Getting More Immersed with Indiewire


  The Penske Media purchase of Indiewire has resulted in an expansion of my role as crafts and awards season contributor.  Beginning this week, I begin Emmy coverage of below-the-line contenders along with my usual Oscar season crafts reporting, working closely

Immersed in Blu-ray: Hitchcock and Bogart


The WB Archive Collection gets Hitch and Bogie on Blu-ray and they've never looked better for home viewing. In Kent Jones' indispensable doc, Hitchcock/Truffaut, he reminds us that Truffaut was on a mission to correct misconceptions about Hitch as a lightweight

Immersed in Books: Farber on Film


For the first time, the complete writings of film critic Manny Farber is available from Library of America, edited by Robert Polito (Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson). Manny Farber (1917-2008) was the first modernist film critic to write like a modernist.

VES

Trumbull Talks Future Cinema

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Clips, Movies, Oscar, VES, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Doug Trumbull’s in town for some sci-tech love. Last night he was honored by the VES with the Georges Méliès Award, and Saturday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will bestow the Gordon E. Sawyer Award at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. I spoke with the visionary for my TOH column at Indiewire about higher frame rates and virtual production. He aims to improve theatrical presentation and raise the level of showmanship for a new kind of outside the box cinema experience.

Rango Wrangles 4 VES Awards

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, Shorts, Tech, VES, VFX, Videogames, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Rango followed its Annies victory lap with four more awards from the Visual Effects Society (including Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture) at last night’s 10th annual VES Awards at the Beverly Hilton. ILM’s Rango also won Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture, Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture, and Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture. Hugo, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon all took home two awards in the Feature Motion Picture categories, while Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones each garnered a pair of awards in the television categories.

Stan Lee received the Lifetime Achievement Award, thanking the VFX community for bringing his superhero characters to realistic-looking life, and  pioneer Douglas Trumbull received the Georges Méliès Award at the show, extolling the need for more showmanship and VFX recognition for artists. The host was Patton Oswalt (who’s also on a roll after the Annies). Antonio Banderas, Lou Ferrigno, directors Chris Miller, Marc Webb, and Jennifer Yuh Nelson, and a host of luminaries were on hand to present awards. A surprise appearance by Martin Scorsese, whose Hugo received two awards, talked about his love of Méliès and working with VFX supervisor Rob Legato.

The complete list of winners of the 10th Annual VES Awards is as follows:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture
Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Dan Lemmon, Joe Letteri, Cyndi Ochs, Kurt Williams

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
Hugo: Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning, Rob Legato, Karen Murphy

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Rango: Tim Alexander, Hal Hickel, Jacqui Lopez, Katie Lynch

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie, or Special
Inside the Human Body: Phil Dobree, Sophie Orde, Dan Upton

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series
Terra Nova – Occupation & Resistance: Kevin Blank, Colin Brady, Adica Manis, Jason Zimmerman

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones – Winter is Coming: Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor, Angela Barson, Ed Bruce, Adam McInnes

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Live Action Commercial
Dior J’adore: Pascal Giroux, Julien Meesters, Stephane Pivron, Manuel Souillac

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Commercial or Video Game Trailer
Diablo III: The Black Soulstone: Nicholas S. Carpenter, Graham Cunningham, Chris Thunig, Taka Yasuda

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Transformers the Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle: Lori Arnold, Yanick Dusseault, Delio Tramontozzi, Jeff White

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Caesar: Daniel Barrett, Florian Fernandez, Matthew Muntean, Eric Reynolds

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Rango – Rango: Frank Gravatt, Kevin Martel, Brian Paik, Steve Walton

Outstanding Animated Character in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Canal + The Bear: Laurent Creusot, Guillaume Ho, Olivier Mitonneau, Michal Nauzin

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Transformers: Dark of the Moon – 155 Wacker Drive: Giles Hancock, John Hanson, Tom Martinek, Scott Younkin

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Rango – Main Street Dirt: John Bell, Polly Ing, Martin Murphy, Russell Paul

Outstanding Created Environment in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Game of Thrones – The Icewall: Markus Kuha, Dante Harbridge Robinson, Damien Mac, Fani Vassiadi

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Hugo: Martin Chamney, Rob Legato, Adam Watkins, Fabio Zangla

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Rango – The Dirt Saloon: Colin Benoit, Philippe Rebours, Nelson Sepulveda, Nick Walker

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Gears of War 3 – Dust to Dust: Niles Heckman, Richard Morton, Vernon Wilbert Jr.

Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture
Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Driller: Tim Brakensiek, Kelvin Chu, David Fogler, Rene Garcia

Outstanding Models in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Boardwalk Empire – Georgia Peaches: Matthew Conner, Eran Dinur, David Reynolds, Szymon Weglarski

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture
Captain America: The First Avenger – Skinny Steve: Casey Allen, Trent Claus, Brian Hajek, Cliff Welsh

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Boardwalk Empire – Gimcrack & Bunkum: Anton Dawson. Eran Dinur, Austin Meyers, David Reynolds

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project
a.maize: Roman Kaelin, Falko Paeper, Florian Wittmann

The 10th Annual VES Awards will air exclusively on REELZCHANNEL Sunday, Feb. 19 at 10:00 pm ET/7pm PT with encore presentations throughout February. For more information on the VES Awards and the Visual Effects Society please visit www.visualeffectssociety.com

David Lipman Joins Digital Domain

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, Oscar, Tech, VES, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

David Lipman, formerly with Framestore and DreamWorks, has become VP of features and visual effects production at Digital Domain, which has Real Steel competing for the VFX Oscar.He will be based in Digital Domain’s Venice, studio reporting to Jody Madden, who has been promoted to SVP of global studio operations, overseeing production, technology, and operations for all of Digital Domain’s worldwide studios.

Digital Domain Media Group CEO and Chairman John Textor said, “Digital Domain has grown significantly in the past few years — from a single studio to now seven locations worldwide. Our talent base and digital production services have expanded, and we’ve expanded our leadership team accordingly to drive all areas of our feature film business. I am thrilled to have Jody and David leading visual effects, and Cliff Plumer, who is now an executive producer on Ender’s Game, leading our efforts in co-productions.”

Lipman joins Digital Domain to drive the features visual effects business, curating and guiding talent and working closely with studios. Lipman was managing partner at Framestore, where he founded the feature animation division, built the studio’s animation pipeline and crew, and exec produced the company’s inaugural project, The Tale of Desperaux.

He served as co-head of production at DreamWorks Animation for many years before moving to PDI/DreamWorks to become the co-executive producer on the Academy Award-winning feature Shrek. He wrote and produced the stereoscopic attraction Shrek 4D for Universal Theme Parks, and produced the blockbuster Shrek 2. Prior to DreamWorks, Lipman served as executive in charge of production and supervising producer at Hanna Barbera. He was also VP and executive producer for USAnimation, producing many television commercials and digital episodes of The Ren and Stimpy Show, Beavis & Butthead and The Simpsons. He has worked extensively in visual effects and animation as well as live action, having been both an assistant director and second unit director on a number of feature films. Lipman is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild. He spent the last several years in London developing live action and animated film projects.

“Digital Domain is exciting to me because of the combination of extraordinary talent and opportunity,” said Lipman. “Our goal is to expand our talent base and bring it to studios in new ways as Digital Domain becomes even more of a filmmaking partner to studios, directors and producers.”

VES Announces Board of Directors

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, performance capture, Tech, VES, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

The Visual Effects Society (VES), announced the 2012 Board of Director officers who were elected at the Jan. 18 board meeting. The list of officials includes Jeffrey A. Okun, head of visual effects for Prana Studios, who was re-elected for a fourth one-year term as board chair; Michael Fink as first vice chair; Pam Hogarth as second vice chair; Bob Coleman as treasurer; and Kim Lavery as secretary.

“I could not be more excited to serve again,” states Okun. “I am thrilled to be allowed to focus on our core mission: creating community, promoting visual effects and the artists who create them.  And I am equally thrilled to continue to push the VES 2.0 initiative forward — the initiative to reach out and bring all parties to the table to secure rights and benefits for our industry — across the board — in film, broadcast, special venue, commercials, games and animation!”

“I look forward to continuing the incredible working relationship Jeff and I have,” states Eric Roth, VES executive director. “He is an extraordinarily talented gentleman with a bottomless passion for visual effects and the VES while being uniquely suited to be the voice of the entertainment industry’s defining resource for our craft.”

