VES 2004, held last weekend in beautiful San Rafael, California, was a sheer delight. The sixth annual festival of the Visual Effects Society, in which the baton was symbolically passed from founder Tom Atkin to new executive director Eric Roth, offered the latest in vfx creativity and technology (Mars and MYTHBUSTERS were two favorites). But the buzz was all about how games are catching up to movies in vfx quality, which is now being stressed in schools, the inevitable acceptance of outsourcing and the need to unionize.
Category: Visual Effects
Crayola's new SPIDER-MAN 2 inspired activity line allows kids to melt crayons and mold them into their own Spider-Man and Dock Ock characters with the SPIDER-MAN 2 Character Maker, draw webby designs with Crayola Spider Writers, pens that ooze a spider-web-like ink and even decorate their windows with all things "Spidey" with SPIDER-MAN 2 Window Markers and Window Clingers.
Warner Bros. Pictures, along with Atmosphere Ent. MM and Hollywood Gang Prods., will bring Frank Miller's graphic novel 300, which chronicles the legendary Battle of Thermopylae and the origins of democracy, to the big screen, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The trio of production houses has hired DAWN OF THE DEAD director Zach Snyder to the direct and do a rewrite with Kurt Johnstad. Michael Gordon wrote the first draft of the screenplay. Atmosphere's Mark Canton and Hollywood Gang's Gianni Nunnari will produce.
The buzz at VES 2004 may have been mostly about jobs, outsourcing and the need to unionize the industry, but the seminars were still about creativity at the sixth annual VES Festival of visual effects, held in the bucolic community of San Rafael, California, June 18-20. VES 2004 also introduced new executive director Eric Roth, who recently succeeded founder Tom Atkin.
THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA (Columbia TriStar Home Ent., $24.96) is one of the best examples of kitschy B-movie sci-fi in recent memory a reminder of our primitive vfx origins; it streets June 22, 2004, on DVD. Aliens from Mars crash land on Earth and the key to thwarting the invasion lies in reviving a talking skeleton. Larry Blamire's instant cult classic contains the following DVD features:
* Director and cast commentary* Character commentary* Blooper reel* American Cinematheque Q&A featurette
Ryan Church, concept design supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic (STAR WARS EPISODES I, II and III) is the Grand Master award winner for EXPOSÉ 2, the latest in the series of digital art books from Ballistic Publishing that will begin shipping in July. The Grand Master is awarded to an artist exhibiting outstanding skill and contribution to the advancement of digital art. A graduate of Art Center, Church began his career at Walt Disney Imagineering (blue-sky concepts for future theme parks) before freelancing at Universal and hiring on at ILM in digital feature production.
Whodoo EFX recently completed vfx for THE STEPFORD WIVES. Led by president/digital effects artist Helena Packer and exec producer Mark Ritcheson, the Whodoo EFX team collaborated closely with famed comedy director Frank Oz, Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund and Award-winning art director Terry Windell.
Linda Moinet joins as Xytech Systems Corp., a leading provider of workflow and media asset management software, as vp of Implementation Services responsible for project management processes, tools and techniques plus lead the project management team to a new level of customer service.
French f/x house BUF Compagnie is in final negotiations to create the futuristic cityscapes and environments for Paramount's live-action version of AEON FLUX, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The Paris-based firm would handle the previs, on-set supervision and more than a hundred CG shots. The original animated series created by Peter Chung followed a female assassin who lives in the future where disease has wiped out all humans except for one protected city.
The ROBOCOP trilogy has just been reissued on DVD (MGM Home Ent., $39.96), and the real selling point is the availability of Paul Verhoeven's unrated director's cut of the original 1987 movie, with a bit more graphic violence involving the half-man, half-robot protagonist portrayed by Peter Weller. This uncut version had previously been available only on the out of print Criterion Collection edition. But this new MGM disc contains an enhanced anamorphic presentation with finer detail (except for the deleted footage, which is not as clean).
