By RENEE DUNLOP
The growth of the now 20-year-old Visual Effects Society worldwide is inexorably linked to the growth of its Sections. VES now boasts 11 global Sections and counting.
One of its standout Sections is Toronto. That seems only fitting since the city is a major screen-based hub with more than 40 years of international experience in film and television production, and post production. It also continues to be a mushrooming VFX mecca.
The Toronto Section of the VES began when local VFX producers Christa Tazzeo Morson and Lara Osland took the heady initiative to start the ball rolling, officially launching in the spring of 2013. Movie screenings were offered almost immediately, along with a handful of networking opportunities to create VFX community.
The first Section Chair was Kim Davidson, President and CEO of SideFX, a company he co-founded in 1987. SideFX is the innovator of advanced 3D animation and special effects Houdini software, and sponsors many VES Toronto events, along with the VES Summit in Los Angeles every Autumn.
“I feel I’m in a unique position for VES and VES Toronto as I have both a supplier and a global perspective,” says Davidson, who is also a board member of SIRT (Screen Industries Research and Training Centre) in Toronto and holds two AMPAS Sci-Tech awards, led the Toronto Section for the first two terms, followed by the current chair, Christa Tazzeo Morson.
The Toronto Section grew through what Davidson refers to as “soft recruiting: handouts at pubs events, just the general awareness that the VES has a Section in Toronto. Social events and our Speaker Series seemed to strike a chord with members,” he says.