The 2011 Officers of the VES Board of Directors are:

Chair: Jeffrey A. Okun

Jeffrey A. Okun has contributed visual effects design and execution to a wide-range of films including the award winning sci-fi hit Stargate (1994), Deep Blue Sea (1999), The Last Starfighter (1984), Sphere (1998), The Last Samurai (2003), Blood Diamond (2006), and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008).

Okun is known for creating ‘organic’ and invisible effects, as well as spectacular effects which seamlessly expand both the look and scope of a film, but also enhances the storytelling aspect of the movie. Additionally, Jeff is the creator of the revolutionary visual effects techniques dubbed the “PeriWinkle Effect” & the “Pencil Effect,” which have been used in many projects to help achieve more a sense of the fantastic, wonder and more accurate budgets. Okun is the author of breakdown, budgeting and tracking software currently being used by professionals throughout the industry.

First Vice Chair:

Michael Fink, Visual Effects Supervisor

Fink has earned degrees from California State University Northridge, San Francisco Art Institute, and California Institute of the Arts, in an attempt to disguise a checkered past.

Fink began working in film on China Syndrome in 1977.  He “cut his eye teeth” on films such as Star Trek the Motion Picture and Bladerunner, and became a Visual Effects Supervisor on War Games (BAFTA Nomination), in 1982.  He has since worked on over 50 films, including Buckaroo Banzai, Batman Returns (BAFTA and Academy Nominations), Braveheart, Mars Attacks!, X-Men, X-Men 2, Constantine, The Golden Compass (BAFTA Award, Academy Award), Tropic Thunder, Avatar, Tron: Legacy, Sucker Punch, and Tree of Life.

Fink is a founding member of the VES.  He is on the Advisory Board of SpaceCam Systems Inc., and is a Visiting Professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, while continuing his visual effects career.

Second Vice Chair: Pam Hogarth – Director of Marketing, Look Effects

Hogarth has spent more than 26 years in the world of visual effects, 20 of which doing marketing and education. Before joining LOOK she spent 12 years helping to build Gnomon School of Visual Effects into the premiere educational institution for careers in high-end CG. While doing that, she found time and energy to devote to the Visual Effects Society, serving multiple terms on the board of directors, including four years as executive secretary, is currently chair of the Benefits Committee and has been one of the abiding chairs of the Education Committee.

Treasurer: Bob Coleman, President, Digital Artists Agency

Coleman founded Digital Artists Agency in Los Angeles to represent an international and award-winning portfolio of artists for work in feature, commercial and related fields. He leverages his experience in top-level management positions at respected industry companies, with his high regard for artists, to further the development of the visual effects craft.

Secretary: Kim Lavery, VFX Producer

Lavery has experience from both the production & post sides of filmmaking and visual effects producing for a total of over two decades, having worked for Universal Studios on film production then shifting to visual effects in 1994. Since then, she has been instrumental in building out specialized visual effects boutique studios, working on films such as Frida, Minority Report, Cats and Dogs, Charlie’s Angels, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Terminator 3, Last Samurai, etc.

Aligning herself with the global marketplace, she worked at Weta Digital in various producing roles on; King Kong, XMen 3, Bridge to Terabithia, 30 Days of Night, Enchanted & The Water Horse, etc. Currently, Kim is continuing to bridge the gap between New Zealand and the US film and post production markets.

She has served on the VES Awards Committee since its inception in 2002; and has also served as a VES board member and Secretary for several terms: 2004 – present.

Tintin Leads VES Nominations with 6

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Events, Movies, performance capture, Production Design, Tech, VES, VFX, Videogames, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

The Visual Effects Society (VES) announced the nominees for its 10th Annual VES Awards ceremony recognizing outstanding visual effects artistry in 23 categories of film, animation, television, commercials, special venues, and video games. Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin led the pack with six nominations for Weta Digital, including outstanding animated feature and three for environments. The nominees for visual effects-driven feature were Captain America: First Avenger, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

The other nominees for animated feature were Arthur Christmas, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, and Rango. The nominees for supporting visual effects were Anonymous, Hugo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Source Code, and War Horse. The big surprise is that The Tree of Life was shut out, especially considering the involvement of Douglas Trumbull as creative consultant, who’s receiving the Georges Méliès Award. Perhaps this has to do with the lukewarm response to the dinosaurs. This does not bode well for its VFX Oscar chances.

