars.
Framestore created more than 50 distinctive dæmons for HBO/BBC's His Dark Materials, effectively bolstering the show's overall cast with its CGI creations. Shawn Hillier, VFX Supervisor and Aulo Licinio, Animation Supervisor will uncover the intricate process involved in crafting each dæmon's personality — including the bear-like panserbjørns — to ensure emotional, realistic interactions between human actors and fully-CG characters.
Join the Industrial Light & Magic visual effects team as they take you behind the scenes of Tim Miller's Terminator: Dark Fate. From their early concept work right through to the finished product, this was a large project with a wide scope of effects — from air battles to underwater terminator fights and reimagining the liquid metal villain to name a few! The team drew inspiration from the classic 1991 film, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which helped create the effects foundation for this new installment in the franchise. They will touch on many of the major challenging effects from the film and dig into digital characters, liquid metal FX development, conceptualizing the Rev-9 and much more!
Saturday - February 15, 2:30 PM SESSION CREATING A DIGITAL WILL SMITH FOR ANG LEE'S GEMINI MAN Presented by Weta Digital moderator: Heather Zolis with Stuart Adcock
Weta Digital's Stuart Adcock discusses how they created an entirely digital 23 year-old Will Smith to portray the character Junior for director Ang Lee's latest project. Stuart reveals how a more detailed scientific analysis of blood flow, facial muscle activations, skin elasticity and pore compression led Weta to re-architect their character pipeline to create a digital performance at 4K/120 frames-per-second. Stuart explains how the process doesn't rely on photography for the final image, and how that freedom meant the fully digital Junior could do anything Ang Lee could imagine.
In Jumanji: The Next Level, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. Join Sony Imageworks' VFX supervisor, Jason Greenblum and animation supervisor, Craig McPherson, along with Rodeo FX' CG supervisor, François Lord as they discuss the spectacular VFX work completed by both studios.
Sony Pictures Imageworks was tasked with the desert sequence. The VFX work includes hero digital ostriches, a digital ostrich crowd of thousands, digital double work, digital desert environment enhancement, digital desert environment replacement, a digital chasm location, digital enhancement of practical dune buggies, fully CG dune buggies as well as sand, dust, and debris FX simulations to enhance and integrate our ostriches and dune buggies into the desert environment.
Rodeo FX was responsible for amazing creature work — dromedaries, horses and hippos — and detail-challenging sequences such as the massive Ice Wall, the Oasis City, the Berry Tree, and an array of spectacular visual effects, from animation to digidoubles, environments, and extensive FX simulations.
More than 80% of the industry uses open source software, particularly for animation and visual effects, yet this widespread use has also created challenges including siloed development, managing multiple versions of OSS libraries ("versionitis") and varying governance and licensing models that need to be addressed in order to ensure a healthy open source ecosystem. This presentation will provide an overview of the Academy Software Foundation and how it is working to address these challenges and increase the quality and quantity of open source software across the industry.
C. The Legal Evolution of Free & Open Source Licensing: A Brief Lighthearted Summary
Speaker: McCoy Smith
Moderator: Zoe Cranley
This presentation will give a brief and lighthearted summary of the way in which the legal mechanisms have evolved in free and open source licensing over the past 30+ years. See how these licenses have adapted to various trends or developments in the legal world (copyrights, patents, contracts, etc.), and what that might mean for the future of free and open source licensing. A brief overview of recent and potential future legal controversies will also be presented.
In early 2018, Blue Sky Studios began a transformation in its production technology from a structure built around the proprietary software that it was founded on, to one including new internal developments, use of open source standards and redefining vendor relationships. Along with others in the film community, Blue Sky Studios became a founding member of the Academy Software Foundation, an organization dedicated to collaboration and fostering the open source initiatives that are important to the industry as a whole. Presented by Hank Driskill, CTO of Blue Sky Studios, this talk discusses the challenges and rewards of this development.
Christos Obretenov will be presenting the latest work in Stylized Non Photoreal Rendering (NPR) with modern path tracers. These techniques in line work, illustrative lighting, and painterly, are being used in current feature films in development. Specifically the focus will be on custom shading using Open Shading Language (OSL) and implementation in Pixar's RenderMan and Sony Pictures Imageworks in house OSL/Arnold, and look development techniques for Stylized rendering.
This talk will share a snapshot of a creative project in development, which will bring real-time visual effects and virtual production together with live circus-based theatrical performance. Real-time motion capture of performers, including acrobats, aerialists, dancers, and jugglers, will drive the movement of their digital doubles and animated effects in the virtual world shared simultaneously by attendees of the live performance and online participants. Leveraging Unreal Engine open source tools, the project will advance virtual production and performance technologies. Thanks to Epic Games for supporting Lifelike & Believable and Animatrik as first round recipients in its Epic MegaGrants program.
OpenColorIO (OCIO) is an open source project at the Academy Software Foundation for creating and displaying consistent images across multiple content creation applications during visual effects and animation production. It has been used on dozens of feature films including Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Man™: Homecoming, Hotel Transylvania 3, Ghostbusters, Alice in Wonderland, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Surf's Up, and Watchmen. This session will provide an overview of OCIO, progress on OCIO version 2, and Q&A.
