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
The VES’s international presence gets stronger every year, and so much of that is because of our regional VFX communities – and their work to advance the Society and bring people together. Founded in 2007, the VES Vancouver Section, one of three Canadian Sections along with Toronto and Montreal, is flourishing thanks to its strong leadership and collaborative visual effects community. Vancouver is recognized as a truly world-leading center of VFX and animation talent and technology. And the Vancouver Section has established itself as a hub for the VFX community in Western Canada.
More than 60 studios make up the VFX and animation industry in Vancouver, cementing the city as the world’s largest cluster of domestic and foreign companies, including Sony Pictures Imageworks, ILM, Rainmaker Studios, Image Engine, Stargate Studios, DNEG, Method Studios and Cinesite Vancouver. Last year in Vancouver, the explosive growth included the opening of a Walt Disney Animation studio, new Wētā FX, Electronic Arts Canada, Animal Logic and Framestore facilities and the expansion of ILM’s local footprint. The industry is also well-supported through education and training programs for artists, software engineers and other technical-related professionals.
“Filmed entertainment is thriving in Vancouver,” said VES Vancouver Co-Chair and VFX Producer Steve Garrad. “More studios and facilities are being built every year, and a vast number of projects are coming into the market for production and then staying for post-production to tap into the diverse VFX workforce. This boom is creating enormous growth and job opportunities for local VFX talent, while attracting international artists and technicians to the region. Facilities are now coming to us to sponsor our events to help attract VFX talent… and that kind of outreach is amazing.”
“Filmed entertainment is thriving in Vancouver. More studios and facilities are being built every year, and a vast number of projects are coming into the market for production and then staying for post-production to tap into the diverse VFX workforce.”
—Steve Garrad, Co-Chair, VES Vancouver
VES Vancouver has more than 225 members, primarily working in feature film and episodic television. Much of its member recruitment comes through monthly pub nights sponsored by local VFX facilities and screenings hosted at Sony Imageworks, all of which offer a steady stream of social events for networking among members and prospects.
“We have turnout and engagement at our events. With an expansive market of professionals, we have a tremendous opportunity to grow and diversify our membership, including tapping in to the gaming and animation community,” said VES Vancouver Co-Chair and VFX Supervisor at Framestore Mat Krentz. “We take great pride in showcasing all of the benefits and value that the VES offers in terms of networking, community building and educational development.”
This past August, Vancouver was host to SIGGRAPH, the premier conference for computer graphics and interactive techniques worldwide, and a festive VES party supported by Netflix and Scanline VFX, which drew upwards of 500 guests.
“Vancouver does not normally get the same kind of notoriety and high-visibility events like Los Angeles, so it was really nice for the VES to lift up our community and come together,” said Krentz. “The SIGGRAPH party was a worldwide event with members who all got to come here and experience our VES community at the center point of the local industry. So we got to celebrate and show off what we do and our special Vancouver culture.”
Prior to the pandemic, VES Vancouver hosted a roster of successful educational events, including a session to have reels reviewed by recruiters and VFX supervisors and an interactive presentation on the history of VFX. Since returning to in-person events, the Section has hosted a demonstration of the world’s largest virtual production LED volume at Canadian Motion Picture Park, and is working on creating new programs to support ongoing learning and career enrichment, including a series on virtual cinematography. It also brought back the Section’s popular Summer BBQ this past June and the annual December holiday party, held this past holiday season as a high-energy bowling and pizza party.
“To have a Society like the VES to help people connect, foster education and build a network is a great gift. The support and camaraderie are strong,” said Garrad. “I want people to know that we are helping to build the next generation of artists and practitioners, and we are vested in their growth and mentorship. We offer so much. I get my healthcare through the VES as a freelancer, and that benefit is so meaningful. I think in being home to SIGGRAPH and our party, we did Vancouver proud as part of the global VES family from our outpost in Canada, and I am excited about the future we are shaping together.”