Superman & X-Men at 2006 Festival of Visual Effects

The Visual Effects Society has sent this update along for Superhero Hype! visitors as well as the list of scheduled events:

To Superhero Hype! Aficionados:

The Visual Effects Society (VES) is pleased to announce the Festival of Visual Effects 2006, our 3-day visual effects extravaganza taking place on July 6-8, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA. Check out the panels “Creating Super Effects on a TV Budget: It’s a Big Job at ‘Smallville'” “Bringing a Super Hero Back to Life: ‘Superman Returns'” and “X-Men: The Last Stand” on Friday and Saturday July 7th & 8th. Also summer blockbusters such as “Poseidon”, “Cars” and “The Da Vinci Code” will all be the subjects of presentations. Join Academy Award winners Dennis Muren, John Myhre, Robert Skotak, Mark Stetson and 50+ internationally acclaimed entertainment veterans for panel discussions to showcase cutting-edge technology, historical achievements and forecasting for the future of visual effects in film, television, and animation.

Hope to see you there,

Your friends at VES


Schedule of Events

Egyptian Theatre Courtyard Activities

VFX and entertainment industry vendors, special displays, raffles and the Hospitality Tent. All three days.

Steven Spielberg Theatre Activities

A Showcase of International, Experimental, Animated and Student Film Works. All three days.

Passes & Tickets Pricing:

$200 – Master Festival Pass

$150 – VES Member Master Festival Pass

$100 – Student Master Festival Pass (req. school ID)

$ 20 – Individual Program Tickets

$ 10 – Student Individual Program Tickets (req. school ID)

Master Festival Pass includes entry to :

. All Festival programming

. Opening Night Party

. Hospitality Tent

. Advance screening of “Monster House”

To purchase passes/tickets and get the latest Festival news,

visit or call 310-822-9181.


Virtual vs. Real Sets: Combining Production Design with Visual Effects

Sponsored By the Art Directors Guild

12:00 – 1:30 pm

In the early days of silent film, Studio Art Departments were quick to embrace the visual effects techniques invented by independent filmmakers. (In 1907 Norman Dawn created the glass shot and later the matte shot for his own travelogue films long before his work at Universal.) Then as now, effects artists realized those visions of the Art Director that were too difficult to shoot on location (if they existed at all), or were too large in scale, or too expensive or impractical to build. Our panel of distinguished production designers and visual effects experts will discuss and demonstrate the evolving and sometimes overlapping relationship between designers and effects artists in their own films and in movies generally.

Panel Moderator:

Alan Munro, VFX Supervisor/Illustrator


Jim Bissel, Production Designer

Bill Creber, Production Designer

Jack DeGovia, Production Designer

Rick Heinrichs, Production Designer

Alex McDowell, Production Designer

John Myhre, Production Designer

Jeanine Oppewall, Production Designer

VFX Without Borders: A Look Around the World at International Effects

Sponsored By Visual Computing Lab – A Division of Tata Elxsi Limited

2:30 – 4:00 pm

Because imagination transcends all borders, visual effects are an international art form. All around the world, artists harness the power of both state-of-the-art digital technologies and time-honored techniques of miniatures, puppetry and painting to creating dynamic effects that reflect their own cultural roots and the needs of local markets — be it film, broadcast, music videos, commercials or games. A celebration of the global scope of visual effects, this panel features international practitioners discussing the unique perspectives, challenges and techniques that individual markets can engender. In addition, the Festival will showcase examples of VFX work from around the world in the Spielberg Theatre, with an emphasis on local market production.


