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Parks Awarded Gordon E. Sawyer Oscar

Peter D. Parks, one of the industry's foremost microphotographers, has been voted the Gordon E. Sawyer Award by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Oscar statuette will be presented at the Scientific and Technical Awards Dinner on Feb. 14, 2004 at The Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

Established in 1981, the Sawyer Award is "presented to an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry." Parks is the 17th recipient.

A man of many talents, Parks is an engineer, biologist, scientist and designer of visual effects. He is perhaps best known for his ability to photograph small life forms and has been called upon by numerous directors to provide unusual images of the microcosm.

"Peter is a true pioneer in the field of macro and microphotography," said Richard Edlund, chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards committee. "His recent work on the IMAX film BUGS! has given us the ability to see, for example, insect eggs blown up to five million times their size and in 3D."

Parks was a founding partner of Oxford Scientific Films (OSF), a company that provides high quality film footage and photographs of a variety of organisms found in nature. He won his first Sci-Tech Award in 1981 for the development of the OSF microcosmic zoom device for microscopic photography.

Parks won his second Sci-Tech Award in 1986 for developing a live aero-compositor for special effects photography.

In 1989, Parks formed Image Quest, and Image Quest 3-D soon after, with the mission of researching and developing technologies pertinent to large-format filming in all media, with special emphasis on wildlife filming, special effects and 3D.

At Image Quest, Parks designed an innovative 3D Display System called Monax, which allows the viewing of three-dimensional images without special glasses.

In his position at Image Quest, Parks has contributed to and led more than 25 marine biological film expeditions. Portions of the Sawyer Award presentation will be broadcast during the live 76th Academy Awards telecast on Feb. 29.

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Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.