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AIM Students To Attend VES 2004

An intrepid group of students from Minneapolis will be trekking to Northern California to attend VES 2004, the Visual Effects Society's sixth annual Festival of vfx, June 18-20 in San Rafael. This will be the third year in a row that the aspiring visual effects artists and animators from The Art Institutes International Minnesota (AIM) will attend the festival, accompanied by faculty member Michael Heagle, an instructor of Visual Effects and Motion Graphics. The 11 students regard the VES Festival as a crucial element of their education and have all funded their trips to the West coast independently.

"For us, being off the coasts makes staying industry-connected an electronic affair: we read CINEFEX, scour the Web, study DVD bonus tracks. Whatever sense of disconnect we have is quickly forgotten when we attend the VES Festivals," explains Heagle. "The Festival is an intimate opportunity to see the best vfx work on the planet, get face to face with and ask questions of the talented people who created it. From an education standpoint, it's like having a high level tutorial downloaded straight into your brain. From an industry and placement standpoint, it's a rare chance for students to establish contact with future coworkers and employers, which, for our future film effects artists, doesn't happen in the Midwest."

Eric Roth, the new VES exec director, said, Were thrilled to know that not only are the worlds best visual effects artists coming to this event, but, also, the next generation of artists as well. We look forward to one day having some of the Minnesota students leading our panels at a future VES Festival.

Amanda Kirchner, an AIM student who attended the VES Festival in Los Angeles last year, observes, "The VES Festival is a wonderful opportunity to hear how visual effects are done straight from the people who do them and to shake hands with the masters of effects. I'd rather see these guys when I go to Hollywood than any actor."

Students at The Art Institutes International Minnesota ( begin the Media Arts & Animation and the Visual Effects & Motion Graphics bachelor programs with a foundation in drawing, color, design, video production and computer applications. From this foundation, students develop advanced skills in various aspects of computer graphics and animation. Students learn to use the tools of today's high-tech animation profession, ranging from computer operating systems to three-dimensional modeling to desktop video production. These tools enhance students' flexibility and creativity, and enable them to produce an individualized digital portfolio that demonstrates their practical and technical abilities to potential employers.

The Visual Effects Society (, founded in 1997, is comprised of distinguished visual effects artists and technologists who are professionally committed to the specialized industry of visual effects. The society provides its members with a platform for communication, education and recognition of the current and future state of the visual effects industry. Society headquarters are located in Los Angeles with approximately 1,000 global members.