FMX Conference Wraps Up with Over 3,200 Attendees
The paradigm shift: From financial crisis to trade association
This year's main focus on the ongoing paradigm shift and the continuing debate on the state of the industry as recently seen in the aftermath of the Academy Awards or financial difficulties and complex working conditions struck a chord with attendees and panelists alike. Professionals and celebrities from across the industries discussed the consequences, challenges and opportunities of the increasing demands for flexibility and adaptation for digital media creation, distribution and financing in well-attended panels, keynotes and presentations. Among them Ed Ulbrich, CEO at Digital Domain, whose inspiring "state of the industry" address on new business models received much attention and praise. Other speakers included Jon Peddie (Jon Peddie Research), David Morin (Autodesk), Ludwig von Reiche (NVIDIA ARC), Andy Orrick (The Mill) and Ken Perlin (NYU). While opinions on the best strategies for long-lasting success diverged, many speakers embraced the idea of a global trade association for the definition of best practices - a recurring theme that received a lot of attention audience and press attention.
Visual Effects: Crowning conclusion to cinematic earthquake
The preview of the latest Marvel comic adaptation Iron Man 3, that will be released on May 3 (US release date), was the undoubted crowning and concluding event of this year's VFX series that covered Case Studies, Concept Art, Concept Design, VFX in Commercials as well as Pre- and Postproduction: 500 speakers, attendees and FMX Partners as well as ITFS invitees flocked to the Gloria cinema Friday night. Prior to this preview, VFX Supervisor Guy Williams and Animation Supervisor Aaron Gilman discussed Weta Digital's approach to handling the impressive harbor battle sequence. Andrea Block (Luxx Studios) elaborated on the effects for Roland Emmerich's White House Down that is set to be released at the end of June (US release date). Also in the spotlight: the latest Tom Cruise movie Oblivion, zombie romance Warm Bodies, Guillermo del Toro's highly-anticipated sci-fi action film Pacific Rim, the breath-taking title sequence of the most recent James Bond adventure Skyfall and Ang Lee's visual extravaganza Life of Pi, that won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects this February. Kim Libreri, Chief Strategy Officer at Lucasfilm, was one of this year's most famous speakers: Libreri, who was responsible for the creation of VFX for the three Matrix films, was interviewed by Visual Effects Society Executive Director Eric Roth as part of the "VES Specials" series.
Animated crowd-pleasers from The Blue Umbrella to Animation Wild 'n Strange
Friday's rainy April weather could not have been more appropriate: Saschka Unseld's The Blue Umbrella was undoubtedly the greatest crowd-pleaser at this year's FMX. The largest venue, the Koenig-Karl-Halle, and the streaming foyers were overcrowded as Director and Script-Writer Unseld explained his idea for the Disney Pixar Short two months before its release; his talk was followed by a half-hour autograph signing. His colleague at Pixar, Alexander Nehls, Character TD, dedicated his presentation to simulation in Bravethat won an Academy Award for "Best Animated Picture" this year. Other animation highlights included Blue Sky Studios' Epic that is released three weeks from now, the animation adventure The Croods as well as stop-motion animation highlight Frankenweenie and Disney Animation's Wreck-it Ralph. Moreover, the focus on animation featured highly-anticipated Despicable Me 2. Two months before its release, Mac Guff Illumination's CEO Jacques Bled and Animation Director Pierre Leduc analyzed the challenges involved in the creation of the animated film and the popular Minions. Overall, the animation program series struck a right balance between box-office hits and indie pearls that fascinated audiences as part of the "Wild 'n Strange Animation" series curated by Andreas Hykade (Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg).
Indie Games and Games for Change Europe draw fascinated audiences
The decision to further expand the games focus bore fruit this year: In addition to game favorites such as Crysis 3, Tomb Raider, the Gears of War series, Halo 4 and Assassin's Creed, the Indie Games track, which was powered by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, was very well received. Indie Games' innovative edge was first spotlighted with Eddo Stern's keynote "The Perversity of Games": The artist and game designer spoke about the importance of independent game development and the potential of game design as a medium for cultural impact. Other Indie Game highlights focused on motion control, crowd funding and selected indie game pearls. Furthermore, the newly-initiated Europe chapter of Games for Change proved to be an attraction for numerous FMX attendees: Rooms were fully booked up as Games for Change focused on bringing entertainment and social commitment together. Supported by FMX Main Partner Autodesk, presentations featured games that address female genital mutilation and child prostitution or bipolar disorders and other sociocultural issues.
Cornelia Funke and the World beyond the Mirror:
Germany's most successful and internationally renowned children's book author Cornelia Funke was this year's most sought-after interview guest: Together with Producer Andy Merkin, Cornelia Funke presented the MirrorWorld app to her latest Reckless book series. Funke's highly-anticipated keynote opened the "Transmedia Experiences" track curated by Inga von Staden (Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg). Funke dissociated herself from the film adaptation of her books that were unable to live up the imagery she had in mind. In contrast, the app invites the user into "a living, breathing world" that allows Cornelia Funke to demonstrate her readers the story world she originally thought up. Funke compared the app to a "travel guide" that could be used if the reader wanted to gather more information on the world beyond the mirror. Cornelia Funke and Mirada have announced that they will take their cooperation one step further by forming a company together. This exemplifies the potential of successful transmedia work: The collaboration between creators, artists and technicians throughout development and production can open up new dimensions in world design and play out into innovative formats.
Source: FMX 2013