B. Studio Open Source Projects: A Whirlwind Tour & Participation Opportunities
Speaker: Larry Gritz
Moderator: Sang Mah
Open source software such as OpenEXR, OpenVDB, OpenTimelineIO, and Open Shading Language is critical to VFX and animation production. This talk gives an introductory tour through a number of vital packages that are developed and supported by the big studios, their history, and use. How are the most successful projects organized and run and what are the best practices? What are the roads to participation and how can you get involved?
This talk will explore how intersecting technologies have paved way for real-time production methodologies and how they are redefining and advancing the art of visual storytelling for the new decade. Kathryn will take a deep dive defining Virtual Production tools, techniques, and team building strategies that are essential to uniting creatives around a common vision, effectively maximizing both creative and financial resources.
Halon Entertainment is a full-service visualization company that brings together industry leading Directors, Supervisors and Artists who are committed to advancing the art of storytelling. We rely on cutting edge technology and real-time workflows to deliver reliable, client focused digital production solutions that integrate into any pipeline.
Courtesy of Halon Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
In its early days, The Coalition Studio assembled a team of experienced professionals with pre-rendered cinematic know-how to create 1080P HD rendered scenes for their games. The studio wanted to raise the bar with Gears 5 and looked to highlight 4K gameplay on Xbox One X and PC, but also ship on Xbox One supporting only 1080P HD content. Shipping multiple rendered resolutions wasn't an option, and only one answer made sense — create real-time cinematics. The idea of real-time cutscenes is nothing new to games or Gears of War, but it posed a challenge to our pre-rendered cinematics team in learning how to weave its scenes into the inner workings of a game. This talk will focus on why the team moved to real-time cinematics, present some of the challenges in the process, and show results of the team's hard work.
Advancements in "in-camera visual effects" are transforming the art of filmmaking. With software developments that marry a real-time game engine and on-set video equipment, filmmakers can now achieve final pixels visual effects while still on set, thereby allowing for a new level of creative collaboration and experimentation in principal photography — as well as greater efficiency. These new developments allow changes to digital scenes, even those at final pixel quality, to be seen instantly.
This special Spark FX talk will highlight the latest projects in the industry, including a recent proof-of-concept demo developed by Epic Games in partnership with Lux Machina, Magnopus, Profile Studios, Quixel, ARRI, and DP Matt Workman to demonstrate how LED walls can provide not only virtual environments but also lighting for real-world elements, so the entire scene can be captured in camera in a single pass.
Image courtesy of Epic Games. All Rights Reserved.
Lead Generalist Artist // ILM
(Terminator: Dark Fate, Aquaman, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Spectre)
Aaron Barr has been in the visual effects industry for 17 years. He started in animation, after completing a digital character animation course at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. Barr worked as a character artist for animated feature films for 10 years at Rainmaker Animation, Animal Logic and Pixar Canada.
He transitioned out of animation in 2013 and moved into creature and environment work as a Generalist. In this new discipline he worked at Image Engine and Scanline before starting at Industrial Light & Magic in 2014, where he currently works as a Lead Generalist. Barr has worked on many notable projects, including but not limited to, Aquaman, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Spectre, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Game of Thrones.
In 2019, Barr was nominated for a Visual Effects Society Award for Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature for his work on Aquaman.
Animation Supervisor // DNEG
(Avatar, Pacific Rim Uprising, Iron Man 3, Tin Tin)
With 20 years of animation experience, Aaron Gilman is Head of Animation as well as an Animation Director at DNEG in Vancouver, having recently completed work on Togo for Walt Disney Pictures. Prior to this, Aaron served as Director of Animation on one of the biggest projects in DNEG's history — the earth-shaking Pacific Rim Uprising — and supervised animation on the prehistoric action drama Alpha.
Aaron's considerable career achievements include several nominations for his work on Hollywood blockbusters, culminating in an Annie Award nomination for his leadership of the animation of Azog, the fearsome King of the Orcs in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. He also received two award nominations for his expert supervisory work on Iron Man 3.
Before joining DNEG, Aaron was a long-time senior animator and supervisor at Weta Digital, where he was an integral part of major projects such as Iron Man 3, all three Hobbit films, Alvin & The Chipmunks: Road Chip, Avatar and The Avengers (2012). Aaron studied animation at the Vancouver Film School. His rich and varied experience and contributions to highly significant shows mark him as a major talent, passionately dedicated to creative storytelling solutions, and a crucial member of the DNEG team.
VFX Supervisor // ILM
(Terminator: Dark Fate, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Fate of the Furious, Deadpool)
Alex Wang joined ILM's Vancouver office in 2017 as a Visual Effects Supervisor. He began his career in visual effects in 2003 as a Generalist TD at The Orphanage, Inc. in San Francisco, California. He worked on films such as The Day After Tomorrow, Sin City, and Superman Returns. He quickly progressed as he became the Lighting Supervisor on Live Free or Die Hard.
In 2010, Wang moved to Vancouver to help launch Digital Domain's Vancouver office. In 2015, he was promoted to Visual Effects Supervisor on Deadpool, where he was an integral asset to the design of the character, Colossus, as his ideas were what brought the character to life. Just before joining ILM, Wang worked as the Visual Effects Supervisor at Double Negative for The Fate of the Furious.
Wang received his Bachelors of Fine Arts in Computer Animation at Ringling College of Art & Design.
From childhood, Amy has always known she would work in film and following her degree in Cinematography, Photography and Television Studies, Amy has been supporting this industry through the recruitment of top class talent. Since 2011, Amy has recruited for The Third Floor Visualization, Mikros Animation on Sherlock Gnomes, as well numerous TV and advertising companies.
