Rhythm & Hues film division president Richard Hollander is leaving the Los Angeles area visual effects studio to join Bay area Pixar Animation Studios as a producer, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
R&H' film division exec producer Lee Berger succeeds Hollander as R&H's new president in February, the trade reports.
Hollander reportedly had been looking for new challenges, and learned of a producing position at Pixar through former Lucas Digital president Jim Morris, who joined Pixar as producer two years ago.
"I've been doing visual effects for a long time, and I wanted to get the juices flowing again," Hollander told HR. "The underlying structures at R&H and Pixar are similar, but R&H is service and Pixar focuses on feature-length pictures. It has a much different outer premise, and I wanted the challenge."
Hollander's vfx studio VIFX (previously part of Twentieth Century Fox|Blue Sky) merged with Rhythm & Hues in 1999. He and Berger have combined the studio's strengths in character animation and visual effects, enabling R&H to handle large volume shot output for big-budget vfx and CG-animated films.
Berger is a 20-year vet in producing visual effects and animation. A freelance visual effects producer on TITANIC, VOLCANO and BATMAN FOREVER, he later was vp production at Blue Sky Studios before joining Rhythm & Hues.
R&H delivered visual effects and animation in five minutes (the killer whale chase sequence) of HAPPY FEET, for the upcoming NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM and for CHARLOTTE'S WEB. The studio is working on EVAN ALMIGHTY and THE GOLDEN COMPASS.
"I'm not running away to do effects at another studio," Hollander said in his trade interview. "This is where I would want to be to produce effects. We have incredible people at R&H who made it easy to go eight years here. It won't be easy making that change."
A technology and vfx pioneer, in his first motion picture, THE CHINA SYNDROME, Hollander designed the innovative lighting control system, which simulated the control room of a nuclear power plant. At Robert Abel & Assoc., he engineered computerized motion control systems. At Entertainment Effects Group, he and Greg McMurry designed and built COMPSY (Computerized Multi-Plane Optical System), a comprehensive motion-control camera system, Hollander used for the films BLADE RUNNER, BRAINSTORM and STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE.
In 1998, Holland received a Scientific and Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), for being one of a handful of artist/engineers responsible for the development of the Wavefront Advanced Visualizer.
An active member of the Visual Effects Society, he also serves on the AMPAS Digital Imaging Technology Subcommittee, which recommends scientific and technical achievements in film to the Academy.