Kerner Optical Llc., the new production company based in San Rafael, California, has officially opened for business. The company recently completed a deal finalizing its purchase from Industrial Light & Magic.
Kerner Optical will be managed by ceo Mark Anderson and several of his colleagues, all veterans of ILM. The new company includes a model and creature shop; special effects and pyrotechnical effects; fully operational stages for interior and exterior filming; stereoscopic 3-D and blue/green screen capabilities; and fully customizable camera, motion control, lighting and grip packages.
Kerner Optical was founded by Anderson, Kevin Duncan and Yuska Siuicki. Anderson worked at ILM for 18 years, beginning as a modelmaker and, most recently, as director of physical production. Siuicki is owner of Technology Application Specialists with 12 years of experience in stereoscopic 3-D hardware and software development for film production, broadcast and gaming. Duncan is a Denver businessman who is supporting the purchase of Kerner Optical from ILM. He also runs a film production company, Front Range Films, with his partner James Seale.
"It's thrilling to be part of this new era for Kerner Optical," said Anderson. "Historically filmmakers consistently challenged the model shop and physical production team to create groundbreaking images that also required invention of new techniques. We've gained incomparable experience as a result. Being able to share that with other clients is going to be fantastic. This is truly a win-win for ILM and the artists and technicians of Kerner Optical."
Added Duncan, "The opportunity to have ownership in a company with the history and tradition that Kerner Optical represents is something any filmmaker would pursue."
"This is an extremely exciting opportunity for all involved, said ILM president Chrissie England. Because of our shift in focus to digital effects, we have been struggling to keep the talented people in our physical production departments employed on a regular basis. With longtime ILM veteran Mark Anderson at the helm, these amazing artists and technicians will have the opportunity for consistent employment while continuing to contribute to the groundbreaking visual effects that ILM is known for.
The company is based on several former departments within ILM, which were known as its physical production group Much of the staff is made up of artists and technicians from these departments who have years of experience and great depth of knowledge in dealing with the various aspects of working in film, television, commercials, music videos and games. A non-exclusive agreement between ILM and Kerner Optical has already provided Kerner Optical with work on several upcoming projects, including the third installment of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, TRANSFORMERS and EVAN ALMIGHTY.
Housed in newly remodeled facilities, Kerner Optical is based at a portion of the San Rafael location that ILM previously occupied, before its move last year to the Letterman Digital Arts Center, a state-of-the-art studio at The Presidio in San Francisco.