Amy's love of nature and all things North America brought her to Vancouver in 2017, where she joined DNEG, recruiting for both their VFX features and TV projects. In May 2019, Amy joined her dream company: Industrial Light & Magic, and has been hiring the finest talent for Terminator: Dark Fate, as well as unannounced projects...
A confessed fan of the industry, Amy has been supportive of our community as an organizer for Renderman User Group events, in attendance of VES seminars and meet-ups, and has joined Spark in August 2019 as a volunteer.
Lifelike & Believable Animation Design
(Shape of the World, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine)
Athomas Goldberg has spent over 25 years developing real-time, interactive 3D animation systems for some of the biggest names in interactive entertainment, including Electronic Arts, THQ, and Microsoft Studios. In 2014, Athomas founded Lifelike & Believable Animation Design to provide creative and technical consulting services to companies bringing emotionally engaging, character-driven games and experiences to Console, PC, Mobile, and VR platforms. Past and present clients include Electronic Arts, Epic Games, 343 Industries, Oculus VR, Drifter Entertainment, Archiact VR, Zenimax Online Studios, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, DARPA, UC Santa Cruz & New York University.
In addition to his work with Lifelike & Believable, Mr. Goldberg has extensive experience in real-time motion-capture for live performance through his work as a co-founder of Pepper's Ghost New Media and Performing Arts Collective. Some notable works include worlds, a dance performance featured at the 2015 International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) in which 5 dancers on 3 separate stages in 2 cities performed together in a shared virtual stage, and Manipulation, an evening of one-act plays featured at the 2016 Vancouver Fringe Festival, which featured real-time tracking of dancers, puppeteers, and circus performers, and a wide variety of fast-moving juggling props.
Animation Supervisor // Framestore
(Tom & Jerry, His Dark Materials, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Paddington 2)
Originally from Brazil, Aulo draws from a wide pool of experience in feature film, TV, games and advertising — fitting in perfectly with Framestore's diverse range of creative activity.
Aulo began his career in boutique animation studios before a successful freelance career, honing his character and creature skills for over a decade. He relocated to Montreal in 2014, where he brought a range of fantastic, realistic and gruesome characters to life for film and TV such as A Monster Calls, The Legend of Tarzan and most recently, His Dark Materials.
Aulo started his career at Framestore as a Senior Animator on the Academy Award-winning Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, and was promoted to Associate Animation Supervisor for the movie's sequel.
In his spare time, Aulo enjoys BBQing (no matter the weather) and is an avid Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor.
As a versatile, dedicated animator, he has an expert grasp of his craft and has never turned away from a challenge. He is currently Animation Supervisor for Tom & Jerry.
Betsy Paterson has been a visual effects supervisor for the past 18 years, with over 25 years experience in the field. Her wealth of experience in CG character creation, combined with an expertise in integrating CG effects into live action settings, make her an ideal creative ally to directors of today's film and television projects. Betsy collaborates closely with filmmakers, throughout the creative process, from pre production to post production. She has overseen many large projects and international crews, working on sets around the world.
Betsy most recently served as the lead visual effects supervisor for Amazon's Carnival Row. Before that she was lead supervisor for Netflix' Marco Polo.
Betsy's visual effects supervisor credits include The Incredible Hulk, 300: Rise of an Empire, both of the Scooby-Doo movies, as well as The Ring Two. She has also provided expert set supervision on such projects as The Cabin in the Woods and Elf.
Betsy began her VFX career with her early positions at Manhattan Transfer, where she worked as a Flame artist, and later as an Inferno artist at the Computer Film Company. After joining Rhythm & Hues Studios in 1996, Betsy was actively involved in the development and expansion of the studio's 2D department before being elevated to VFX Supervisor on Scooby-Doo. She was one of the primary VFX Supervisors at R&H until 2013. Betsy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film from Vassar College.
Brett Ineson has close to 20 years' experience in visual effects, 15 of which has been spent in the field of performance capture. Brett sits on the board of the Motion Capture Society. He has worked in production with industry leaders such as Weta Digital and in technology development with Vicon, Lightstorm Entertainment and Autodesk. In 2004, he founded Animatrik Film Design to specialize in performance capture for film, games and television.
He is recognized as an expert in his field and continues to provide Virtual Production consulting services to industry leaders. He consistently pushes the boundaries for Virtual Production as a whole through the development and deployment of new solutions and innovations. Brett's film credits include District 9, Warcraft, Spiderman Homecoming, Deadpool 2, Ready Player One, Elysium, and Lord of the Rings: Return of the Kings.
VFX Supervisor // DNEG
(Jungle Cruise, Hobbs & Shaw, Ad Astra, The Dark Tower)
Chris Downs is VFX Supervisor at DNEG Vancouver with over fifteen years of experience working in feature film VFX. He is currently working on Jungle Cruise for Disney after acting as a CG supervisor on Hobbs & Shaw. Before his time on Hobbs & Shaw he most recently supervised VFX on Ad Astra and The Dark Tower. Prior to this, Chris worked as a CG Supervisor on Independence Day: Resurgence, Monster Trucks, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1. Additionally, he has been involved in the VFX of many acclaimed films, including Maleficent and Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and 2.
