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October 05


Fall 2017

VES Annual Summit, Inaugural Hall of Fame, and Honors


Ava DuVernay

Syd Mead  (Photo courtesy of Jenny Risher)


The 9th Annual VES Summit, coming up on October 28 in Los Angeles, is where experts and provocateurs will once again come together to explore the dynamic evolution of visual imagery and the VFX industry landscape. Enlightened storytellers. Industry thought-leaders. VR pioneers. VFX Visionaries. Celebrating the Society’s milestone 20th Anniversary, the TED Talks- like forum is centered on “Inspiring Change: Building on 20 Years of VES Innovation.” Thanks to the exemplary leadership of VES Summit Chair Rita Cahill and the Summit Committee, this year’s lineup is not to be missed.

Headlining this year’s Summit are two stellar keynote speakers. VES is pleased to present celebrated director/producer/ writer Ava DuVernay, critically acclaimed for films including Selma and 13th and now helming Queen Sugar and the much-anticipated A Wrinkle in Time. And we are honored to host master visual futurist and conceptual artist Syd Mead, recognized for his legendary design aesthetic in films including Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner and Tron.

VES will host an impressive lineup of featured speakers offering thought-pro- voking insights into today’s hottest issues. They include: President of IMAX Home Entertainment Jason Brenek on “Evolution in Entertainment: VR, Cinema and Beyond”; Online security expert and CEO of SSP Blue Hemanshu Nigam on “When Hackers Attack: How Can Hollywood Fight Back?”; Head of Adobe Research Gavin Miller on “Will the Future Look More Like Harry Potter or Star Trek?”; Senior Research Engineer at Autodesk Evan Atherton on “The Age of Imagination”; and the Founder/CEO of the Emblematic Group, Nonny de la Peña, on “Creating for Virtual, Augmented & Mixed Realities.”

One of the most popular elements of the Summit are the roundtable discussions led by industry experts. This year will feature more than a dozen topics from Digital Humans to Cloud-based Computing to the Future of Virtual Production and many more. Excellent networking, a special rec- ognition program and celebratory cocktails in a beautiful setting will round out this year’s unparalleled event.

The 2017 VES Summit takes place on Saturday, October 28th at the Sofitel Hotel Beverly Hills. Limited tickets are still available at https://www.visualeffectssociety. com/news-events/summit.

Jason Brenek

Hemanshu Nigam (Photo courtesy of Bobby Quillard)


In concert with the Society’s milestone 20th Anniversary, the VES Board of Directors created the VES Hall of Fame – a new honor to recognize exemplary individuals who came before us and upon whose shoulders we proudly stand. This distinction is being bestowed upon a select group of professionals and pioneers who have played a significant role in advancing the field of visual effects by invention, science, contribution or avocation of the art, science, technology and/or communications.

The goal of the Board poll was to result in 20 inductees, but there was a tie for the final slot, thus there are 21. The roster includes both living legends and those being honored posthumously. The inaugural class of the VES Hall of Fame consists of: Robert Abel, Ed Catmull, VES, Roger Corman, Linwood Dunn, Peter Ellenshaw, Jim Henson, Ub Iwerks, John Knoll, Grant McCune, Syd Mead, George Méliès, Dennis Muren, VES, Willis O’Brien, Carlo Rambaldi, Phil Tippett, VES, Doug Trumbull, VES, Joe Viskocil, Petro Vlahos, Albert Whitlock, Stan Winston and Matthew Yuricich.


The recognition program at the VES Summit is also host to the tradition of conveying honors to distinguished individuals with the Founders Award, Fellows distinction, Honorary Membership and Lifetime Membership designations.

The Hall of Fame inductees or family members on their behalf will be recognized at the upcoming VES Summit during a special evening program and reception.

Toni Pace Carstensen

This year, the VES Board of Directors is privileged to bestow the Founders Award upon Toni Pace Carstensen for her sustained contributions to the art, science or business of visual effects and meritorious service to the Society.