Van Ling, Freelance VFX Supervisor and VES Board member


Kristijan Danilovski, Founder/VFX Supervisor, FX3X, Skopje, MACEDONIA

Carlos (Charlie) Iturriaga, VFX Supervisor, Ollin Studio, Mexico City, MEXICO

Tarun Agarwal, Joint Managing Director/VFX Director, Rajtaru Studios, Mumbai & Dubai, INDIA

Lifeng Wang, Founder/President, Eastar, Xing-Xing Studios, Beijing, CHINA

Looking Ahead at the Future of Visual Effects Tools

5:00 – 6:30 pm

What’s on your technology radar? From hardware to software, the time it takes for new technologies to become an indispensable part of the visual effects toolbox seems to be shrinking every year, while it takes more and more energy to stay ahead of the curve. This panel will dive into the expected, and the not so expected, changes in visual effects tools over the next five years. Hear from some of the leading technologists on issues like pipeline management of multi-vendor data, environmental design and changes in end format. This program is a must for the VFX professional who wants to get a jump on the cutting edge.


Darin Grant, Head of Production and Technologies, Dreamworks


Paul Debevec, Executive Producer of Graphics Research, USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Eric Enderton, Senior Software Engineer, NVIDIA

Richard Kerris, Director of Technical Marketing, Apple

Habib Zargarpour, Senior Art Director, Electronic Arts


Invisible Effects: “The Da Vinci Code” & “Casanova”

12:00 – 1:30 pm

How does a filmmaker capture a location that is inaccessible or one that hasn’t existed for hundreds, even thousands of years? Invisible effects in films have been around for as long as filmmakers’ have had imagination. And now with digital technologies, it’s often hard for even seasoned veterans to decipher what is real and what is not. This panel will take an in-depth look at two recent films that have recreated eras and locales not accessible to their filmmakers. Many of the historical and contemporary locales in “The Da Vinci Code” were innovatively re-created by ‘invisible’ wizards from the United Kingdom. In “Casanova,” recreating Venice of the romantic era presented its own series of challenges to the film’s artists. Join us in going ‘behind-the-scenes’ of the latest in state-of-the-art seamless effects.


Ian Hunter, VFX Supervisor, New Deal Studios


Mark Breakspear, VFX Supervisor, Rainmaker (“The Da Vinci Code”)

Jesper Kjolsrud, CG Supervisor (“The Da Vinci Code”) / VFX Supervisor, Double Negative

Bill Taylor, ASC, VFX Supervisor/Cinematographer, Illusion Arts (“Casanova”)

Syd Dutton, Artistic Director/Matte Artist, Illusion Arts (“Casanova”)

The Challenges of Creating “X-Men The Last Stand”

2:30 – 4:00 pm

The VFX team on the latest entry in the “X-Men” franchise discusses the challenges of working on a tight schedule and with various VFX houses on three different continents. Topics to be covered are: “Xavier/Magneto Rejuvenation,” “Xavier/Jean Showdown,” “Golden Gate Bridge,” “Kitty/Juggernaut Chase,” and the “Dark Phoenix Ending.”


Ian Hunter, VFX Supervisor, New Deal Studios


John Bruno, VFX Supervisor

John “DJ” DesJardin, VFX Supervisor/Surfer

Bryan Hirota, VFX Supervisor, CIS

“Poseidon” – A World Turned Upside Down

Sponsored By Eyetronics

5:00 – 6:30 pm

More than thirty years after it was fashionable to be seen in a disaster film, Warner Bros. returns this summer to a world turned upside down with Wolfgang Peterson’s Poseidon. Following the disaster film tradition of casting a who’s who of actors, Visual Effects Supervisor Boyd Shermis turned to multiple sources on two continents (including ILM, Moving Picture Company, CIS and Giant Killer Robots) to produce over 500 shots. Bring your snorkel and swim fins as we go off the deep end with the summer’s biggest disaster film.


Boyd Shermis, VFX Designer/Supervisor


Adrian De Wet, VFX Supervisor, Moving Picture Company

Jon Niles Heckman, Set Supervisor, Giant Killer Robots

Mohen Leo, Associate Visual Effects Supervisor, ILM

Kim Libreri, VFX Supervisor, ILM

A Look Back at “Aliens” – 20 Years Later

7:30 – 10:00 pm

“Is this gonna’ be a stand up fight or a bug hunt?” In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the release of the science fiction action classic “Aliens,” this retrospective panel will look back at the ground breaking visual effects and animatronic creations for the James Cameron sequel to Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” The unique look and style of the film’s creations are even more astonishing when you consider the limited budget and resources the artists were given. Undaunted, Cameron’s team created some of the most startling imagery seen in a genre film in the last 20 years. The visual effects team, headed by Robert and Dennis Skotak and creature supervisor Stan Winston received an Academy Award for their work on the film in 1987.


