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Visual Effects Society Names 2021 Special Honorees

Recipients of the Founders Awards and/or Designated Lifetime Members include VFX producer Mike Chambers, business/marketing consultant Rita Cahill, VFX historian Gene Kozicki, and cinematic director Richard Winn Taylor II, VES.

The Visual Effects Society (VES) has announced the newest Lifetime members and recipients of this year’s VES Founders Award. The names of this year’s VES Fellows, Honorary members, and inductees into the VES Hall of Fame will be announced at a later date. The honorees and Hall of Fame inductees will be celebrated at a special event in October.

VFX producer Mike Chambers and international business and marketing consultant Rita Cahill were named recipients of the 2021 VES Founders Awards. The Society designated Chambers and Cahill, along with digital production manager and VFX historian Gene Kozicki, abd creative and cinematic director Richard Winn Taylor II, VES, with Lifetime VES memberships.

“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.”

Founders Award recipients and Lifetime Members:

Chambers is honored for his sustained contributions to the art, science or business of visual effects and meritorious service to the Society. He is an award-winning freelance visual effects producer and independent VFX consultant, specializing in large-scale feature film productions. He is currently 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. Chambers has contributed to the visual effects efforts on numerous 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.

Chambers served six years as the chair of the VES. He has been a member for over 20 years, serving multiple terms on the board of directors, and previously served on the executive committee as both vice chair and secretary. He is also a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS), and the Producers Guild of America (PGA).

Cahill is honored for her sustained contributions to the art, science or business of visual effects and meritorious service to the Society. She is an international business and marketing/PR consultant and has worked with several US, Chinese, Canadian, UK and EU companies for visual effects and animation projects. Current and former clients include companies in the feature film, television, VR, and game industries, as well as government and educational entities. She is also a partner in MakeBelieve Entertainment, a film development company, and serves as executive producer on a number of international projects.

Previously, Cahill was the VP of marketing for Cinesite where she oversaw the marketing of four divisions of the pioneering digital studio’s services. Prior to Cinesite, Cahill was a founding board member of the Mill Valley Film Festival/California Film Institute and remains on the Institute’s Emeritus board of directors. She was also the founding consultant on the formation and establishment of the Singapore International Film Festival.  Cahill served six terms as VES secretary, and previously served as chair or co-chair of the VES Summit for eight years.

Lifetime Members:

Kozicki is honored for meritorious service to the Society and the global industry. He has served as a member of the board of directors and L.A. Section board of managers and was the co-founder of the VES Festival, as well as moderator of numerous VES panels. As chair of the VES Archives Committee, he helped secure portions of personal archives of Robert Abel, Richard Edlund, VES and others and was instrumental in organizing the VES archives and helping to secure funding to digitize many assets. As a VFX historian, he is active in the archiving of information, imagery and artifacts from the visual effects industry and regularly consults with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the American Cinematheque on retrospectives and conservation.

Kozicki’s career has spanned almost three decades, from working with Robert and Dennis Skotak, who were tasked with blowing up Los Angeles for Terminator 2: Judgement Day. He joined VIFX in 1994 and then worked with Rhythm & Hues for more than a decade. He has worked on various Star Trek series and films including Titanic, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Power Rangers.

Taylor is honored for meritorious service to the Society and the global industry. He is a VES Fellow and has served as a member of the board of directors. He has an extensive background in live-action direction, animation, production design, special effects, and computer-generated images for theatrical films, television, games, themed entertainment venues and VR. His commercial work has garnered numerous awards, including multiple Clios. Taylor supervised the special effects and storyboarding of the visual effects sequences on Star Trek: The Motion Picture and he designed and supervised the building of the miniatures including the Starship Enterprise.

Taylor’s film portfolio also includes Something Wicked This Way Comes, Where the Wild Things Are, as well as video game projects The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth and The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II. He also directed the innovative special effects and computer-generated imagery for TRON, one of the VES 70: The Most Influential Visual Effects Films of All Time.

Source: Visual Effects Society

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