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January 02


Winter 2020

VES 2019 Honors Celebration, VES/Autodesk Initiative, and VES Bay Area Section’s ‘FAANG’ Forum


Celebrating VES 2019 honorees, from left to right: Neil Corbould, VES; Mike Brodersen; Susan Zwerman, VES; Susan Thurmond O’Neal; Michael Fink, VES; Michelle Lund for her grandfather, Walt Disney; Harrison Ellenshaw, VES; and Doug Trumbull, VES, for Stanley Kubrick.

In October, the VES honored a host of distinguished visual effects practitioners at a special reception at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. The honorees included:

Founders Award Recipient: Susan Thurmond O’Neal

Lifetime Member: Michael Fink, VES

Honorary Member: Mike Brodersen of FotoKem.

VES Fellows: Neil Corbould, VES; Harrison Ellenshaw, VES; Susan Zwerman, VES

VES 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees: Walt Disney, Stanley Kubrick, Stan Lee

“Our VES honorees represent a group of exceptional artists, innovators and professionals who have made significant contributions to the field of visual effects,” states Mike Chambers, VES Board Chair. “We are proud to recognize those who helped shape our shared legacy and continue to inspire future generations of VFX practitioners.”


This past fall, the VES launched the dynamic “Ask Me Anything: VFX Pros Tell All” initiative in concert with Autodesk, worldwide leaders in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Together, VES and Autodesk are shining a light on diversity in visual effects with a lineup of web talks with successful visual effects professionals from different backgrounds.

A live webcast series kicked off in October with special guest Karen Dufilho, creative visionary and Academy- and Emmy Award-winning Executive Producer at Google Spotlight Stories. Other VFX pros slated for the interactive forums ahead include Sidney Kombo-Kintombo, award-winning Animation Supervisor at Weta Digital; Neishaw Ali, Executive Producer and President at SPIN VFX; Greg Anderson, Head of Studio-NY, Senior VFX Supervisor at FuseFX; and Lauren McCallum, Global Managing Director at Mill Film.

For more info and to register for free live webcasts, go to: www.visualeffectssociety.com/ama.

Founders Award recipient Susan Thurmond O’Neal flanked by Mike Chambers, VES Chair; Brooke Lyndon-Stanford, VES Treasurer; and Eric Roth, VES Executive Director.

Michelle Lund, granddaughter of Walt Disney, on his induction into the VES Hall of Fame.

Lifetime member Michael Fink, VES, and his wife Melissa.

Toni Pace Carstensen and Bill Taylor, VES, enjoying the rooftop party.

Susan Zwerman, VES, and Chuck Finance.

VES Bay Area Section Chair David Valentin (second from left) flanked by VFX and tech pros at its first FAANG forum. (Photo: Anet Hershey Photography)


In September, the VES Bay Area Section held a dynamic panel discussion and networking event, “FAANG: Opportunities for VFX Veterans at the Bay Area’s Leading Tech Companies.” In addition to the FAANG companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) the Section broadened the professional development roundtable to include Adobe and NVIDIA.

Almost 100 VES members and guests attended the interactive forum to hear insights from visual effects practitioners who have parlayed their crossover skills to successfully transition to positions with leading tech companies.

“Our first FAANG event was part of our focused effort to more fully embrace Silicon Valley as a part of our Section and our community – recognizing and forging stronger relationships with the talented professionals who make the tools, as well as the artists that use them,” says Bay Area Section Chair David Valentin.

“We will certainly plan more events like this to help our diverse members connect and leverage their talents across our expansive industry.”

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