He studied Animation and Visual Effects at the Vancouver Film School, along with Computer Science and Fine Arts degrees from the University of Waterloo. He began his career in 2005 as a Character Finaler at a Feature Animation studio, and worked his way into various Lighting TD roles at different renowned VFX houses. In 2011, Chris took his Lighting TD experience to fill a Lead role for two years and from there moved into CG Supervision and then onto VFX Supervision.
From the start of his career to this point, he has has contributed to over 20 films, and shows no signs of slowing down; his enthusiasm and passion for the industry is unmatched as showcased through over 15 years of VFX experience.
Chris van Dyck
Founder, VFX Supervisor // CVD VFX
(The Hobbit Trilogy, TRON, Harry Potter, Iron Man, Thor: The Dark World)
CVD VFX founder, Chris van Dyck is a Vancouver-based VFX Artist and Supervisor in the commercial, film, and television industry. With over 16 years in the industry, he brings experience from some of the top studios around the world: WETA Digital, Industrial Light & Magic, Method, Rising Sun Pictures, Animal Logic, MPC, The Embassy and Prime Focus. Some of his most notable credits include: The Hobbit Trilogy, Warcraft, Thor 2, Life of Pi, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, TRON: Legacy, Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, Iron Man and Frank Miller’s 300.
Chris has conducted lectures for the VES, SIGGRAPH, and the Art Institute, been published by Digital Fusion on the topic of Digital Compositing, published by SIGGRAPH on the film industry in Vancouver and has taught Digital Compositing for over 7 years at the following schools: VanArts, Think Tank and Lost Boys.
Currently, he is the creative director at CVD VFX and excited to continually grow a talented team on the north shore and sea-to-sky corridor.
CEO, Shading Architect // LollipopShaders
(The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Sausage Party, Michael Jackson: Slave to the Rhythm, Life of Pi)
Educated at Simon Fraser University with a BSc in Computing Science, specializing in Computer Graphics, Christos Obretenov started contributing to the animation and film industry at Mainframe Entertainment in conjuction with Simon Fraser University. He continued his career by designing and developing shading software for Walt Disney's The Wild feature film, followed by shading and lighting for Superman Returns, Spider-Man 3, Beowulf, Christmas Carol, Mars Needs Moms, and Life of Pi (which won the 2013 Oscar for Best Visual Effects) feature films. Recently co-founding LollipopShaders.com, Christos develops procedural solutions to shading and lighting, currently experimenting with Physically Plausible Shading. He resides in Vancouver, Canada.
Animation Supervisor // Sony Pictures Imageworks
Craig McPherson is an animation supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks. His credits include: Jumanji: The Next Level, Men in Black: International, The Meg, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Edge of Tomorrow, Oz the Great & Powerful, Men in Black 3, and The Smurfs.
Prior to joining Imageworks, McPherson served as a character supervisor on: Escape From Planet Earth and animator on District 9, Outlander, and Happy Feet. He has also worked in the fields of video games, television, and visual arts.
McPherson earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology/Anthropology from the University of Alberta, completed an internship in New Media at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and received a diploma in Multimedia Development.
Prior to a career in animation, McPherson worked as a personal trainer and is certified by the American Council of Exercise.
VFX Supervisor // Method Studios
(Thunder Force, Ford v Ferrari, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Thor: Ragnarok)
Dave is a highly regarded VFX Supervisor with a 25-year career and work on 40 features, most recently finishing work on 20th Century Fox' auto racing showdown Ford v Ferrari, which received a 2020 VES Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects. The Australian native got his start as a Flame artist, advancing as a compositor for a decade before co-founding Fuel VFX in Sydney. He spent more than 10 years at the studio building its reputation for excellence and leading teams as a VFX Supervisor on more than a dozen features including Australia, Captain America: The First Avenger, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and more.
After Fuel was acquired by Animal Logic, Dave went on to supervise the team on Unbroken and other features for that studio before joining Image Engine in 2015, where he was VFX Supervisor on Point Break, Power Rangers and Thor: Ragnarok. Dave worked production-side for Lionsgate's Kin as the show's overall VFX Supervisor, and on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom before joining Method in spring 2018. Dave currently is a visual effects supervisor on Netflix' superhero comedy, Thunder Force. He's a member of the VES and was formerly a Board Member of its Australian chapter.
Executive Director // Academy Software Foundation
Head // Epic Games Los Angeles Lab
David Morin is Executive Director of the Academy Software Foundation. He is also Head of the Epic Games Los Angeles Lab.
At the Academy Software Foundation, David works for the Governing Board to develop the use of open source software in the motion picture industry.
At Epic Games, David works with the Enterprise team to develop the use of the Unreal engine in the Film and Television industries.
Previously David was president of David Morin, LLC, a diversified consultancy specializing in immersive production with clients such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Arri Inc., Autodesk, Epic Games, Shotgun Software and others.
David is also chairman of the Joint Technology Committee on Virtual Production, the Joint Technology Committee on Virtual Reality, and a past co-chair of the Joint Technology Subcommittee on Previsualization. David earned a B.Sc.A. in computer science from Laval University (Quebec City, Canada) and has participated in the development of motion capture and 3D software since Jurassic Park at companies such as Softimage, Microsoft, Avid Technology, Autodesk and Epic Games.
Business Consultant, VFX Production & Bidding // The Hoffman Group
Dennis Hoffman, a veteran of the visual effects industry, has held numerous positions in the film industry and is currently providing services through The Hoffman Group, including business consulting, VFX production and bidding. Prior to his current position, Dennis has held positions as the President of Stargate Studios Vancouver, as well as the Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Framestore in Montreal. While at Framestore, Hoffman oversaw numerous projects including Paddington, a Studio Canal project, Mowgli, legend of the Jungle a Netflix Production and Pan, a Warner Bros/RatPac-Dune Production.
