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VES Awards: ‘Gravity’ Wins 6 Including Top Prize; ‘Frozen’ Goes 4-For-4; 3 Nods For ‘Game Of Thrones’

By | Wednesday February 12, 2014 @ 7:45pm PST

Gravity DGAThe much talked-about visual effects in Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller dazzled even the pros, as Gravity floated away with six wins at the VES Awards tonight. The pic won in all but one of its categories, including the big prize of Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture. Cuaron capped off his film’s big night with the Visual Effects Society’s Visionary Award. Cuaron accepting his honor said briefly, “Finally, visual effects are merging into the whole process of the cinematic experience,” the filmmaker said in his acceptance speech. “It’s about the integration of lights, sets and even actors.” Gravity continued its awards-season momentum, following up on big wins at the Art Directors Guild Awards, the American Society of Cinematographers Awards and DGA Awards.

Related: What Does DGA Win Mean For ‘Gravity’s Best Picture Chances?

VES_Logo__140114230649Meanwhile, Frozen further cemented its Oscar front-runner status with wins in all four of its categories. Pacific Rim, which entered the 12th annual VES Awards with six nominations, second only to Gravity, went home empty-handed. And, just like last year, HBO’s Game Of Thrones was the big winner on the TV side with three VES Awards, also missing out in just one of its nommed categories. The evening also featured a tribute to VFX pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who died in May, and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Oscar and Emmy winner John Dykstra, whose credits range from the original Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica to Spider-Man and Django Unchained. As the 186-minute show ending, host Patton Oswalt quipped, “”Omigod! Who’s president now!?”

Here is the complete list of winners, followed by our live blog, with Anthony D’Alessandro on the scene: Read More »

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Alfonso Cuarón To Receive VES Visionary Award

By | Monday December 23, 2013 @ 11:45am PST

Los Angeles (December 23, 2013) –Alfonso-Cuaron_directing1 Today, the Visual Effects Society (VES), the industry’s professional honorary society, named acclaimed filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón as the recipient of its Visionary Award in recognition of his extraordinary career, most recently including his landmark achievement on this year’s hugely acclaimed “Gravity.” The award will be presented at the 12th Annual VES Awards on February 12, 2014 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The VES Visionary Award, bestowed by the VES Board of Directors, recognizes an individual who has uniquely and consistently employed the art and science of visual effects to foster imagination and ignite future discoveries by way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work. VES will honor Cuarón for his consummate artistry, expansive storytelling and profound ability to use and pioneer technology and visual effects to bring his unique visions to life.

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Visual Effects Society Calls For Inaugural VFX Congress, Larger Tax Incentives

By | Tuesday February 26, 2013 @ 6:45pm PST

In an open letter issued Tuesday, the Visual Effects Society (VES) officially joined the growing crisis accelerated in recent weeks by the bankruptcy filing of Oscar-nominated VFX studio Rhythm & Hues. The missive calls for Governor Jerry Brown to expand post-production tax incentives in California and announces a VFX Congress to be held in the coming weeks to give artists a means of focusing their collective messages and goals into a united, focused strategy. “There’s a lot of energy and upset and desire on part of artists to say the industry is going through huge changes, and we all want to get together and get recognition at a much higher level”, Roth explained to Deadline. “But once you get there, what do you do with it?”

Related: ‘Life Of Pi’ VFX Winner Played Off While Thanking Bankrupt Rhythm & Hues

The VES is an honorary society of VFX professionals that counts just under 3,000 members in 30 countries. However, the industry lacks a VFX trade organization or union. Roth tells Deadline the VFX Congress is still being organized but will take place within the next few weeks. The VES aims to tap feedback from all stakeholders in the VFX industry including studios and facilities, although it is still to be determined who exactly will be allowed to participate in the Congress meeting. Read Roth’s open letter:
Read More »

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VES Awards: ‘Life Of Pi’ Wins 4 Including Feature, ‘Brave’, ‘Game Of Thrones’ Other Big Winners

By | Tuesday February 5, 2013 @ 11:05pm PST

Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor.

Life Of Pi and Brave were the big winners in the feature film categories tonight, each taking four awards at the 11th Annual VES Awards and HBO’s Game Of Thrones led the TV honors with four nods. Life Of Pi took the top feature award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture. It also won Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture, Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture and Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture. Brave’s four wins included Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture. In features, The Avengers also took two awards, and The Impossible and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey nabbed one each. In the TV contingent, Game Of Thrones led the way with four including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire also took one award.