Congrats to Mike Gabriel (LORENZO) and Chris Landreth (RYAN) for recent their triumphs at Annecy. By now youve become very familiar with these highly imaginative and technically innovative animated shorts, thanks to VFXWORLDs timely coverage. Obviously both are must-sees. Meanwhile, later in the week, Henry Turner travels around world to discover the vfx wonders that lie within Disney and Walden Media's remake of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS.
Click 3x has completed the graphics package for the 2004 AICP Show, The Art & Technique of the American Television Commercial. The studios creative team, headed by creative director/designer Susan Armstrong, created a 50-second opener for the show as well as more than two-dozen graphics introducing awards categories. Click 3xs show opener follows a young creative as he strolls through an urban landscape and finds inspiration in non-assuming features of the environment like the bricks of a crumbling wall and the plywood barrier of a construction site.
Pendulum Studios has wrapped production on two CG shots for production company, Oasis Films' :30 DuPont spot, TRUNK CREW. In the commercial, NASCARs Jeff Gordon is shown driving a brand new black Monte Carlo. After being coated in DuPonts Car Care product by a pit crew, which travels in Gordons trunk, the live-action car is doused with extremely muddy water by a passing truck. But, due to the protective coat, the car is able to shake itself completely clean in an almost dog-like manner.
Donald Edmund Trumbull, a two-time winner of the Academy's Sci-Tech Award has died, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. He was 95. He died June 7, 2004 of natural causes at his daughter's home in Graeagle, California.
Director Bryan Singer's upcoming remake of MGM's 1976 science fiction drama, LOGAN'S RUN, is scheduled to start production in Vancouver in September, reports HOLLYWOOD NORTH REPORT. The production will be one of the first to shoot in the Canadian Motion Picture Park, a new 64,000-square-foot, four-stage complex in South Burnaby. Singer's production has booked studio space through September 2005. Ethan Gross and Paul Tadisco are writing the script based on William Nolan's novel. The story follows a police officer in a futuristic utopia, which kills its citizen at age 21.
Director Darren Aronofsky will start shooting his long-delayed sci-fi drama THE FOUNTAIN in Montreal, Canada, November 1, reports NEWSDAY. Hugh Jackman will star the immortality tale that takes place over three centuries. Cate Blanchett, Ellen Burstyn and Sean Gullette will also star. Aronofsky and Ari Handel penned the scripted. New Regency and Aronofsky's Protozoa Pictures are producing the film, which is set to be released by Warner Bros. in 2005 or 2006.
Accel-KKR, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Alias management announced the completion of the acquisition of Alias from SGI for $57.5 million. Accel-KKR is a technology-focused private equity firm and Teachers' is one of Canada's largest pension plans with net assets of more than $75 billion CDN.
REALVIZ announced that it is offering a free copy of the award-winning image based 3D modeling software, ImageModeler 3.5 (which retails for 750 Euros/$850) with all purchases of MatchMover Pro 3.0 (which retails for 9,600 Euros/$11,000) made between June 14- 30, 2004.
Universal has finally confirmed that Andy Serkis, the actor who brought Gollum to life in the LORD OF THE RINGS series, will indeed play the giant ape in director Peter Jackson's version of KING KONG, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. In addition, Serkis will play Lumpy the cook, a ship member on the Venture as it ventures to Skull Island.
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.
With the kick off of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention in Chicago (June 10-12), Discreet announced that leading architectural firms are using its design visualization offerings for a competitive advantage in winning new commissions and securing approval for high-profile design concepts, including Perkins & Will, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Kohn Pederson Fox, Ellerbe Becket and Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum.
Viggo Mortensen has been tapped to star in the New Line Cinema adaptation of graphic novel, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, reports VARIETY. David Cronenberg is set to direct from a script by Josh Olson (INFESTED). The film set to go before cameras in the fall.
Based on the Paradox Press graphic novel by John Wagner, Mortensen will play a small town diner owner who lives peacefully with his lawyer wife and children, until a random act of violence propels him to hero status in press and brings him to the unwanted attention of thugs who believe he is a former colleague on the lam.