Hoffman has held executive positions at several other VFX companies including Digital Domain, Deluxe owned VFX facilities, Method and CIS, as well as Cinesite and Dream Quest Images. Over the years, Hoffman has been involved in numerous projects recognized for their visual effects including, Flags of Our Fathers and Changeling (VES- Best Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Film), as well as Oscar nominee Mighty Joe Young, VES nominee Invictus and Earth 2, an Emmy award winner for Best VFX.
Hoffman is a founding member of the Visual Effects Society, and currently serves on both its International Board, as well as the board of the Vancouver section. In addition, Hoffman is a board member of the Spark CG Society which holds Animation and VFX conferences and film festivals in Vancouver. Dennis holds an MFA in Film from California Institute of the Arts and a BA in Political Science/International Affairs from the George Washington University in Washington D.C.
Director of Marketing Communications // The Linux Foundation
Emily Olin is the Director of Marketing Communications at The Linux Foundation and leads marketing communications for Academy Software Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux. Prior to joining The Linux Foundation, Emily led the technology account for Ford Motor Company at Hill+Knowlton Strategies. She has a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Miami.
François Lord is lead Pipeline Architect and CG Supervisor at Rodeo FX. He began his career as a CG generalist and subsequently had many supervision roles like VFX supervisor, on-set supervisor and technical director. He worked on unforgettable films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Arrival and Sicario, action classics like 300 and more recently, fan favourites Fantastic Beasts and Jumanji: Next Level. Over the span of his career, he developed advanced scripting skills and began writing automated tools. Today, his main role is to develop the pipeline and improve tools for artists. François is also a lecturer at Centre NAD where he teaches camera tracking, photorealism, and production architecture.
Head of Creature // DNEG
(Alita: Battle Angel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Chappie, Harry Potter franchise)
Fred 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.
Freddy Chávez Olmos
Compositing Supervisor // Method Studios
(The Man in the High Castle, Skyscraper, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, District 9)
Freddy was born in Puebla, Mexico, he attended school for Special Effects Makeup in LA and was mentored by the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist). After graduating, he moved to Canada and enrolled in a film and VFX school in Vancouver, BC. During his career at some of the top VFX studios in the industry, Freddy was able to work on projects directed by a number of top filmmakers from, Guillermo del Toro, Neill Blomkamp, Robert Rodriguez, Tim Burton to Christopher Nolan. When he isn't working his day job, currently Compositing Supervisor at Method Studios Vancouver, he is directing his own short films. His first short film entitled Shhh, won several international awards and was praised by director Guillermo del Toro. More recently, Freddy completed his next horror project Duérmete Niño, produced by Victoria Burkhart (Elysium, CHAPPiE) in collaboration with Creative BC and Bell Media in Canada.
FX Supervisor // ILM
(Terminator: Dark Fate, Only the Brave, Doctor Strange, Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Georg Kaltenbrunner joined Industrial Light & Magic in 2014 as an FX Lead, and is currently an FX Supervisor. Georg oversees the day to day work of the FX team, both creatively and technically. He is also very involved when it comes to hiring and casting crew for specific show needs.
After finishing Waldorf School in his hometown of Vienna, Austria, Georg went to SAE College to study digital film. His career started at various TV commercial houses, as well as game start-ups. In 2005, he moved to Chicago were he continued to work on high profile national TV commercials. After moving to London in 2007, Georg freelanced at various post production houses before traveling to Montreal to work on John Woo’s Red Cliff 2. Georg went on to work at Double Negative, Digital Domain, and Sony Picture Imageworks before coming to ILM.
Georg has won two Annie Awards for Doctor Strange and Avengers respectively. He’s been nominated for three VES Awards for Avengers (Simulation) and Only the Brave (Simulation and Supporting VFX).
Cinematics Director // The Coalition Studio (Microsoft)
Greg Mitchell has spent over a decade as Cinematics Director for the award-winning video game series, Gears of War. After previously working 15 years in television and film, Greg ventured into video game cinematics in 2005 and contributed to titles such as Mortal Kombat, Infinity Blade, Bulletstorm, and Shadow Complex. Greg has held positions at Midway and Epic Games, and now drives the cinematic vision for Gears of War at The Coalition Studio in Vancouver, BC.
CTO // Blue Sky Studios
(Spies in Disguise, Moana, Big Hero 6)
Dr. Hank Driskill is the Chief Technology Officer at Blue Sky Studios, and is thrilled to be a part of Blue Sky's team. Hank has encouraged a philosophy that innovation in our field should always be in service of making movies that matter; sharing technology across our industry through mechanisms like the ASWF will only help every studio tell stories that mean something. Hank grew up in the small town of Gardner, Kansas. He received bachelor degrees in both Computer Science and Astronomy from the University of Kansas, going on to earn his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Utah. He embarked on his professional career at Digital Domain, where he helped bring films such as Apollo 13, Dante's Peak, The Fifth Element and Titanic to life. Hank then spent 20 years at Walt Disney Animation Studios as part of the studio's leadership, most recently serving as Technical Supervisor on Big Hero 6 and Moana.
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.