Life Of Pi director Ang Lee, nominated for two Oscars, received the VES Visionary award, given to an individual “who has uniquely and consistently employed the art and science of visual effects to foster imagination and ignite future discoveries by way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work”. In his acceptance speech, Lee said “This is not visual effects, it’s visual art”. Paying tribute to the effects industry, Lee said “they are the expression of our heart, and for that I salute you”. Five-time Academy Award winning special effects cinematographer Richard Edlund, notable for his contributions to the original Star Wars trilogy, Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Ghostbusters, was honored with a lifetime achievement award. The complete list follows:  Read More »

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Ang Lee To Receive VES Visionary Award

By | Friday January 4, 2013 @ 8:56am PST

Los Angeles – The Visual Effects Society announced today that it will honor Academy Award® winning filmmaker Ang Lee with the VES Visionary Award at the 11th Annual VES Awards on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. The award honors an individual who has uniquely and consistently employed the art and science of visual effects to foster imagination and ignite future discoveries by way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work.

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Exec Director Eric Roth Re-Ups At Visual Effects Society

By | Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:29am PST

Los Angeles – The Visual Effects Society (, the sole honorary organization representing artists and technologists in visual effects worldwide, announced today that it has renewed its contract with Executive Director Eric Roth, extending it until December 2018. Under Roth’s leadership as Executive Director beginning in 2004, the Society has more than tripled its size – from 900 members to more than 2,700 members worldwide in twenty-eight countries. Roth’s efforts have also led to the formation of VES Sections in the San Francisco Bay Area, greater New York area, Vancouver, Montreal, London, Australia and New Zealand. He has presided over the VES during a time of tremendous change in the entertainment industry, which relies now more than ever on the use of visual effects to make stories come alive and generate returns at the box office.

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Visual Effects Society Accepting Submissions For Student Award

By | Thursday November 15, 2012 @ 12:25pm PST

The deadline is November 30 for the group’s annual VES Student Award, recognizes outstanding achievement in visual effects on any project that was created by a student or group of students while attending an accredited school (more info here). The winner will receive the award at the 11th annual VES Awards set for February 5, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton.

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‘Rango’ Wins 4 Visual Effects Awards; ‘Hugo’, ‘Apes’, ‘Transformers’, Take 2 Each

Paramount’s Rango dominated this evening’s 10th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards with four wins in animated feature categories — Visual Effects, Animated Character, Created Environment and Virtual Cinematography. Hugo, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and Transformers: Dark Of The Moon took a pair of awards each in the feature categories. Boardwalk Empire and Game Of Thrones won two apiece in the TV categories. Stan Lee was honored with the VES Lifetime Achievement Award and visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull received the Georges Méliès Award. Ceremonies recognizing visual effects wizardry in 23 categories took place at the Beverly Hilton. The awards presentation will air at 7PM Pacific/10PM Eastern on ReelzChannel Sunday, February 19th. Complete list of winners follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More »

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‘Adventures Of Tintin’, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Lead VES Award Nominations

Los Angeles, January 9, 2012 – The Visual Effects Society (VES) today 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. Nominees were chosen Saturday, January 7 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. As previously announced, Stan Lee will be honored with the VES 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award and Douglas Trumbull with the Georges Méliès Award. The 10th Annual VES Awards will take place on Tuesday, February 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

Read More »

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Stephen David Entertainment, Brainstorm In “Hybrid Documentary” Pact

By | Thursday November 3, 2011 @ 4:41pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Stephen David Entertainment, producer of documentary-style shows for History Channel, TLC, Lifetime and others, and award-winning feature and TV effects house Brainstorm Digital have established an exclusive strategic partnership to create pioneering event TV. First up is History’s The Men Who Built America, about the dreamers and builders who transformed post-Civil War America into an economical, industrial and technological powerhouse. The partnership aims to combine Brainstorm‘s technical know-how with SDE’s storytelling expertise by integrating “invisible effects” to create what they’re calling “the documentary hybrid.” In addition to extensive feature work for several of the major studios and production companies, Brainstorm won an Emmy and two awards from the Visual Effects Society for its work on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Formed by Richard Friedlander and Glenn Allen in 2005, Brainstorm Digital’s feature work includes Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Road, Frost/Nixon, The Adjustment Bureau and Julie & Julia. New York-based Stephen David Entertainment has put together several docu-series and specials including Secret Access: The Vatican, Heavily Ever After, Jobsite, and Big Medicine. SDE is repped by CAA.

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Stan Lee To Receive VES Lifetime Nod

By | Tuesday October 18, 2011 @ 1:08pm PDT

The Visual Effects Society has tapped comic book icon Stan Lee to receive the 2012 VES Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be bestowed February 7 during the group’s VES Awards at the Beverly Hilton. Lee — whose creations with Marvel Comics include Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men and Iron Man before founding his own company POW! Entertainment in 2001 — joins previous winners including George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and last year’s recipient Ray Harryhausen. “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,” VES chairman Jeffrey Okun said in announcing the honor today.

