By NAOMI GOLDMAN
The award-winning definitive authority on all things visual effects in the world of film, TV, gaming, virtual reality, commercials, theme parks, and other new media.
Winner of three prestigious Folio Awards for excellence in publishing.
By NAOMI GOLDMAN
In December 2022, the VES Board of Directors announced the selection of Nancy Ward as the Society’s new Executive Director, at the culmination of a comprehensive search process. Ward, who joined the Society in 2014 as the organization’s Program and Development Director, was appointed Interim Executive Director upon the retirement of Eric Roth in September 2022.
“Nancy has a passion for the VES and a vision to further uplift the Society and bring it to the forefront of the global entertainment community,’ said VES Chair Lisa Cooke. She has earned a tremendous reputation among the Board, staff, Sections, worldwide membership and industry partners, and we are confident that the VES will achieve new heights under her leadership. I am thrilled to have someone of Nancy’s caliber to helm our next chapter.”
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the Society’s Executive Director,” said Nancy Ward. “It’s a privilege to connect, educate, honor and celebrate the hardest working and probably most underappreciated entertainment professionals. The VES is a beacon of creative and technological innovation and excellence, and it’s my intention to build on the strong foundation created by Eric Roth and help the Society cement its position as a leading voice at the epicenter of the entertainment industry.”
As VES Program and Development Director, Ward oversaw fundraising, partnerships, alliances and new programs. She drove annual sponsorship revenue; directed the publishing team for VFX Voice; spearheaded initiatives around diversity, equity and inclusion and virtual production; oversaw the annual VES Honors Celebration, VES New York Awards Celebration and other VES and Section events; and led the VES Archives initiative and development of the Society’s forthcoming VES digital museum.
The 2023 VES Board of Directors Officers, who comprise the VES Board Executive Committee, were elected at the January 2023 Board meeting. The Officers include Lisa Cooke, who was re-elected Board Chair, and is the first woman to hold this role since the Society’s inception.
“It is my privilege to continue to Chair this global society of outstanding artists and innovators,” said VES Chair Lisa Cooke. “The esteemed leadership on our Board bring passion, diverse experience and enormous commitment to volunteer service to our organization. I’m excited about what we can achieve, working together, to grow the Society and take our worldwide membership to new heights.”
“The Society is so fortunate to have this year’s Executive Committee members guiding our mission-driven work,” said VES Executive Director Nancy Ward. “Individually, they’ve each devoted countless hours in service to VES, and together, they have a deep understanding of the organization and an unwavering commitment to serve the membership. I look forward to working with this year’s Executive Committee to evolve the Society.”
A VFX Producer at Tippett Studio and an Executive Producer at Tippett Productions, Lisa Cooke brings her experience as an animation/VFX producer, story consultant, screenwriter and actor. She is the founder of Green Ray Media, where she produced animation and VFX to create scientific, medical and environmental media for a broad audience. Cooke served six years on the VES Bay Area Board of Managers before joining the global Board of Directors, where she has served as 2nd Vice Chair, 1st Vice Chair, Co-Chair of the Archives Initiative and is honored to serve her third term as Chair.
Susan O’Neal, a VES Founders Award recipient, has served on the global Board of Directors as Treasurer and 2nd Vice Chair. For many years, she served as the Chair for the legacy global Education Committee and currently co-chairs the Membership Committee, playing an instrumental role in the Society’s growth. She is currently a recruiter for BLT Recruiting, Inc. and has worked as an Operations Manager at The Mill, Operations Director at Escape Studios in L.A., and as an Account Manager at Side Effects Software, Inc.
David H. Tanaka, VES, is an Editor, Producer and Creative Director with experience in visual effects, animation, documentary and live-action feature filmmaking. He is a staff VFX Editor at Tippett Studio and Adjunct Professor at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, and previously served at Industrial Light & Magic and Pixar Animation Studios. A VES Fellow and Lifetime Member, Tanaka served three terms as Chair of the VES Bay Area Section, 2nd Vice Chair on the global Board of Directors, and on the Archives, Awards, Outreach and Work From Home Committees.
Rita Cahill is an international business and marketing/PR consultant and has worked with a number of U.S., Canadian, UK, EU and Chinese companies for visual effects and animation projects. Previously, Cahill was VP Marketing for Cinesite and a founding Board member of the Mill Valley Film Festival/California Film Institute. A VES Lifetime Member and Founders Award recipient and Chair or Co-Chair of the VES Summit for eight years, this is Cahill’s eighth term as Secretary.
Jeffrey A. Okun, VES, is known for creating ‘organic’ and invisible effects as well as spectacular ‘tent-pole’ visual effects that blend seamlessly into the storytelling aspect of the project. Okun is a VES Fellow and recipient of the VES Founders Award. He created and co-edited the award-winning VES Handbook of Visual Effects, and is currently co-editing the VES Handbook of Virtual Production, due out in Summer 2023. Okun served as VES Chair for seven years and as Chair of the Los Angeles Section of the VES for two years.