Toni  Pace Carstensen has a passion for new worlds – one that has taken her from the Amazon to Pandora. Her feature work as VFX producer/digital production manager includes Avatar, Minority Report and Fantasia 2000. For theme parks she contributed to Epcot’s Mission: Space and Star Trek Voyager: Borg Encounter 4D. While Executive Producer at View Studio Carstensen produced TV FX work for

The X-Files and The Outer Limits and then remastered VFX for the original Star Trek series HD release at CBS Digital. Venturing out on her own, Carstensen started CyberGraphix, one of the first Mac-based motion graphics. She is the recipient of a Broadcast Design Gold Award for Francis Ford Coppola’s White Dwarf, a VES Award nomination for Best Supporting Visual FX – Broadcast for Pushing Daisies and three Emmy Award nominations for her early work as a radio and TV news producer.

In 1997, Carstensen helped create the VES as member 0004 and first Treasurer. She was a Founding Member of the Executive Committee and served on the Global Board of Directors for many years, as well as being Co-Chair of the Education Committee. She co-edited the first edition of The VES Handbook and with the Education Committee generated the idea for the VESAGE book – showcasing the personal artwork of VES members. Always thinking about the future, Carstensen creat- ed the Vision Committee in 2011, which she continues to Chair. She is currently the Treasurer on the Los Angeles Section Board of Managers.

Currently, Carstensen teaches and men- tors the next generation of visual effects explorers at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, while working as a development/ production executive for animation studio Neko Productions. She is also a member of the PGA, TEA, Women in Animation, Motion Picture Editors Guild and the Art Directors Guild.

The Board of Directors is proud to designate Chuck Finance with a Lifetime Membership for meritorious service to the Society and the global industry.

Chuck Finance has been a member of the VES for nearly 20 years, and a member of the VES Awards Committee for 14 years. He was Chair of the Committee in 2005 and has been one of its dedicated Co-chairs ever since. With an unwavering commitment to the VES, Finance dedicates thousands of hours each year, in his retirement, to advance the organization. He has overseen the interaction between the Awards Committee and hundreds of queries about the Awards process, ensuring the integrity, protocols and high standards of the VES Awards.

Finance began his career in film by producing and directing educational and information films for companies like Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the National Science Foundation. He made the leap into visual effects when producer Raffaella De Laurentiis hired him as Visual Effects Coordinator on the movie Dune, one of the most VFX-heavy films up to that time. That was back in the analog, or optical, era, before computers revolutionized the art of visual effects. In the late 1980s he co-founded a full-service visual effects company, Perpetual Motion Pictures, where he was the General Manager as well as the company’s Effects Producer. Among the films he worked on were Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Leviathan, Mom and Dad Save the World, The Firm, Honey I Shrunk the Kids and many others. Following that he worked for a number of years as a freelance VFX producer and supervisor on films like George of the Jungle, The Arrival and the TV series 24.

The Board of Directors is proud to designate Bob Burns with an Honorary Membership in the VES for his exemplary contributions to the entertainment industry and for furthering the interests and values of visual effects practitioners.

Bob Burns was a VFX practitioner in the 1950s and 60s, doing miniature work and makeup prosthetics. His famed Halloween shows staged in Burbank in the ‘70s gave inspiration to hundreds of now-current practitioners in the VFX and makeup fields. He was a mentor and friend to many who have gone on to become legends in their own right, including Rick Baker, Dennis Muren, VES, Robert and Dennis Skotak.

More notably, he became a historian and archivist of the effects arena by amassing an extraordinary collection of film and television VFX props, miniatures, paintings and costumes, dating from the ‘50s to the digital age. Filmmakers have visited his collection and had reunions with items long thought lost, while many of the younger generation have been inspired by seeing (and sometimes handling) the original items from such seminal films as The Time Machine, Destination Moon, Forbidden Planet, Alien, Aliens, Terminator 2 and many others. He is recognized by many for his encyclopedic knowledge and preservation of these artifacts so often thrown away after production and for inspiring new generations with his wit and ability to bring VFX history alive.

Recipients of the VES Fellows distinction will also be recognized at the Summit. Names of this year’s VES Fellows have not been announced as of the publication date of this issue.

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