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ILM Appoints Sam Mercer as Head of Studio

Reporting to Lucasfilm general manger Lynwen Brennan, veteran film producer will oversee Industrial Light & Magic’s four global studios located in San Francisco, Singapore, Vancouver and London.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oscar-winning visual effects studio Industrial Light & Magic has announced that it has appointed film producer Sam Mercer as head of studio. Reporting to Lucasfilm general manger Lynwen Brennan, Mercer will oversee and coordinate the Lucasfilm division’s operations across all four global studios, which are located in San Francisco, Singapore, Vancouver and London. Brennan was promoted to GM in February.

Mercer has produced many high-profile films over the years such as Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars, seven of M. Night Shyamalan’s films including Signs and The Sixth Sense for which he received both Academy Award and BAFTA Best Picture nominations, Sam Mendes’ Jarhead, and Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsmen. Mercer is also a Producer on Steven Spielberg’s upcoming fantasy film The BFG, based on the novel by Roald Dahl and set for release in 2016.

“I am thrilled that Sam will be leading ILM into our fifth decade,” said Brennan. “His vast experience as a producer together with his long history with visual effects including eight films with ILM provides a valuable perspective within the VFX industry. As Visual Effects becomes increasingly integrated into filmmaking from pre-production through to post, Sam’s filmmaker point of view enables us to provide a unique level of creative collaboration and partnership with directors, producers and studios to bring their visions to the screen.”

“I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Sam for many years and I have come to rely on his skill as a creative problem solver,” noted Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “Sam has that rare ability to head off potential issues before they become real problems, and he manages to do it while maintaining an even keel and level of professionalism that has earned him the respect and admiration of every crew he works with.”

“ILM is unparalleled in the industry in terms of their artistry and legacy of innovation,” Mercer explained. “Having worked with them on eight films, I know firsthand the incredible talent at the company and from a filmmaker’s point of view they are one of the few companies that consistently delivers not only with regard to achieving the creative vision but from a scheduling and budgetary perspective as well.”

Having previously been with The Walt Disney Studios as a production executive Mercer supervised such films as Good Morning, Vietnam, Three Fugitives, and Dead Poets Society. Within a few years, Mercer was promoted to vice president of motion picture production for Hollywood Pictures and in addition to Arachnophobia, he was responsible for such releases as Quiz Show, The Joy Luck Club, Born Yesterday, Swing Kids and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. Mercer left Hollywood Pictures to pursue independent producing on Frank Marshall’s second film Congo.

Mercer first planted his roots in the film business as a freelance location and unit production manager on such films as The Witches of Eastwick, Peggy Sue Got Married, Stripes, Swing Shift and The Escape Artist. He also served as the associate producer/unit manager for KCET-TV in Los Angeles where he received a Daytime Emmy for the live presentation of the San Francisco Opera’s production of La Gioconda.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015, ILM has won 15 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects.

Source: Lucasfilm Ltd.

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.

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