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October 06


Fall 2021

Visual Effects Society Announces Special 2021 Honorees


VES proudly announced the Society’s newest Lifetime members and this year’s recipients of the VES Founders Award, recognized for meritorious service to the Society and the global industry. The honorees will be celebrated at a special event in October, alongside this year’s VES Fellows, Honorary members and inductees into the VES Hall of Fame (unnamed at the time of publication).

Award-winning Visual Effects Producer Mike Chambers and venerated global business and marketing consultant Rita Cahill were named recipients of the 2021 VES Founders Award. The Society designated digital production manager and leading VFX historian Gene Kozicki, acclaimed creative and cinematic director Richard Winn Taylor II, VES, Mike Chambers and Rita Cahill 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,” said Lisa Cooke, VES Board Chair. “We are proud to recognize those who helped shape our shared legacy and continue to inspire future generations of VFX practitioners.”

Mike Chambers 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 esteemed writer-producer-director Christopher Nolan. Chambers has contributed to the visual effects efforts on numerous Academy & BAFTA award-winning films, and won three VES Awards for Best Visual Effects, on Dunkirk, Inception and The Day After Tomorrow. Chambers has been a VES member for over 20 years, serving multiple terms on the Board of Directors, including six years as Chair.

Rita Cahill is an international business and marketing/PR consultant and has worked with a number of U.S., Chinese, Canadian, U.K. 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 Executive Producer on a number of international projects. Previously, Cahill was the Vice President of Marketing for Cinesite and a founding Board member of the Mill Valley Film Festival/California Film Institute. Cahill served six terms as VES Secretary, and as Chair or Co-Chair of the VES Summit for eight years.

Gene Kozicki, recipient of the VES Founders Award, 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 for many years. During his tenure 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 of VES assets. As a VFX historian, Kozicki 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.

Richard Winn Taylor II, VES, 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, and his commercial work has garnered numerous awards.

Taylor supervised the special effects and storyboarding of the visual effects sequences on Star Trek: The Motion Picture and designed and supervised the building of the Starship Enterprise, and he directed the innovative special effects for TRON, one of the VES 70: The Most Influential Visual Effects Films of All Time.

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