Nominees were chosen Saturday by distinguished panels of VES members who viewed submissions at the FotoKem screening facilities in Burbank and New York, FotoKem’s Spy in San Francisco, and other facilities in London, Sydney, Vancouver, and Wellington, NZ.

“The standard of the creative work that is being considered this year is unbelievably high across all categories,” said Jeffrey A. Okun, chair of the Visual Effects Society. “The judges faced a huge challenge because all of the work was so far above the norm. We’re honored to have the opportunity to focus the spotlight on the outstanding work that has contributed to some of the highest grossing films and broadcast projects of all time.”

Along with Trumbull’s Georges Méliès Award, Stan Lee will be honored with the VES 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 10th Annual VES Awards will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and will air exclusively on ReelzChannel.

The nominees for the 10th Annual VES Awards are as follows:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture

Captain America: The First Avenger
Charlie Noble
Mark Soper
Christopher Townsend
Edson Williams

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Tim Burke
Emma Norton
John Richardson
David Vickery

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Gary Brozenich
David Conley
Charlie Gibson
Ben Snow

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Dan Lemmon
Joe Letteri
Cyndi Ochs
Kurt Williams

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Scott Benza
Wayne Billheimer
Matthew Butler
Scott Farrar

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture

Anonymous
Andre Cantarel
Volker Engel
Rony Soussan
Marc Weigert

Hugo
Ben Grossmann
Alex Henning
Rob Legato
Karen Murphy

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Laya Armian
Chas Jarrett
Seth Maury
Sirio Quintavalle

Source Code
Annie Godin
Louis Morin

War Horse
Duncan Burbidge
Ben Morris
Mike Mulholland
Chris Zeh

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

Arthur Christmas
Doug Ikeler
Chris Juen
Alan Short
Mandy Tankenson

Kung Fu Panda 2
Melissa Cobb
Alex Parkinson
Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Raymond Zibach

Puss In Boots
Joe Aguilar
Guillaume Aretos
Ken Bielenberg
Chris Miller

Rango
Tim Alexander
Hal Hickel
Jacqui Lopez
Katie Lynch

The Adventures of Tintin
Jamie Beard
Joe Letteri
Meredith Meyer-Nichols
Eileen Moran

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie, or Special

Finding Life Beyond Earth
Simon Clarke
Hasraf Dulull
Vikas Gandhi
Francisco Lima

Gettysburg
J. David Everhart
Kent Johnson
Jon Rhinehardt
Jon Rosenthal

Inside the Human Body
Phil Dobree
Sophie Orde
Dan Upton

Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice
Kevin Deters
Dorothy McKim
John Murrah
Stevie Wermers

The Bomber
Igor Gotsulyak
Dmitriy Kolesnik
Egor Olesov
Dmitriy Ovcharenko

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series

Falling Skies
Rob Biagi
Curt Miller
Andrew Orloff
Sean Tompkins

Fringe
Robert Habros
Andrew Orloff
Jay Worth
Chris Wright

Once Upon a Time
Laura Jones
Douglas Charles Ludwig
Andrew Orloff
Nate Overstrom

Planet Dinosaur
Phil Dobree
Luke Dodd
Haz Dulull
Mark Sherwood

Terra Nova
Kevin Blank
Colin Brady
Adica Manis
Jason Zimmerman

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program

Boardwalk Empire – Georgia Peaches
Richard Friedlander
Robert Stromberg
David Taritero

Bones – Tornado Case
Christian Cardona
Buddy Gheen
Beau Janzen
Andy Simonson

Breaking Bad – Face Off
Bruce Branit
Werner Hahnlein
Gregory Nicotero
William Powloski

Game of Thrones – Winter is Coming
Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor
Angela Barson
Ed Bruce
Adam McInnes

Pan Am – Pilot
Tavis Larkham
Chris Martin
Sam Nicholson
Matt Robken

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Live Action Commercial

Dior J’adore
Pascal Giroux
Julien Meesters
Stephane Pivron
Manuel Souillac

Jameson: Fire
Chris Bankoff
Dan Glass
Sascha M. Flick
Jeff Willette

Johnnie Walker: Rock Giant
Vincent Baertsoen
Camila de Biagi
Angus Kneale
Rob Petrie

