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October 15


Fall 2020

VES News: VES Inducts 2020 Honorees


LEFT to RIGHT: Ray Scalice, Debbie Denise, Thomas Haegele, Richard Hollander, VES, Eugene “Gene” P. Rizzardi, Jr., Ron Cobb, Don Iwerks, Greg Jein

The Visual Effects Society Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2020 inductees into the VES Hall of Fame and the newest Lifetime and Honorary members as well as this year’s recipient of the VES Founders Award.

“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 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.”

Founders Award Recipient: Ray Scalice. For more than 40 years, Scalice has served in executive management positions with Lucasfilm Ltd, Industrial Light & Magic, The Walt Disney Company and Pacific Title Digital. With more than 80 film credits, Scalice holds the position of General Manager/Executive Producer for Pixel Magic. A founding member of the VES, he has served many years on the Awards Committee and as Co-chair of the Business, Labor & Law Committee, and as a member of the Board of Directors.

Lifetime Member: Debbie Denise. Executive Producer Denise has been involved with the visual effects and animation industry for almost 30 years. She produced the visual effects for Death Becomes Her and Forrest Gump at Industrial Light & Magic, and shepherded groundbreaking films as Executive Vice President of Production at Sony Pictures Imageworks, including The Amazing Spider-Man, Alice In Wonderland, Watchmen (2009), Academy Award-nominated Stuart Little, the Harry Potter and Men In Black franchises and Hotel Transylvania.

Lifetime Member: Thomas Haegele. Professor Haegele established Polygon, one of the first German production houses for professional computer animation. He is the Co-founder of Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, and was a professor for Animation and Digital Imaging for more than 25 years. Haegele served as the Director of the Institute of Animation, Visual Effects and Digital Postproduction, as well as the Deputy Managing Director of the Filmakademie, and is also the founder and Conference Chair of FMX.

Lifetime Member: Richard Hollander, VES. As President of the Film Division and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at Rhythm & Hues Studios, Hollander oversaw VFX production on Superman Returns, Garfield, 300: Rise of an Empire, The Cat in the Hat, and Chronicles of Riddick. He serves on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Visual Effects branch’s Sci-Tech Council and Executive Committee, is a founding board member of the VES and a VES Fellow, and is the recipient of a Scientific and Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Lifetime Member: Eugene “Gene” P. Rizzardi, Jr. Now retired, Rizzardi is an acclaimed model maker, model shop supervisor and special effects artist. He garnered an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for The Hugga Bunch. Further credits include Apollo 13, Titanic, Alien: Resurrection, Godzilla (1998) and Dinner for Schmucks. Rizzardi served for many years on the VES Board of Directors and is a member of the Visual Effects Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Association of Professional Model Makers.

Honorary Member: Ron Cobb (1927-2020). Cobb was an acclaimed cartoonist, artist, writer, film designer and film director. He was the Production Designer on Conan the Barbarian, The Last Starfighter and Leviathan, and contributed conceptual designs to Star Wars, Alien, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Abyss, Total Recall (1990) and Back to the Future. His illustrations have been published in the books RCD-25, Mah Fellow Americans, The Cobb Book, Cobb Again and Colorvision.

Honorary Member: Don Iwerks. Iwerks is a former Disney executive, Disney Legend and Co-founder of Iwerks Entertainment, and a renowned developer of special venues throughout the world. Don is the recipient of the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, an Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, that honors “an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.”

Honorary Member: Greg Jein. Jein is a model designer and artist whose work includes studio models, props and other artwork, including landscape miniatures, that appeared throughout the Star Trek franchise. Jein was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects for his work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind and 1941, and is also known for his work on Avatar, Oblivion and Interstellar.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Irwin Allen, Mary Blair, Claire Parker, Gene Warren, Jr., Gene Warren, Sr.

VES Hall of Fame Inductees

Irwin Allen (1916–1991). Allen was an American film and television producer and director known for his work in science fiction, then later as the “Master of Disaster” for his work in the disaster film genre. His most successful productions were The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno. He won an Academy Award for his documentary The Sea Around Us and was creator of Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Time Tunnel.

Mary Blair (1911–1978). Blair was an American artist, animator and designer and Disney Legend, prominent in producing art and animation for The Walt Disney Company and drawing concept art for Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Cinderella and character designs for attractions including Disneyland’s It’s a Small World.

Claire Parker (1906–1981). Parker was an American engineer and animator. Her best-known contribution to the history of cinema is the Pinscreen, a vertically-mounted grid of 240,000 sliding metal rods that are first manually pushed into position to create lit and shaded areas, then filmed frame by frame. It was one of the first devices ever to produce animation by reconfiguring a set of individual picture elements, later called pixels.

Gene Warren, Jr. (1941–2019). Warren, Jr. was a lauded special effects designer at Fantasy II Film Effects. He received an Academy Award and BAFTA for his work on Terminator 2: Judgment Day and an Emmy for The Winds of War. He was also known for his work providing spectacular in-camera illusions for Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and shared a VES Award nomination with his son, Gene Warren III, for miniature work on the action thriller The Expendables.

Gene Warren, Sr. (1916 –1997). Warren, Sr. was an award-winning special effects director who started his career as an animator and puppeteer. His work was seen in dozens of films from the 1950s through 70s, including Tom Thumb, The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao, Spartacus, The Andromeda Strain and The Time Machine, which won him the Academy Award for Special Effects.

The honorees and inductees will be recognized at an event this fall.

Names of this year’s VES Fellows were not announced in time for publication in this issue

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