VFX Supervisor // Image Engine Design
(Spider-Man: Far From Home, Game of Thrones, Independence Day: Resurgence, Hugo)
Having worked in the UK and Germany, Jörn has supervised such titles as Independence Day: Resurgence on behalf of Mackevision, and Star Trek: Into Darkness, Oblivion, and Academy Award Winner for Best Achievement in Visual Effects Hugo, on behalf of Pixomondo.
Jörn won the VES Award in 2013 and Emmy Award in 2013 and 2014 for his work on Game of Thrones, a show he has contributed to for over six seasons as VFX supervisor. Jörn has recently wrapped work on Marvel's Spider-Man: Far From Home.
With a keen eye for detail, in-depth understanding of visual effects from development through to delivery, and experience in on-set supervision, Jörn offers expertise at every stage of production.
James Jacobs is the co-CEO and Founder of Ziva Dynamics. Prior to starting Ziva, James spent more than 20 years working in VFX and Animation, where he was awarded with a 2013 Science & Engineering Academy Award. Other career highlights include a Daytime Emmy and a VES nomination. James has received critical acclaim for his professional contributions to blockbusters such as Avatar, Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Prometheus, and King Kong.
Jan Philip Cramer
Head of Animation // Digital Domain
(Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool, Avatar)
Jan Philip Cramer is Digital Domain's Head of Animation as well as one of the industry's leading Animation Directors. He has garnered an impressive list of credits and accolades as Animation Director in his 14-year career, including winning a VES award for his work on the digital character Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.
As Head of Animation, Phil oversees the department, pushing the boundaries of what's possible in visual effects and animation. His methodology is to consistently refine the process which streamlines the overall pipeline, ultimately creating a more effective workflow. Phil has supervised animation on multiple blockbuster feature films including Ender's Game, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Deadpool, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War. Additionally, Phil led animation on James Cameron's Avatar.
Recently, Phil completed work as Animation Director on Marvel Studio's hugely successful Avengers: Endgame. Phil is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Visual Effects Society. He holds a B.F.A Degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco which recognized him with an Emerging Artist & Outstanding Alumni Award. Phil is an integral part of Digital Domain's global visual effects team and is based in Vancouver.
VFX Supervisor // Sony Pictures Imageworks
Jason Greenblum is a VFX supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks most recently overseeing SPI's work on Jumanji: The Next Level. He previously served as DFX supervisor on The Meg, Smallfoot, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Hotel Transylvania 2 and Ghostbusters.
Additional Imageworks projects include: Oz the Great & Powerful, Green Lantern, Due Date, G-Force, Body of Lies, I Am Legend, Spider-Man 3, Ghost Rider, Superman Returns, and the Academy Award ®-winning Spider-Man 2.
Greenblum previously worked at Method Studios as a compositing supervisor on Let Me In and A Nightmare on Elm Street. He was at Weta Digital serving as a compositing sequence lead on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and senior compositor on The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Earlier credits earned at Rhythm & Hues include Stuart Little 2, Men in Black 2, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone, Cats & Dogs, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Bedazzled, Battlefield Earth, and Stuart Little. At Digital Domain he contributed to Supernova and The Fifth Element.
Greenblum was awarded a BFA from the University of Georgia.
Production Technology Department Manager // DNEG
Jessica has been collaborating with teams in the tech industry for over a decade, contributing to workflow, process and diverse projects in leading tech companies such as Rogers Communications, Digital Domain, MPC and the American Marketing Association. Throughout her career, she has always strived to reconcile technology and humanity and make tech more accessible and intuitive for its users.
She strives to make others around her develop their full potential and has been a pillar in the Tech community for many years. As Co-Founder of YVRFF (Vancouver Virtual Reality Film Festival), and Founder of CRAFTGRAPH (a networking series bringing together professionals from the computing, recording and art & film technologies fields) she has been a champion of change, creative collaboration and innovation.
Jessica is currently the Production Technology Department Manager at DNEG in Vancouver. As ProdTech Department Manager, she provides dedicated and consistent line management, ensuring appropriate crewing and career development for the R&D and Pipeline teams.
Producer, Project Manager // Halon Entertainment
Kathryn Brillhart is a director, cinematographer, and innovator in experimental media.
Her unique experience producing volumetric capture, cinematic content, and visual effects set her apart.
Behind the camera as a cinematographer, Kathryn works consistently in several formats and styles: feature film, short film, music video, and documentary. Her experience in Visual Effects and immersive media have created several opportunities to collaborate globally on 3D Theme Park Media, VR, and Virtual Production projects. Her body of work explores deeper human issues by pushing the boundaries of visual poetry, movement, and mixed media.
She is also known for curating public screenings to give context for her films as well as provide exposure for other artists.
Kathryn's work has been screened in many festivals and local Los Angeles based curated shows including: The Los Angeles New Wave International Film Festival, The Atlanta Film Festival, The Southern Shorts Awards, The Selflessness of Space Immersive Arts Exhibition, TTLF Fest 2014, The Art of Post 2016 as well as The Toronto Black Film Festival and The Hollywood Black Film Festival 2017.
In her spare time, Kathryn is an active volunteer and member of the Board of Directors for the Visual Effects Society. She also serves on the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council, Virtual Production Committee, Alliance of Women Directors, and Women in Media.