Paul Taglianetti, VFX Producer/Supervisor


Bob Burns, Aliens Archivist

Alec Gillis, Creature Fabricator, Stan Winston Studio

Pat McClung, VFX Miniature Supervisor

John Rosengrant, Creature Supervisor, Winston Studio

Dennis Skotak, VFX Co-Supervisor/Director of Photography

Robert Skotak, VFX Supervisor


Creating Life One Frame at a Time: The Art of VFX Animation

Sponsored By Animation Magazine

10:00 – 11:30 am

Digital techniques have overtaken the roles once played by cell and stop motion animation as visual effects tools, though they continue to flourish as filmmaking techniques. To a lesser degree, animated digital models have supplanted traditional miniatures. An all-star panel of prominent animators and effects supervisors with decades of experience on both sides of the digital revolution will talk about their own work then and now, and the sometimes unexpected consequences. A special demonstration will complement the discussion.


Bill Taylor, ASC, VFX Supervisor/Cinematographer, Illusion Arts


Steve Chiodo, Chiodo Bros. Productions, Inc.

Randy Cook, VFX Supervisor

Tim Johnson, Director (“Antz,” “Over the Hedge”), Dreamworks Animation

Dennis Muren, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, ILM

Life in the Fast Lane: The Animated World of “Cars”

12:30 – 2:00 pm

After taking moviegoers into the realms of toys, bugs, monsters, fish and superheroes, the masterful storytellers and technical wizards at Pixar Animation Studios and director John Lasseter hit the road with a fast-paced comedy adventure set inside the world of cars. Come hear how the team blended together plenty of humor, action, heartfelt drama, and amazing new technical feats.

Moderator: TBD

Panelists: The Pixar Team

Creating Super Effects on a TV Budget: It’s a Big Job at “Smallville”

3:00 – 4:30 pm

With over 100 episodes aired over 5 seasons, the Warner Bros. television series “Smallville” has achieved a remarkably mature status for an episodic drama based on the teenage adventures of Clark Kent, before he assumes the alter ego of Superman. During the past four seasons, Entity FX created the visual effects that, in a large part, drive the show. Join the producers of “Smallville” and the staff of Entity as they explain and demonstrate what makes visual effects production of a weekly network series a unique challenge. The panel will focus on how the Entity team spurred a creative evolution by developing an economical production strategy and how that strategy helped to overcome the artistic, budget and time limitations common to television production.


Kymber Lim, VFX Executive Producer, Entity FX


Mat Beck, VFX Supervisor / Producer, Entity FX

Ken Horton, Executive Producer of Smallville

Eli Jarra, Senior Compositor, Entity FX

John Wash, VFX Supervisor, Entity FX

Bringing a Super Hero Back to Life: “Superman Returns”

Sponsored by Digital Sandbox & Hollywood DI

5:30 – 7:00 pm

Academy Award Winning VFX Supervisor Mark Stetson and his VFX team will discuss how they used modern techniques to bring this cultural icon back to life. With multiple VFX vendors and budgetary concerns the challenges included not only how to make a man fly again but how to create a movie that will soar above this year’s summer blockbuster competition.

Moderator: TBD


Mark Stetson, VFX Supervisor

Special Advance Screening of “Monster House”

8:00 pm

For Pass and Invitation Holders Only

The team behind “The Polar Express” have created another hybrid animated thrill-ride utilizing performance capture techniques about three kids who battle a mysterious house. Directed by Gil Kenan, the film is produced by Zemeckis’s ImageMovers and Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment with animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks. The voice cast includes Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Catherine O’Hara, Kathleen Turner, and Fred Willard.

All programs, descriptions and speakers are tentative and subject to change without notice.

Source: Visual Effect Society