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July 01
2020

ISSUE

Summer 2020

VES France: A Vibrant Community in the City of Lights

By NAOMI GOLDMAN

Much of the Visual Effects Society’s strong international presence is due to its network of Sections whose members build rich communities in their local regions while advancing the Society and industry worldwide. Founded in 2018, the France Section is thriving with more than 80 members.

“France has a long history in visual effects, going back to our strong connection to VFX pioneer Georges Méliès, whose iconic Man in the Moon image is synonymous with the VES,” says France Section Co-Chair Franck Lambertz. “His amazing short films are still mind-blowing 100 years later, and he is appreciated worldwide for his artistic contributions. That pride in our French colleagues continues today, as we saw Guillaume Rocheron walk on stage this year to receive the Academy Award [for Outstanding Visual Effects] for his work on 1917.”

From an enthusiastic group of five VFX practitioners in 2015 who worked to formally establish this Section, the Board of Managers strives to hit 100 members this year. “Our Section represents a wide group of talent, including 2D and 3D artists, designers, producers, supervisors and directors,” says Lambertz. “There is a lot of solidarity among French VFX artists. A lot of them work freelance and share their time between different companies, so everybody knows each other to some degree. These are the relationships we want to bring into the VES and build upon.”

Franck Lambertz, France Section Co-Chair

“We are excited about our future. Our visual effects and animation schools have been well appreciated by international studios, and that high profile helps our community continue to grow. There is still a lot to be done to help our industry be recognized as it should at an international level. And we are here to do that, to help our community share their experiences and passion for our industry and support one another.”

—Franck Lambertz, France Section Co-Chair

There is a diversity of VFX work taking place in France, including high-end fashion and perfume companies (Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton, among others), VFX for local cinema, international blockbusters (including Blade Runner 2049, Terminator: Dark Fate and Ford v Ferrari), animated features (Asterix, Minions) and the gaming industry (with a lot of work for Ubisoft, creator of Assassin’s Creed and the Tom Clancy video game series).

Lambertz continues, “Big studios like Mikros Animation, BUF and Illumination Mac Guff are the French flagships working internationally. A multitude of middle-size companies, like Mathematic, Digital District, Unit, The Yard, Trimaran, Happy Flamingos and Nightshift, are all very dynamic and attract a high level of skilled professionals. And small boutiques, such as HECAT Studio and Blacklab, continue to grow thanks to innovative creative talent.”

The France Section has hosted an ongoing roster of screenings for members and guests, thanks to the TSF Group, who hosts the events in their projection room in the Plaine Saint-Denis business district, which features state of the art sound and a 4K laser projector. The Section also hosts pub nights and an annual BBQ to bring together both existing and prospective members.

They have organized several educational events, including the collaborative Megabrain Masterclass series with the VES Germany and London Sections, where each Section contributed to the content and participated through a live feed. “The idea around the Megabrain series has been teaching actual techniques that help artists improve their skills, and we are excited to offer more programs like this,” says Lambertz.

The Section was also a proud partner in the 2020 Paris Images Digital Summit, an event created by the Centre des arts d’Enghien-les-Bains dedicated to visual effects, crossing the creative, technical and economic stakes of a sector that is constantly evolving. This forum offered the VES an opportunity to share knowledge and expertise and host keynote conversations with global leaders in the VFX industry.

“We are excited about our future,” comments Lambertz looking ahead. “Our visual effects and animation schools have been well appreciated by international studios, and that high profile helps our community continue to grow. There is still a lot to be done to help our industry be recognized as it should at an international level. And we are here to do that, to help our community share their experiences and passion for our industry and support one another.”

The France Section was a co-sponsor of the 2020 Paris Images Digital Summit.

VFX pros attending the Mangrove-Open Source VFX Framework event presented by VES France in partnership with The Yard and the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée.

“Our Section represents a wide group of talent, including 2D and 3D artists, designers, producers, supervisors and directors. There is a lot of solidarity among French VFX artists. A lot of them work freelance and share their time between different companies, so everybody knows each other to some degree. These are the relationships we want to bring into the VES and build upon.”

—Franck Lambertz, France Section Co-Chair

VES France members and guests enjoy the annual Summer BBQ.

The Megabrain Masterclass series helps artists improve their skills.

VES France members and guests enjoy exclusive film screenings at the state-of-the-art TSF projection room.

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