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Douglas Trumbull To Receive VES Honor

By | Tuesday October 11, 2011 @ 4:33pm PDT

Los Angeles, October 11, 2011 – Visionary filmmaker, innovator and entrepreneur Douglas Trumbull, has been selected by the Visual Effects Society Board of Directors as the recipient of the 2012 Georges Méliès Award. The award will be presented at the 10th Annual VES Awards, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills on February 7, 2012. The Méliès Award honors individuals who have “pioneered a significant and lasting contribution to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry by a way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work.” One of four effects supervisors [on] 2001: A Space Odyssey, he subsequently influenced moviegoers with stunning visual effects in films such as The Andromeda Strain, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Blade Runner.  Previous recipients of the George Méliès Award were Robert Abel, John Lasseter, Phil Tippett and Ed Catmull.

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Visual Effects Society Issues Bill Of Rights

By | Wednesday September 21, 2011 @ 7:24pm PDT

The Visual Effects Society, the industry’s organization of visual effects artists and technicians, today released a Bill of Rights designed to call attention to problems affecting its membership and Hollywood. The document follows an open letter to the entertainment industry by the VES, which cited a downward spiral of working conditions and benefits as well as earnings for effects pros around the globe.  “In the VES open letter, we said it was time to step up as the voice of the visual effects industry by talking to all parties regarding their concerns,” said exec director Eric Roth. “At this time we have engaged in a vigorous dialog with key stakeholders at all levels and believe our Bill of Rights lays out the vital concerns of each segment of the industry. Our next step is to focus on bringing all parties together to seek solutions.”

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Visual Effects Society Dates VES Awards

By | Wednesday August 17, 2011 @ 12:20pm PDT

The Visual Effects Society’s 10th annual VES Awards, which celebrates the best in VFX in 23 categories, have been scheduled to take place Feb. 7, 2012 at the Beverly Hilton. Submissions begin Oct. 10 and close Nov. 30.

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Visual Effects Society Exec Director Eric Roth Slams Movie Industry For Terrible Treatment

By | Tuesday May 24, 2011 @ 8:31pm PDT

Here is the open letter that Eric Roth, executive director of the Visual Effects Society, sent to its 2,400 members today. It is a real indictment of the movie industry’s terrible treatment of this vital creative craft:

An Open Letter to VFX Artists and the Entertainment Industry at Large

Visual Effects Society: 2.0

As an Honorary Society, VES has led the way in promoting the incredible work of VFX artists but so far no one has stood up to lead the way on the business side of our business. No one has been able to speak out for unrepresented artists and facilities – or the craft as a whole – in any meaningful way.

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that the state of the visual effects industry is unsettled. Artists and visual effects companies are working longer hours for less income, delivering more amazing VFX under ever diminishing schedules, carrying larger financial burdens while others are profiting greatly from our work. As a result, there has been a lot of discussion recently about visual effects and its role in the entertainment industry. Many feel VFX artists are being taken advantage of and many others feel that VFX facilities are operating under unsustainable competitive restraints and profit margins. There have been calls for the creation of a VFX union to represent artists’ interests while others have pushed to create a trade organization for VFX facilities to better navigate today’s economic complexities.

As globalization intensifies, the process of creating visual effects is becoming more and more commoditized. Many wonder if the current business model for our industry is sustainable over the long term. Indeed, multiplying blogs are questioning why artists are forced to work crazy overtime hours for weeks or months on end without health benefits and VFX facilities are forced to take on shows at a loss just to keep their pipelines going and their doors open (they hope).

As good as we are at creating and manipulating amazing and ground breaking images, VFX professionals have done a terrible job of marketing ourselves to the business side of the industry. In short, no one has been able to harness the collective power of our efforts, talents, and passions into a strong, unified voice representing the industry as a whole.

VES may not have the power of collective bargaining, but we do have the power of a voice that’s 2,400 artists strong in 23 countries — and the VES Board of Directors has decided that now is the time to use it.

Read More »

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Visual Effects Society Award Nominees

Inception garnered four nominations and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire received five as the Visual Effects Society set the finalists for awards that will be announced at a Beverly Hilton Hotel ceremony on February 1. Aside from the awards, VFX pioneer Ray Harryhausen will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Inception director Chris Nolan will be given the Visionary Award. Here is the complete list of nominees:

Visual-Effects Driven Feature Motion Picture
Paul Franklin Visual Effects Supervisor
Chris Corbould Special Effects Supervisor
Mike Chambers Visual Effects Producer
Matthew Plummer Visual Effects Producer

Iron Man 2
Ben Snow VFX Supervisor
Ged Wright VFX Supervisor
Janek Sirrs VFX Supervisor
Susan Pickett VFX Producer

TRON: Legacy
Eric Barba Visual Effects Supervisor
Lisa Beroud Visual Effects Producer
Steve Preeg Animation Director
Karl Denham Sequence Supervisor

