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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’ ‘Ghost in the Shell’ & ‘Pearl’ Set for FMX 2017

Newly-announced production sessions to explore the VFX of Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’ virtual production for ‘Ghost in the Shell’ and the newly-released ‘Ghost in the Shell’ VR experience, and an inside look at Google Spotlight Stories’ ‘Pearl,’ the first VR film to ever receive an Oscar nomination.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ concept art.

LUDWIGSBURG, GERMANY -- One week before FMX 2017 opens its doors to look “Beyond the Screen,” organizers of Germany’s international conference on animation, visual effects, VR, games and transmedia running May 2-5 in Stuttgart have unveiled additional highlights of this year’s edition.

FMX 2017, sponsored by main partners AMD, Animation Media Cluster Region Stuttgart, Autodesk, Backstage, Epic Games and Mackevision, has a schedule packed with 307 speakers and other contributors. In addition to a production session exploring the visual effects of Marvel’s highly-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, FMX 2017 will also include Virtual Production insights into Ghost in the Shell and the newly-released Ghost in the Shell VR experience, a star-studded Directors Panel which includes Peter Lord (Aardman Animations) and Claude Barras (My Life as a Zucchini), and an inside look at Google Spotlight Stories’ Pearl, the first VR film to ever receive an Oscar nomination.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at FMX

Alessandro Cioffi (Trixter), Guy Williams (Weta Digital), Paul Butterworth (Animal Logic) and Arslan Elver (Framestore) will share some fascinating insights into the making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, taking the FMX audiences through their VFX journey. A special showing of the movie rounds off this Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 experience.

Visual Effects - Ghost in the Shell and Fan-Based Projects

David Morin, Chairman, Joint Technology Subcommittee on Virtual Production, presents outstanding examples of virtual production: Kevin Baillie spotlights Atomic Fiction’s use of Virtual Production and cloud computing for blockbusters such as Ghost in the Shell, Allied and Deadpool. Brett Ineson (Animatrik) provides a behind-the-scenes-look at Warcraft, while Clint Reagan (HALON) will showcase the use of several tools including game engines and VR for the critically-acclaimed international box office hit Logan. Duncan Burbidge and Michelle Blok (The Third Floor) demonstrate several production puzzle pieces from previs to on-set virtual production for projects such as Doctor Strange, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Game of Thrones. Insights into “Fan-based Projects” come from Andreas Feix (Industrial Light & Magic), who will provide a vivid glimpse into fan culture including legal consequences, and Sasha Scribner (Disney Research Zurich), who will give an overview of the work Disney is doing in order to develop new platforms that work with user-generated content.

Beyond the Screen - From the VR film Pearl to Nexus Studios

Michael Huber and Alex Lemke (east side effects, Inc.) will elaborate on the innovation of cinema, as demonstrated by Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Theo Jones recounts how Framestore joined the production of the first-ever headset-free group virtual reality vehicle experience Field Trip to Mars. Steve Sullivan (Microsoft Studios) will talk about the technology and applications of Microsoft’s Holographic Video. Ken Perlin (New York University) and Philippe Quéau (Metaxu) will introduce a paper on the “Future Visual and Cognitive Challenges for VR.” Frank Vitz (AMD) will talk about the role of game engines in movies and VR. During the “Exploring Storytelling”-track Jan Pinkava tells the tale of how Pearl, the first VR film to ever receive an Oscar nomination, was realized at Google Spotlight Stories. Also on board are Theodore Ushev and Chris O’Reilly (Nexus Studios), who specifies the skill set needed to hook an audience in AR and VR.

Women in Visual Arts and Games for Change Europe

“Beyond the Screen” also acknowledges the broader picture of societal change with the third edition of “Women in Visual Arts.” Hosted by Dr. Diana Arellano and Marie Ketzscher (Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg), the panel assembles Clémence Bragard (Les Femmes s’Animent), Gerfried Stocker (Ars Electronica Festival) and Lindsay Watson (Animated Women UK) to discuss the projects they have initiated to create fairer working conditions for women in the industry. In addition, “Games for Change” spotlights social impact games. Jean-Colas Prunier will talk about Scratchapixel, a non-profit initiative, Francesco Cavallari expounds on the non-profit organization Video Games Without Borders (or VGWB) and Emmanuel Guardiola (Cologne Games Lab) dedicates his presentation to “Antura and the Letters.” Maximilian Krauss (Stuttgart Media University) explains how the “serious” in “serious games” can enrich rather than impoverish the overall gaming experience.

Animation - Directors’ Panel

The Directors’ Panel features prominent panelists this year: Peter Lord, who has built his career in claymation as Aardman Animations studio’s co-founder, director, producer and writer; Kelly Asbury, the director of Smurfs: The Lost Village, Gnomeo & Juliet and Shrek 2; Claude Barras, who landed an award-winning indie hit with My Life as a Zucchini, as well as Hugh Welchman, whose upcoming Loving Vincent, which is hailed the first fully painted feature film, chronicles the life and death of Vincent van Gogh.

Further VR - Domes and VR NOW

Jeff Kleiser will explain about his dome projection work, presenting test imagery and excerpts from final production for projects such as Randal Kleiser’s VR project Defrost and R&S Productions’ Kahramaa Awareness Center. VR NOW is a talent initiative that gives alumni from the Baden-Wuerttemberg region the opportunity to realize a VR project as part of a team for one year. In 2016, the teams behind Wheelhouse and Koshu VR have had the chance to take their VR ideas from concept to prototype, which they will now present at FMX.

Business - Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Pam Marsden and further experts

In addition to the dedicated keynote by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Dave Gouge (Head of Marketing & Communications, Weta Digital) will host a studio insight event featuring the following experienced experts: Berenice Robinson (Post-Production VP, Walt Disney Animation Studios) and Pam Marsden (Executive Vice President of Physical Production, Sony Pictures Animation). The session begins with a 1:1 chat followed by all three panellists on the stage for a panel discussion and Q&A. Shawn Walsh (Image Engine), Kevin Baillie (Atomic Fiction), Jordan Soles (RodeoFX), Christoph Malessa (PIXOMONDO) and Will Cohen (MilkFX) will debate how mid-sized VFX vendors tackle some of the world’s largest films. Prof. Carl Bergengruen (MFG), Gilles Gaillard (Mikros Image & Post-production Services Technicolor France), Neil Hatton (UK Screen Alliance), Michael Coldewey (Trixter) and Raphaël Keller (CNC) will exchange their opinions on the opportunities and challenges for VFX companies in Europe. In addition, the traditional formats of “VES and FMX CEO Summit” and “FMX Commercials Summit” will return to offer CEOs a platform to share their thoughts.

Technology - Real-time 3D and Broadcasting

Stéphan Faudaux (Generation Numérique) curates the “Real-time 3D and Broadcasting” track, where Olivier Emery (TRIMARAN) dedicates his talk to GeoRacing as a live VR tool for sports broadcast. Christophe Héry (Pixar) puts together a “Camera & Lighting” track at FMX, which is helmed by Oscar winner Piper. Moreover, Terrance Tornberg (LAIKA) will speak about the cinematography of Kubo and the Two Strings, emphasizing how lighting was used as a literal character, and Mark Osborne (Industrial Light & Magic), who will dissect Doctor Strange where light is key to the movie’s believability.

Further program updates are available on the FMX website.

Source: FMX 2017

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.