Lead Visualization Artist // Halon Entertainment
(The Call of the Wild, Ford v. Ferrari, Ad Astra, Aquaman)
Kristin is a Lead Visualization Artist for Halon Entertainment in Santa Monica, California. After graduating from The Digital Animation and Visual Effects School she joined the studio as a Postvis artist on Alice Through the Looking Glass, before embarking as an integral member of the Previs teams for both Logan, and War for the Planet of the Apes. Kristin's talents have contributed to a variety of projects on the studio's slate including commercials, video game trailers, and theme park rides. Her most recent projects include Previs Lead on James Gray's Ad Astra, as well as The Call of the Wild Virtual Production team, and as Previs Lead on Academy Award Best Picture nominee Ford v. Ferrari.
Software Engineering Architect // Sony Pictures Imageworks
Dr. Larry Gritz is the Software Engineering Architect for Sony Pictures Imageworks, developing rendering technology as well as managing SPI's open source efforts. Larry has a BS in computer science from Cornell University, MS and DSc from the George Washington University, and has held engineering management positions at Pixar, Exluna, and NVIDIA prior to joining Imageworks in 2008. Larry is the administrator and lead author of two open source projects widely used in VFX: OpenImageIO, and Open Shading Language, for which he won an Academy Sci-Tech award in 2017. Larry is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Animation Supervisor // Digital Domain
(Terminator: Dark Fate, Captain Marvel, Thor: Ragnarok, Beauty & the Beast)
Elizabeth "Liz" Bernard is an Animation Supervisor at Digital Domain with more than 18 full-length feature film and several shorts and episodics work credits. She most recently supervised animation on Terminator: Dark Fate and on Captain Marvel. Currently, she and her team are hard at work creating hilarious visuals and performances on the upcoming feature comedy Free Guy, staring Ryan Reynolds and Taika Watiti.
Liz holds a B.A. in Drama from the University of Virginia, and has an extensive background in theatre arts both on- and back-stage, as well as photography, all of which combine to give her an exceptional eye for composition, scene building, and storytelling. She has a special passion for bringing animals, creatures, and monsters not just to life, but to an emotional connection with the audience. She has led animation on many blockbuster films including Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Power Rangers, and Disney's Beauty & the Beast, A Wrinkle in Time, and Maleficent, among many others.
Colour Scientist // DNEG
(Togo, First Man, Men in Black: International, Alita: Battle Angel)
Mario is a creative artist, technical director and colour technologist. Mario has years of experience in integrating the creative side of visual effects with unique artist perspective and pipeline software and tools. An in-depth understanding of color science concepts has allowed him to setup and develop colour pipelines in many facilities based on OCIO/Aces and custom requirements. Knowledge of underlying technology and artist perspective enable him to outline immediate and long term goals and work on them with pipeline developers. Mario also has strong UI and UX experience to create intuitive and responsive Pyside/PyQT interfaces for colour and pipeline tools.
Awards and Nominations: 14th VES awards for Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature on San Andreas (nominee); International Emmy Award for work on The Magic Tree TV series.
Model Supervisor // ILM
(Terminator: Dark Fate, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Kong: Skull Island, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
Marko Chulev has been working at Industrial Light & Magic for the past nine years. He started in Singapore in 2011, then moved to London in 2014 and has been in the Vancouver office since 2015. Since joining Industrial Light & Magic, Marko has contributed to many features including, Terminator: Dark Fate, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Kong: Skull Island, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Mummy, Warcraft, The Avengers and Star Trek: Into Darkness, among others.
As a Model Supervisor, Chulev specializes in the creation of creatures and digital humans as well as a focus on hair grooming and textures. Chulev oversees the day-to-day work of the DMS team both creatively and technically.
Marko began his career in 2005 in his home town of Skopje, Macedonia at Fx3x. His background covers all aspects of the pipeline, from modeling to compositing shots, with his current focus at ILM being asset development.
He is a self-taught artist, who is passionate about all aspects of visual effects. After finishing high school he was able to turn his hobby into a job and instead of going to school decided to pursue a career in visual effects. He is constantly learning new techniques and expanding his skillset using his free time to create realistic 3D art models and 3D prints.
Chulev was nominated for a Visual Effects Society Award in 2017 for Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project for his work on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Sr Colour Scientist // ILM
(Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Mandalorian, The Dark Knight, Inception)
Matthias Scharfenberg has been with ILM as a senior colour scientist for over 3 years. Prior to that, Matthias was at Double Negative for almost 12 years, also as a technical supervisor for Colour & Imaging Science.
He has contributed to numerous feature films and software projects during that time and is now actively involved in both the OpenColorIO and ACES projects.
Founding Attorney // Lex Pan Law
(Free & Open Source Software: Policy, Law & Practice (2020; publication pending))
McCoy Smith is the Founding Attorney at Lex Pan Law, and the Founder of Opsequio. Previously, he spent 20 years in the legal department of a Fortune 50 multinational technology company, where he set up open source compliance policies. He is also a sought-after speaker on intellectual property and open source legal issues.
McCoy is an editor on the Journal of Open Law, Technology & Society (JOLTS). He also served as co-chair of the Open Source Committee of the Intellectual Property Owner's Association (IPO).
He is licensed to practice law in Oregon, California & New York and U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. He has degrees from Colorado State University (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, with honours), Johns Hopkins University (Masters of Liberal Arts) and the University of Virginia (J.D.). Although based in Portland, Oregon, McCoy and his wife are part-time British Columbians, owning a home on Denman Island, BC.