Kia: Share Some Soul
Charles Abou Aad
Andy Boyd
Nordin Rahhali
Mike Wigart

Volkswagen: Hedgehog
Mhamed Elmezoued
Stephane Montel
Emilie Nicodex

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Commercial or Video Game Trailer

Audi A6 Avant – Hummingbird
Tom Bussell
Hugo Guerra
Rahel Makonnen
Jorge Montiel

Coca-Cola Siege
Russell Dodgson
Simon French
Diarmid Harrison-Murray
Sarah Hiddlestone

Diablo III: The Black Soulstone
Nicholas S. Carpenter
Graham Cunningham
Chris Thunig
Taka Yasuda

Prey 2
Heikki Anttila
Brandon Riza
Al Shier
Dave Wilson

Sony: 2 Worlds
Melanie Larue
David Liu
Richard Morton

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project

Amazin’
Marc Rienzo
Eric Sanford
Lisa Zusmer Delprete

Humbugged! Rockettes to the Rescue
Troy Griffin
Jasmine Johnson
Greg Lyons
Glo Minaya

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
Bill George
Jeanie King
Glen McIntosh
Marianne McLean

Transformers the Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle
Lori Arnold
Yanick Dusseault
Delio Tramontozzi
Jeff White

Typhoon 360
Peter Crosman
Seungyong Lee
Michael “oz” Smith
Brent Young

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Ukranian Ironbelly
Yasunobu Arahori
Tom Bracht
Gavin Harrison
Chris Lentz

Paul – Paul
Anders Beer
Julian Foddy
Jody Johnson
David Lowry

Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Caesar
Daniel Barrett
Florian Fernandez
Matthew Muntean
Eric Reynolds

The Thing – Edvard/Adam
Lyndon Barrois
Fred Chapman
Greg Massie
Marco Menco

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

Puss In Boots – Puss
Antonio Banderas
Ludovic Bouancheau
Laurent Caneiro
Olivier Staphylas

Rango – Rango
Frank Gravatt
Kevin Martel
Brian Paik
Steve Walton

Rio – Nigel
Diana Diriwaechter
Sang Jun Lee
Sergio Pablos
Aamir Tarin

The Adventures of Tintin – Tintin
Gino Acevedo
Gustav Ahren
Jamie Beard
Simon Clutterbuck

Outstanding Animated Character in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

Audi A6 Avant – Hummingbird
Tom Bussell
Jorge Montiel

Canal + – The Bear
Laurent Creusot
Guillaume Ho
Olivier Mitonneau
Michal Nauzin

Carls Jr. – Robot
Matt Heimlich
Fredd Hopp
Philip Ineno
Rob Ramsdell

Game of Thrones – Fire and Blood
Henry Badgett
Mark Brown
Rafael Morant
James Sutton

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture

Anonymous – London
Andre Cantarel
Robert Freitag
Rony Soussan
Greg Strasz

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Hogwarts
Keziah Bailey
Stephen Ellis
Clement Gerard
Pietro Ponti

Thor – Heimdall’s Observatory
Pierre Buffin
Audrey Ferrara
Yoel Godo
Dominique Vidal

Transformers: Dark of the Moon – 155 Wacker Drive
Giles Hancock
John Hanson
Tom Martinek
Scott Younkin

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

Puss In Boots – The Cloud World
Guillaume Aretos
Greg Lev
Brett Miller
Peter Zaslav

Rango – Main Street Dirt
John Bell
Polly Ing
Martin Murphy
Russell Paul

The Adventures of Tintin – Bagghar
Hamish Beachman
Adam King
Wayne Stables
Mark Tait

The Adventures of Tintin – Docks
Matt Aitken
Jeff Capogreco
Jason Lazaroff
Alessandro Mozzato

The Adventures of Tintin – Pirate Battle
Phil Barrenger
Keith F. Miller
Alessandro Saponi
Christoph Sprenger

Outstanding Created Environment in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

Audi A6 Avant – Hummingbird
Amaan Akram
Tom Bussell
Alex Hammond

Boardwalk Empire – Two Boats and a Lifeguard
Matthew Conner
Robert Stromberg

Game of Thrones – The Icewall
Markus Kuha
Dante Harbridge Robinson
Damien Mac
Fani Vassiadi

