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VES Announces 2021 Honorary Members and VES Fellows

This year’s group of distinguished VFX practitioners will be recognized at a special event this fall; also announced were VES 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees - legendary contributors to VFX and film including Roy Field, John P. Fulton, Phil Kellison, the Lumière brothers, and John Whitney, Sr.

The Visual Effects Society (VES) has announced its newest Honorary Members, VES Fellows and inductees into the VES Hall of Fame. Honorees and Hall of Fame inductees will be celebrated at a special event this Fall. Visionary filmmaker James Cameron and CG pioneer Gary Demos were named Honorary VES Members. This year’s VES Fellows, who will be bestowed with the post-nominal letters “VES,” are Brooke Breton; Mike Chambers; Nancy St. John; and Van Ling. The 2021 class of VES Hall of Fame honorees includes Roy Field, John P. Fulton, ASC, Phil Kellison, The Lumière Brothers and John Whitney, Sr.

“Our VES honorees represent a group of exceptional artists, innovators and professionals who have had a profound impact on the field of visual effects,” remarked VES Board Chair Lisa Cooke. “We are proud to recognize those who helped shape our shared legacy and continue to inspire future generations of VFX practitioners.”

2021 Honorees

Honorary Members:

James Cameron is an acclaimed, Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and VES award-winning filmmaker, known for his expansive vision and innovative visual effects-driven films, which have repeatedly smashed box-office records. He co-founded production company Lightstorm Entertainment and state-of-the-art effects company Digital Domain, and in 2010, was named by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. A recipient of the VES Lifetime Achievement Award, Cameron received an Academy Award for Best Director for Titanic (which won 11 Oscars) and among his storied filmography, Aliens, Avatar, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and The Abyss each received Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects. Cameron is currently at work on the much-anticipated Avatar sequels.

Gary Demos is a pioneer in the development of computer-generated images and digital image processing for use in motion pictures. He was a founder of Digital Productions and was awarded an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scientific and Engineering Award in 1984 along with John Whitney Jr. “For the Practical Simulation of Motion Picture Photograph By Means of Computer-Generated Images”.  He also founded DemoGraFX and Image Essence LLC. and was the recipient of the AMPAS 2005 Gordon E. Sawyer Oscar for lifetime technical achievement. Demos is actively involved in the ASC Technology Committee and has worked on the AMPAS ACES project. The inventor of approximately 100 patents, Demos is a SMPTE Fellow and recipient of the SMPTE Digital Processing Medal.

VES Fellow:

Brooke Breton, VES has been involved a variety of prominent live action films, animated films, television series and theme park projects, which have received Academy, BAFTA, Emmy, Annie and VES awards and nominations. Properties include Avatar, Solaris, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and Dick Tracy. Instrumental in the launch of effects house Digital Domain and the start-up of DreamWorks Animation, Breton is a three-term VES Board member. She is a member of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch, Visual Effects Executive Council and Science and Technology Council and recently served as a producer for the Academy Museum. In current development under the Breton Productions banner are three feature film projects and a museum exhibition, entitled “The ART of Visual Effects.”

Mike Chambers, VES is an award-winning freelance Visual Effects Producer and Independent VFX Consultant, specializing in large-scale feature film productions. Currently he is working on an untitled project for Universal Pictures and most recently worked on Tenet, his fourth collaboration with writer-producer-director Christopher Nolan. Other recent credits include Greyhound, Dunkirk, Alice Through The Looking Glass, Transcendence and The Dark Knight Rises. He has contributed to the VFX efforts on many Academy & BAFTA award-winning films, and he has personally won three VES Awards for Best Visual Effects, on Dunkirk, Inception, and The Day After Tomorrow. He was also nominated for his work on I Am Legend and Tenet. A 20-year VES member, Chambers served six years as the Chair of the VES, and previously as Vice Chair and Secretary. He is also a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Producers Guild of America.

Van Ling, VES as the Creative Director and VFX Supervisor for Banned from the Ranch Entertainment and later as a freelance visual effects supervisor, graphic designer, editor and digital artist, Ling’s diverse credits range from films (Twister, Men in Black, Starship Troopers, Doctor Dolittle and Titanic) to theme park attractions (Disney’s Star Tours, EPCOT’s Test Track and Disney Cruiseline’s Skyline Lounge) to designing and creating several of the THX trailers. He is a pioneering producer of in-depth special features and innovative menus that helped define the possibilities of the laserdisc/DVD/Blu-ray formats. In addition to his longtime service on the VES Board and several committees, Ling is a member of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch.

Nancy St. John, VES has a career spanning over 38 years in VFX and Computer Animation. Under her leadership as production side VFX producer, her VFX teams won Academy Awards for Babe and Gladiator, as well as an Academy Award nomination for I, Robot. Her filmography includes Bill & Ted Face the Music, James & the Giant Peach, The Immortals, Men in Black 3, Total Recall, I, Robot and Ghostbusters (2016). In addition to her service on the VES Board and Membership Committee, St. John is a member of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch and VFX Executive Committee.

VES 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees:

Roy Field (1932 – 2002) A visual effects supervisor and director of photography, Field is highly regarded as a special effects legend. He is best known for his work on Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal and Superman, which earned him an Academy Special Achievement Award and BAFTA for Visual Effects for the team’s stunning use of practical, miniature, and optical effects.

John P. Fulton, A.S.C. (1902 – 1966) As an American special effects supervisor and cinematographer Fulton created some of the most astounding visual effects of his era. His body of work includes some 250 films spanning nearly four decades and earned him three Academy Awards for Special Effects for his work on the fantasy Wonder Man, The Bridges at Toko-Ri and The Ten Commandments, in which he parted the Red Sea.

Phil Kellison (1918 – 2005) A visual effects supervisor and designer long before that position was acknowledged in movie credits, Kellison had an almost 40-year career that ranged from the George Pal Puppetoons to industrial films, commercials, and feature films. His specialties include stop-motion animation forced perspective, which he dubbed “Magnascope” to market the technique to the commercial TV business.

Auguste Lumière (1862-1954) and Louis Lumière (1864 – 1948). The Lumière Brothers were manufacturers of photography equipment, best known for their Cinématographe motion picture system and the short films they produced between 1895 and 1905, which places them among the earliest filmmakers. In parallel with their cinema work, they experimented with color photographic processes including the Lippmann process (interference heliochromy) and their own ‘bichromated glue’ process.

John Whitney, Sr. (1917 – 1995). An American animator, composer and inventor, Whitney is widely considered to be one of the fathers of computer animation. He used mechanical animation techniques to create sequences for motion picture and television title sequences and commercials; the most famous was his collaboration with Saul Bass on the title sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The Academy Film Archive houses the Whitney Collection and has preserved more than a dozen films featuring his work.

As previously announced, award-winning Visual Effects Producer Mike Chambers and international business and marketing consultant Rita Cahill were named recipients of the 2021 VES Founders Awards.  The Society designated digital production manager and noted VFX historian Gene Kozicki, creative and cinematic director Richard Winn Taylor II, VES, Chambers and Cahill with Lifetime VES memberships.

Source: Visual Effects Society