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December 13
2018

ISSUE

Winter 2019

Visual Effects Society Celebrates Distinguished 2018 VES Fellows

By NAOMI GOLDMAN

Every Fall, the VES carries out its tradition of honoring distinguished visual effects practitioners with special honors. In 2018, the VES Board of Directors was privileged to bestow the VES Fellows mark of distinction upon five exemplary professionals.

This year’s venerated VES Fellows conferred with the post-nominal letters “VES” are: Craig Barron, VES; Joyce Cox, VES; Dan Curry, VES; Paul Debevec, VES; and Mike Fink, VES. They were recognized in October at a special reception in Beverly Hills.

The Fellows distinction signifies that the individual has maintained an outstanding reputation and has made exceptional achievements and sustained contributions to the art, science or business of visual effects, as well as enabling members’ careers, promoting community worldwide and providing sustained service to the VES, which has significantly advanced the Society, its membership and its mission statement for not less than 10 years within the last 20 years.

“Our VES Fellows represent a group of exceptional artists, innovators and professionals who have made significant contributions to the field of visual effects,” says 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.”

Craig Barron, VES. Barron has been an innovator in the cinematic illusion of creating visuals for the past two decades and has contributed to the visual effects on more than 100 films. He began his career at Industrial Light + Magic, where he worked on classic films including The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Barron’s visual effects company, Matte World Digital, conjured environments for such films as Titanic, Zodiac, Alice in Wonderland and Hugo. Barron received an Oscar nomination for his work on Batman Returns and an Oscar for best visual effects for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. He is the Co-chair of the Science and Technology Council for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and an Academy Governor representing the Visual Effects branch. He is the Creative Director at Magnopus, a Los Angeles-based new media company.

Joyce Cox, VES. In the mid ‘90s, Cox transitioned from producing commercials into the role of VFX producer for feature films. Since then, she has produced thousands of visual effects shots. Her credits include Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, X-Men 2, The Dark Knight, Avatar, Men in Black III, and most recently Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book. Cox has been the recipient of VES awards for her work on Avatar and The Jungle Book. In addition, she teaches “Producing VFX” at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and is working with UST Global Media Services to create Curó, a web-based application for organizing and simplifying the complex process of managing the finances of VFX.

Dan Curry, VES. A veteran of over 100 feature films and television productions, Curry’s career spans over three decades working with some of the industry’s most influential and respected filmmakers. Among other awards, his work has been recognized with seven Emmys (15 nominations) and a VES Award for Best Broadcast Visual Effects. Curry is a past VES Board member and a past Visual Effects Peer Group Governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He is also a member of the DGA, ASC and PGA. Curry is a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Community Development, where he designed and supervised the construction of small dams and bridges in rural Thailand. He subsequently directed a Thai language television series, taught architectural drafting at Khon Kaen University, and did freelance art, architecture and production design for clients ranging from the United States Information Service to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. Returning to the U.S., he taught Fine Arts, Film and Theatre at the university level prior to entering the entertainment industry.

Paul Debevec, VES. Debevec is a Senior Scientist at Google VR and Adjunct Research Professor of Computer Science in the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC, working with the Vision and Graphics Laboratory at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. His Ph.D. thesis presented Façade, an image-based modeling and rendering system for creating photoreal architectural models from photographs. He led the creation of virtual cinematography for his 1997 film, The Campanile Movie, whose techniques were used to create virtual backgrounds in The Matrix. Subsequently, he pioneered high-dynamic-range image-based lighting techniques, and led the design of HDR Shop, the first high-dynamic-range image editing program. At USC ICT, Debevec has led the development of a series of Light Stage devices used to create photoreal digital actors in a number of films, including Spider-Man 2, Superman Returns, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Avatar. Debevec received ACM SIGGRAPH’s first Significant New Researcher Award. In addition to serving as a longtime VES member, he is Vice President of ACM SIGGRAPH, and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy’s Science and Technology Council.

Michael Fink, VES. Fink began working in film with China Syndrome. He was hooked, and worked on films such as Star Trek – The Motion Picture and Blade Runner before becoming a visual effects supervisor on War Games (BAFTA nomination). He has since worked on Buckaroo Banzai, Batman Returns (Academy Award nomination, BAFTA nomination), Braveheart, Mars Attacks!, X-Men, X-Men 2, The Golden Compass (VES nomination, Academy Award, BAFTA Award), Avatar, Tron: Legacy, Tree of Life and Life of Pi. Fink directed the first Coca-Cola Polar Bear spot in 1993, which was one of the earliest widely-seen examples of 3D fur on a CG creature. Fink is a founding member of the Visual Effects Society and a former VES Board Member. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Visual Effects Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is currently a Professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, and Chair of the Division of Film and Television Production. He holds the George Méliès Endowed Chair in Visual Effects at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

The reception also honored VFX archivist and longtime Board member Gene Kozicki, who was named recipient of the 2018 VES Founders Award. The Society designated venerated visual effects innovator Jonathan Erland, VES with a Lifetime VES Membership, and CEO of Tippett Studio, Jules Roman, with an Honorary VES Membership. The 2018 VES Hall of Fame honorees included: L.B. Abbott, Richard “Doc” Baily, Saul Bass, Ray Harryhausen, Derek Meddings, Eileen Moran and Gene Roddenberry.


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