Sang has 10+ years in the innovation, partnerships and next-gen talent space. She has been consultant, management and entrepreneur in the digital media and technology sectors, with roots in arts & tech from university spin-out, DanceForms, renown choreography software used by Merce Cunningham and other artists. Sang was previously Director of Interactive Media at Bardel Entertainment. Her current projects include partnerships development for real-time virtual effects and VR in circus performance. She holds a BSc in Computing Science and a MSc (CS, Animation & AI) from SFU. Sang is a member of the Spark CG Leadership Committee.
VFX Supervisor // Framestore
(His Dark Materials, Gotham, Jurassic World, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End)
Shawn brings extensive skill, knowledge and insight to Framestore, drawing from a rich pool of experiences that includes both film and TV. Shawn began his career working for boutique animation companies before being snapped up by ILM, where he worked on the Oscar-winning Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and the blockbuster Jurassic World, as well as being nominated for a VES Award for his work on Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
Shawn has recently deployed his skills on high-profile TV projects such as Legion (FX), Prison Break (20th Century Fox Television), Gotham (Warner Bros. Television) and The Flash (Warner Bros. Television), working with some of the medium's biggest names and bringing to life distinctive, globally-renowned IP with his trademark flair and precision.
Shawn enjoys the careful balance of technical know-how and creativity demanded of a VFX Supervisor, and he remains fascinated by the creative process by which he and his team help drive a film's narrative.
When not putting his creative and technical abilities to the test with Framestore, Shawn enjoys testing his physical limits with Ironman triathlons and marathon swims. He is currently training for a 10km ocean swim and, having worked on Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim (2013), thankfully knows how to avoid any sea-dwelling kaiju.
Head of Facial Motion Department // Weta Digital
Stuart Adcock is the Head of Weta Digital's Facial Motion Department. He joined Weta in 2018 to work on the cutting-edge digital characters that star in Alita: Battle Angel and Gemini Man.
The Facial Motion Department team is made up of two specialised teams, 'Facial Motion' and 'Facial Modelling' who work together to produce high-fidelity facial animation. As Head of Department, Stuart ensures his artists are equipped with the very best tools and techniques to deliver the world's best facial performances.
In his early career, Stuart worked at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Ninja Theory developing video games. He joined Industrial Light & Magic in 2015, where he spent several years supervising a research and development project focused on virtual production and the integration of real-time aspects into the VFX workflow.
In addition to Alita: Battle Angel and Gemini Man, Stuart has recently completed work on Avengers: Endgame, and Disney's remake of Lady & the Tramp. He is currently working across James Cameron's Avatar sequels.
Sue Rowe is a Visual Effects Supervisor at Scanline VFX. Originally trained as a traditional animator, Sue completed an MA in Computer Animation at the NCCA in the UK. From there, she moved from 3D animation to compositing, and now is a Visual Effect Supervisor for major Hollywood blockbusters.
Sue worked as overall VFX Supervisor and as a Facility Supervisor on films including The Meg (2018), The Maze Runner (2014), John Carter with Andrew Stanton (2012) and Tim Burton's Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Sue recently completed Series 3 of A Series of Unfortunate Events for Netflix, for showrunner Barry Sonnenfeld.
Lighting Lead // Method Studios
(ThunderForce, New Mutants, Ford v Ferrari, Christmas Chronicles)
Taylor Lenton started his career as a visual effects' artist in Vancouver, after attending Vancouver Film School. He is currently a CG supervisor at Method Studios, recently lending his talents to VES Awards nominated Ford v Ferrari and X-Men horror spinoff, The New Mutants. Prior to joining Method, Taylor worked at MPC and Cinesite, serving as Lead Lighting TD on Suicide Squad, The Mummy, A Wrinkle In Time, and Justice League. He is currently working on ThunderForce from director Ben Falcone.
Creature Supervisor // ILM
(Terminator: Dark Fate, Kong: Skull Island, Captain America: Civil War, Warcraft)
Wade Wilson started his visual effects career in 2008, as a runner at Rainmaker. After only two months he moved into Tech Animation where he was able to work on a wide range of projects from the racing game, Driver: San Francisco to the animated feature, Escape from Planet Earth.
Later, Wade moved to MPC where he worked as a Creature Lead on Guardians of the Galaxy, Game of Thrones and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
In 2014, Wilson joined Industrial Light & Magic as a Creature Supervisor where he has contributed to numerous films including Terminator: Dark Fate, A Wrinkle in Time, Kong: Skull Island, Deepwater Horizon, Warcraft and Captain America: Civil War.
Head of CG // DNEG
(Wonder Woman, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Godzilla, Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
Zoe Cranley joined DNEG after graduating in 2005. Originally based in London, she progressed through roles as Matchmove Artist, Generalist TD, Lighting TD, Lighting Lead and CG Sequence Supervisor working on the likes of Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix, The Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes, and John Carter. In early 2012, Zoe moved over to DNEG Singapore, as CG Sequence Supervisor before moving on to become CG Supervisor on the likes of Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Muppets Most Wanted, and Godzilla.
In 2015, Zoe took on the challenge of heading to British Columbia to help set up DNEG Vancouver. She worked as CG Supervisor on Alice Through the Looking Glass and Wonder Woman. In March 2017, Zoe took on the Head of Build Department role at DNEG and now currently role is the Head of CG for DNEG Vancouver. She is also on the leadership committee of SPARK CG Society and Vancouver ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter, of which one main responsibility is being the Conference Chair for SPARK FX.