Alice In Wonderland
Ken Ralston Senior Visual Effects Supervisor
Tom Peitzman Visual Effects Producer
David Schaub Animation Supervisor
Carey Villegas Visual Effects Supervisor

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Tim Burke Overall VFX Supervisor
Emma Norton Visual Effects Producer
John Richardson Special Effects Supervisor

Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
Green Zone
Peter Chiang Visual Effects Supervisor
Charlie Noble Visual Effects Supervisor
Joss Williams Special Effects Supervisor
Matthew Plummer Visual Effects Producer

Robert Grasmere Visual Effects Supervisor
Camille Cellucci Visual Effects Producer
Mark Breakspear Visual Effects Supervisor
Ivan Moran Visual Effects Supervisor

Michael Owens VFX Supervisor
Joel Mendias Executive Producer
Bryan Grill VFX Supervisor
Danielle Plantec CG Supervisor

Black Swan
Dan Schrecker Visual Effects Supervisor
Colleen Bachman Visual Effects Producer
Michael Capton 3D Supervisor
Brad Kalinoski Compositing Supervisor

Robin Hood
Richard Stammers Overall VFX Supervisor
Allen Maris VFX Producer
Jessica Norman Digital Effects Supervisor
Max Wood CG Supervisor

Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Clay Kaytis Supervising Animator
John Kahrs Supervising Animator
Glen Keane Supervising Animator
Roy Conli Producer

How to Train Your Dragon
Simon Otto Head of Character Animation
Craig Ring Visual Effects Supervisor
Bonnie Arnold Produced By

Toy Story 3
Lee Unkrich Director
Darla K. Anderson Producer
Guido Quaroni Supervising Technical Director
Michael Fong Simulation & Effects Supervisor

Shrek Forever After
Jason Reisig Head of Character Animation
Doug Cooper VFX Supervisor
Gina Shay Produced By
Teresa Cheng Produced By

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
Zareh Naibandian Producer
Simon Whiteley Production Designer
Eric Leighton Animation Director
Alex Weight Animation Supervisor

Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or a Special
Last Day of the Dinosaurs
Arnaud Brisebois Artistic Director
Louis Desrochers VFX Artist
Alain Lachance Visual Effects Producer
Marc-Antoine Rousseau Visual Effects Supervisor

Inside The Perfect Predator
Philip Dobree VFX Supervisor/VFX Producer
Richard Costin Animation TD
Sam Meisels Compositor

The Pacific
John Sullivan Senior Visual Effects Supervisor
David Taritero VFX Producer
William Mesa Visual Effects Supervisor
Marco Requay Digital Visual Effects Supervisor

Prep and Landing: Operation Secret Santa
Dorothy McKim Producer
Kyle Odermatt VFX Supervisor
Andy Harkness Art Director
Adolph Lusinsky Look and Lighting Director

America – Story of US
Philip Dobree VFX Supervisor/VFX Producer
Emile Hardy DMP
Sam Howell Lead Animator

Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series
Michael Gibson VFX Producer
Gary Hutzel VFX Supervisor
Davey Morton VFX Artist
Jesse Toves CGI Artist

No Ordinary Family
Andrew Orloff VFX Supervisor
Curt Miller VFX Supervisor
Paul Linden VFX Supervisor
Scott Tinter VFX Producer

Andrew Orloff VFX Supervisor
Nathan Overstrom 2D Supervisor
Karen Czukerberg VFX Producer
Roberto Biagi VFX Supervisor

The Event
Victor Scalise Visual Effects Supervisor
Jason Spratt Visual Effects Producer
Diego Galtieri Compositor
Mike Enriquez Lead 3D Artist

Stargate: Universe
Mark Savela VFX Supervisor
James Rorick VFX Producer
Craig Vanden Biggelaar Digital Effects Supervisor
Adam de Bosch Kemper Lead Animator

Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
The Walking Dead
Sam Nicholson Visual Effects Supervisor
Jason Sperling Visual Effects Supervisor
Kent Johnson Visual Effects Producer
Chris Martin Compositing Supervisor

Human Target
Andrew Orloff VFX Supervisor
Raoul Bolognini VFX Producer
Nathan Overstrom 2D Supervisor
Jason Monroe Lead Modeler

Jay Worth VFX Producer / Supervisor
Andrew Waisler VFX Supervisor
Ron Thornton VFX Supervisor
Andrew Kramer Digital Artist

Boardwalk Empire
Robert Stromberg VFX Supervisor
Dave Taritero VFX Producer
Richard Friedlander VFX Producer
Paul Graff VFX Supervisor

Adam Avitabile Visual Effects Supervisor
Melinka Thompson-
Godoy Visual Effects Producer
Michael Capton 3D Supervisor
Brad Kalinoski Compositing Supervisor Read More »

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