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Visual Effects Society Announces 2023 VES Fellows

Jeff Barnes, Toni Pace Carstensen, Bob Coleman, Chuck Finance, Shannon Gans, Tim McGovern, and Ray McMillan to be recognized at a celebration of the honorees later this month.

The Visual Effects Society (VES) has announced its newest VES Fellows, who will be celebrated with other 2023 honorees at a special event later in October.

This year’s VES Fellows, bestowed with the post-nominal letters “VES,” include Jeff Barnes; Toni Pace Carstensen; Bob Coleman; Chuck Finance; Shannon Gans; Tim McGovern; and Ray McMillan

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

VES 2023 Fellows:

Jeff Barnes, VES, is an entertainment and technology creative executive whose impact continues across Silicon Valley and Hollywood. As the executive vice president of Creative Development at Light Field Lab, he drives cross-channel marketing initiatives and content creation for the company’s groundbreaking SolidLight holographic display platform. He has previously co-founded and led entertainment and visual effects companies, including CaféFX, The Syndicate, and Sententia Entertainment. His studios provided award-winning imagery on over 80 feature films. Barnes has actively contributed to the creative community's development, support, and advancement, serving as chair and vice chair of the VES Global Board of Directors and is a VES Lifetime Member.

Toni Pace Carstensen, VES, is a VES founding member, having served as its first treasurer, a founding member of the Executive Committee, the global Board of Directors, and co-chair of the Global Education Committee. She was co-editor of the VES Handbook of Visual Effects first edition and, for the Education Committee, generated the concept for VESAGE – a book showcasing the personal art of VES members. Carstensen serves as chair of the Vision Committee and treasurer of the Los Angeles Section. Her feature credits include VFX Producer/Digital Production Manager on Avatar, Minority Report, and Fantasia 2000. She is a VES Lifetime Member and the 2017 VES Founders Award recipient.

Bob Coleman, VES, is also honored with a VES Lifetime Member this year. He is president and founder of Digital Artists Agency with a roster of Award-winning VFX artists. His 40+ year tenure in film production, visual effects, and post-production includes senior leadership positions with Victor Duncan Inc.; Optimus Inc.; Editel Chicago; Lucas Arts; Skywalker Sound; Digital Magic; and Virgin Digital Studios entities 525; and Virgin Television de Mexico. He served on the VES Awards Committee for 23 years, including nine years as chair, and has a long tenure on the VES Global Board of Directors and its Executive Committee. His contributions and leadership include work on the VES Business Labor and Law, Benefits, VES Summit, and Membership Committees.

Chuck Finance, VES boasts a 20-year membership with the VES following a long career in education, information, and theatrical filmmaking. In his early career, he produced and directed science films for the American Geological Institute, National Science Foundation, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Finance co-founded Perpetual Motion Pictures, where he oversaw production of visual effects, titles, and opticals for such films as Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Leviathan, and Mom and Dad Save the World. He subsequently worked as a freelance VFX producer and VFX consultant for film and TV. He played an instrumental role in the VES Awards, chairing and co-chairing the Awards Committee for almost two decades.

Shannon Gans, VES, is known for working at the intersection of creativity, technology, and business, including overseeing content for Apple’s new mixed-reality headset. She is an executive producer on an HBO animated series for Jon Stewart and is New Deal Studios’ CEO and Co-founder (a 21st Century Creative Studio). The VFX, design, and production studio has contributed sequences to over 200 films and commercials, including Interstellar and The Aviator. She boasts production experience in real-time, independent feature films, commercials, visual effects, and spatial interactive content. Gans’ VES leadership role includes serving on the global VES Board of Directors for several terms.

Tim McGovern, VES, is also honored this year as a VES Lifetime Member and the 2023 Founders Award recipient. The VFX supervisor and creative director started his career at the beginning of digital/computer visual effects, doing award-winning, groundbreaking work in VFX and computer animation. His accolades include an Academy Award for Digital Visual Effects for Total Recall, five Clios, a Hugo, and a Mobius award. As a founding member of Sony Pictures Imageworks, he served as senior VFX Supervisor and SVP of Creative and Technical Affairs. Since leaving Sony, McGovern has worked as an independent VFX supervisor and filmmaker. He has supervised VFX for Hollywood Films in Mumbai and now works at DNEG Mumbai. He also serves as Chief Creative Officer at Whisper Pictures, a development and production company focused on animated family films.

Over the last 20 years, McGovern’s key VES leadership roles include service as a member of the global Board of Directors, the Board’s vice chair, a founding co-chair of the VES Awards Committee, and a member of the Virtual Production Committee. He was the founding chair of the VES Committee for Outreach to Developing Regions, contributing to its growth in multiple regions on four continents, including with VES members to form sections in Washington state, Georgia, France, Germany, India, and helping Montreal and Toronto achieve section-hood.

Ray McMillan, VES, is a visual effects supervisor/producer, director, and director of Photography known for his work on The Day After Tomorrow, The Incredible Hulk, and X-Men. He has garnered 40+ awards for his work, including International Clios, New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Chicago Art Director’s Awards and International Film and TV Festival of New York Awards. McMillan started as a classically trained animator at Children’s Television Network and then moved into VFX for commercials, feature films, and series across the US and Canada – including working this past year as VFX Supervisor on the Apple + series Jane. He has served multiple terms as VES Toronto Section treasurer and secretary, also chairing the section’s studio screenings.

As previously announced, McGovern is a recipient of the 2023 VES Founders Award. The Society designated Archivist and Curator Sandra Joy Aguilar; producer and AMPAS Governor Brooke Breton, VES; VFX Artist Agent and Executive Bob Coleman; and McGovern with Lifetime VES memberships. The 2023 class of VES Hall of Fame honorees include Samuel Z. Arkoff; Lawrence W. Butler; Wah Chang; Norman Dawn, ASC; Walter Percy Day, OBE; Marcel Delgado; Farciot Edouart, ASC; and Edward D. Wood, Jr.

Source: Visual Effects Society

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.