Pan Am – Pilot Worldport Terminal
Bill Arance
Martin Hilke
Diego Galtieri
Anthony Ocampo

Terra Nova – Terra Nova
Michael Bozulich
Eric Hance
Kevin Kipper
David Morton

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture

Hugo
Martin Chamney
Rob Legato
Adam Watkins
Fabio Zangla

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Thelvin Cabezas
Mike Perry
R. Christopher White
Erik Winquist

Thor
Xavier Allard
Pierre Buffin
Nicolas Chevallier

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Michael Balog
Richard Bluff
Shawn Kelly
Jeff White

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

Arthur Christmas
Michael Ford
David Morehead
Emi Tahira

Cars 2
Mahyar Abousaeedi
Sharon Calahan
Jeremy Lasky
Jonathan Pytko

Rango
Colin Benoit
Philippe Rebours
Nelson Sepulveda
Nick Walker

The Adventures of Tintin
Matt Aitken
Matthias Menz
Keith F. Miller
Wayne Stables

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

Gears of War 3 – Dust to Dust
Niles Heckman
Richard Morton
Vernon Wilbert Jr.

Ghost Recon – Future Soldier “Camo Up”
David Liu

Mattel: Hot Wheels
Steve Beck
Robert Sethi
Feliz Urquiza

Once Upon A Time – Cinderella’s Courtyard
Stephen Jackson
Salyanne Massimini
Nathan Matsuda
Kevin Struckman

Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Hogwarts School Buildings
Steven Godfrey
Pietro Ponti
Tania Marie Richard
Andy Warren

Hugo – Train Crash
Scott Beverly
Allan Faucher
Forest P. Fischer
Matthew Gratzner

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – Parking Garage
John Goodson
Russell Paul
Kristian Pedlow
Vick Schutz

Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Driller
Tim Brakensiek
Kelvin Chu
David Fogler
Rene Garcia

Outstanding Models in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

Arrowhead Nature’s Fix
Carl Horner
Ian Hunter
Miyo Nakamura
Hayley O’Neil

Boardwalk Empire
Matthew Conner
Eran Dinur
David Reynolds
Szymon Weglarski

Falling Skies
Jon Chesson
Steve Graves
Michael Kirylo
Renaud Talon

Once Upon A Time
Michael Kirylo
Jeremy Michael Melton
Jason O. Monroe
Chris Strauss

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture

Captain America: The First Avenger
Casey Allen
Trent Claus
Brian Hajek
Cliff Welsh

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Michele Benigna
Martin Ciastko
Thomas Dyg
Andy Robinson

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Jean Luc Azzis
Quentin Hema
Simon Jung
Christoph Salzmann

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Chris Balog
Ben O’Brien
Amy Shepard
Jeff Sutherland

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

Any World: Jeep Call of Duty MWF3
Jason Bergman
Steve Meyer
Peter Sidoriak

Boardwalk Empire – Gimcrack & Bunkum
Anton Dawson
Eran Dinur
Austin Meyers
David Reynolds

Channel 4 – Street Summer
Stirling Archibald
Anthony Bloor
Michael Gregory
Giacomo Mineo

DirecTV – Hot House
Franck Lambertz

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project

a.maize
Roman Kaelin
Falko Paeper
Florian Wittmann

Aquatic Bloom
Susie Hong
Bokyeong Kim

Defective Detective
Avner Geller
Stevie Lewis

Hai Hase
Florian Greth
Julia Reck

Renee the Movie
Syrena Edmonds
Zack Heimbegner
Brian Mullen
Nathaniel Skinner

We Miss You
Jann Doeppert Hannah
Tonio Freitag
Hannah Maria Heidrich
Sebastian Nozon

For more information on the VES Awards, sponsorship, and tickets, please visit www.visualeffectssociety.com.

Climbing The Tree of Life

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Clips, Movies, Oscar, Tech, VES, VFX | Leave a comment

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life fared well with the New York Film Critics Circle on Tuesday, nabbing best actor honors for Brad Pitt, best supporting actress kudos for Jessica Chastain, and cinematography distinction for Emmanuel Lubezki.

Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight is also hoping to get Tree of Life  into the VFX bakeoff for its extraordinary birth of the universe sequence supervised by Dan Glass (EVP of Method Studios) and bolstered by the contribution of Doug Trumbull, who will receive the 2012 VES Georges Méliès Award.

“It’s a real coalescing of ideas and metaphysics about the history of the universe that takes us from [notions] of origins right through some semblance of the Big Bang to the early genesis of stars and galaxies and planets forming, ultimately life itself on planet Earth,” explains Glass.

The work was divided into three realms: Astrophysical, which dealt with the early cosmos and evolution of the universe, stars, galaxies and planets, principally handled by Double Negative in London (under the supervision of Paul Riddle); Microbial, the molecular and cellular origination of life, which was primarily done by the London boutique One of Us, with supplemental work by Method (the splitting off of DNA strands to form more complex organisms, supervised by Olivier Dumont) and the father/son team of Peter and Chris Parks, who shot interesting flows of colors; and Natural History, which focused on the much anticipated dinosaurs, created by Prime Focus/Frantic (supervised by Mike Fink and Bryan Hirota).

Glass also set up an in-house team in Austin led by Brad Friedman, the digital effects supervisor. This group of local talent as well as more experienced compositors could literally “mix paints,” as Malick called it, experimenting close to him and testing ideas. Like the enigmatic yet symphonic film itself, it was a process of discovery.

Trumbull consulted as a favor to Malick, working a few long weekends in Austin, where he set up a lab called “the skunkworks” in a small studio to photograph practical elements for the Astrophysical realm. “I think it’s an extraordinary thing and it comes at a time when the world really needs something that’s outside the box,” he proclaims.

Cars 2 and Winnie the Pooh Return to El Cap

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Blu-ray, Books, Home Entertainment, Movies, Tech, Trailers, VES, VFX | Leave a comment

Pixar and Disney’s Cars 2 and Winnie the Pooh (now on Blu-ray/DVD from Disney Home Ent.) have returned theatrically for a limited engagement at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, Nov. 4-20. Both are vying for the best animated feature Oscar and tout the best in CG and hand-drawn animation, and are best viewed on the big screen. Plus, Cars 2 has the added bonus of being in 3-D.

Cars 2, directed by two-time Oscar-winner John Lasseter, offers noteworthy technical tweaks in lighting and painting and driving performance befitting Formula 1 racing and gadget-driven action.

For Pooh, directed by Stephen Anderson and Don Hall, Disney’s 2D dream team not only went back to the roots of author A.A. Milne to rediscover the wit and simplicity, but they also went to Milne country in England to revisit the places that inspired the author, especially Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, where they sketched, painted, and soaked up the architecture and soft English light.

Winnie the Pooh will show daily at 10:45 a.m., 1:20 p.m. and 4:10 p.m., and Cars 2 will screen at 7:00 p.m.

Additionally, each screening of Cars 2 will be preceded by the new Pixar animated short, La Luna, and each screening of Winnie the Pooh will be preceded by the hand-drawn Disney animated short, The Ballad of Nessie. Both are vying for the best animated short Academy Award.

As a special bonus before each screening of Winnie the Pooh, Pooh bear will appear live on stage. In addition, The El Capitan  will exhibit pieces of extraordinary art that went into the making of these films. There will also be a special “Winnie the Pooh” breakfast at 9:15 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Members of the following guilds are invited to present their membership cards at the box office to receive complimentary admission to attend any of the scheduled screenings with their families (up to 4 people): AMPAS, ACE, ADG, ASC, ASIFA, BAFTA, BFCA, CAS, CDG, DGA, HFPA, LAFCA, MPSE, PGA, SAG Nominating Committee, and VES.

For ticket and showtime information please visit www.elcapitantickets.com.
Or, call 1-800-DISNEY6.

Zoic’s Stetson to Receive VES Founders Award

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Events, Movies, Oscar, Tech, VES, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Congrats to Mark Stetson for his upcoming VES Founders Award, which he will receive on Oct. 20 at the annual membership meeting. I’ve interviewed Mark on several occasions during his tenure at Sony Pictures Imageworks, including Superman Returns, the Blade Runner digital enhancements for the Blu-ray, and Dave. He’s always helped me understand what’s what in VFX.

These days, the Oscar winner for Fellowship of the Ring is creative director for the Feature Films VFX division at Zoic Studios, where he’s worked on Red Riding Hood, 30 Minutes or Less, Premium Rush, The Wettest County in the World, and The Grey.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers at VES with the Founders Award,” said Stetson.  “Throughout my career I’ve strived to push the boundaries and expectations for visual effects.  It is a pleasure to receive recognition for something that is not only a career for me, but also a passion.”

Stetson got his start with model work for such films as Star Trek:The Motion Picture, Close Encounters of the Third Kind — The Special Edition, and Escape from New York.  From there, he supervised miniature effects for numerous high-profile productions, including Blade Runner, Ghostbusters, Die Hard, Total Recall, Batman Returns, and Edward Scissorhands, True Lies, and Waterworld, among others.

In 1997, Stetson was recognized with a BAFTA Award for his debut role as overall visual effects supervisor for The Fifth Element. He received his third Academy Award nomination and BAFTA Award nomination for Superman Returns.

Stan Lee to Get VES Life Achievement Award

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Books, Movies, Tech, VES, VFX | Leave a comment

Stan Lee getting the VES 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award comes as a surprise. But it makes sense: his Marvel comic book creations have become box office bonanzas and have helped the VFX industry thrive. Besides, Peter Jackson can wait. So Lee will be feted at the 10th Annual VES Awards, which will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 7, 2012.

“Stan Lee’s imagination has created a completely original and profitable niche in the entertainment world and has allowed visual effects to flex its muscle in service to it!” said VES chair Jeff Okun. “Thanks to Mr. Lee’s fantastic creations and amazing stories he not only created a future filled with gadgets and inventions that we aspire to create for real — but all while inspiring the minds and imaginations of storytellers, visual effects artists, and computer wizards everywhere.”

“As a writer there is nothing more rewarding than to see your creations brought to life on the screen and I am indebted to all of the incredibly talented artists who have contributed to my projects,” said Lee. “Visual effects have played a pivotal role in the ongoing success of Marvel’s characters and allowed fans to experience their stories in an entirely new way. It is truly a great honor to receive this award from the Visual Effects Society.”

Lee follows such previous VES Lifetime recipients as George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Dennis Muren, Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall, James Cameron, and Ray Harryhausen.

Trumbull to Receive VES Georges Méliès Award

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Events, Movies, Tech, VES, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Douglas Trumbull will receive the 2012 Georges Méliès Award from the VES, which will be presented at the 10th Annual VES Awards, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Feb. 7, 2012. Trumbull, who’s advanced VFX with his pioneering work on 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Blade Runner, has also directed Silent Running and Brainstorm. He also revolutionized large-format filmmaking with Showscan in the mid-’80s, which offered unparalleled viewing at 120fps.

Trumbull most recently served as a creative consultant on The Tree of Life birth of the universe sequence. With the privately-owned film studio, Trumbull Ventures, he is specializing in the development of advanced integrated systems for high-resolution digital production utilizing virtual sets and locations, high frame rates, 3-D, and advanced previsualization. Trumbull is presently developing multiple feature film projects that he intends to write, produce, and direct, using his virtual set technology

“Doug Trumbull is a leading light in the field of visual effects and technology,” said VES chair Jeffrey A. Okun.  “He is an innovator in all things entertainment and equally important is his genius for re-imagining the impossible into a compelling visual that not only has never been seen before but also goes to the heart of the storytelling. We are seriously honored to know and work with him.”

“It is truly an honor to receive the Georges Méliès Award from the Visual Effects Society,” said Trumbull. “My philosophy is that everything in a movie is an illusion of some kind, and I am very excited that the industry today is now embracing 3D, higher frame rates, and other opportunities that can expand the movie-going experience, and deliver to audiences the kind of immersive and other-worldly images that we in the VES can provide. The role of the VES at this time could not be more important, and I am very grateful to receive this astonishing recognition.”

Trumbull has been the recipient of the American Society of Cinematographer’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and has recently been selected by his peers as a VES Fellow of the Visual Effects Society (only the third to receive this distinction).

Previous recipients of the George Méliès Award were Robert Abel, John Lasseter, Phil Tippett and Ed Catmull.