Well i forgot to tell you about ANIMFX which i attended last year...i wrote a piece for WIFT newsletter so thought i'd just put it here as a post and then you can follow the links yourselves. It was an awesome collection of heads and ideas around animation, sfx and games in nz with some interesting international guest speakers as you will see....


The first symposium of animation, games and special effects was held in Wellington this weekend and many creative and technology wizards came out of the woodwork to show and discuss their work.
Eric Roth, Executive Director of the Visual Effects Society (VES) opened the event and led an exciting array of speakers from leading feature film studios around the globe specialising in feature animation and sfx.

Eric Roth, Kim Lavery with ‘Mr Fix-it” Jeff Okun at the ANIMFX Symposium. The VES provides members with a platform for communication, education and recognition of the current and future state of the visual effects industry. As Eric Roth says, it aims to be “the international glue that connects all the world's top visual effects artists to one another".

Shelley Page, European liaison for DreamWorks SKGshowed many new works by European filmmakers, predominantly graduate work – some of whom have gone on to become animation directors of shorts and feature films. Shelley has a particular interest in graduate animation and hosts student events at all the major European animation festivals. She sits on the graduation juries of leading animation schools Les Gobelins and Supinfocom in France and on the advisory boards and selection juries of many international animation festivals including: Imagina (Monte Carlo), FMX (Stuttgart), Brief Encounters(Bristol), Animex (Teeside) and SAND Swansea).

The symposium had several keynotes from VFX Supervisors and animators from large studios such as Warner Bros. and DreamWorks SKGand several talks were focused around digital technology innovation and software development behind the scenes.

It was great to see some of the local innovators in digital design and technology front up to discuss their design process and some of the complexities they face as they strive to innovate on each new project.

Dr Mark Sagar, Special Projects Supervisor of WETA Digital discussed the research behind the psychology of gestures in the development of facial animation for major digital characters such as Gollum and King Kong. In the same session, Mario Wynands of local game development studio, Sidhe Interactive, showcased the emerging games industry projects he and his team have been designing for Playstation 3, XBOX and PSP.

Cristina Casares, immigrated from Argentina in 2002 to tutor animation at the Media Design School. She then joined Huhu Studios in Northland as an animator and now has established her own company, La Luna Studios developing interactive media and a feature, The Magic Shoes in association with Kelly Park Films. Cristina talked about the process of dreaming a big project and finally seeing it begin to come to fruition – she has the support and mentorship of actor, Robert Duvall on the project.

Kim Lavery, SFX Producer at Weta Digital , championed the event in her role as executive of the international Visual Effects board and co-chair of the Visual Effects Awards. WETA Digital and Park Rd Post provided many of the speakers and the whole event was spearheaded by Positively Wellington Business who brought in the major sponsor, IBM alongwith the Foundation for Science Research & Technology, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.

WETA hosted a party Saturday night at the Brewery, and as luck would have it, the city put on a fantastic fireworks display for the guests. (Guy Fawkes had something to do with it!).

The ANIMFX Symposium attendees all agreed they would return for a bigger and brighter event next year which PWB has already agreed to support. There was an excellent buzz at the event and many new relationships were brokered. The overall feeling was that this was the beginning of new conversations and international relationships and that there is still a huge interest in the creativity coming out of New Zealand filmmakers and digital technology innovators.

For further information about the event contact Sally Thorburn, Positively Wellington Business. and check out the websites for more info.

Clare O’Leary (Clare is a researcher in the digital content sector and documentary filmmaker based in Wellington)


Popular posts from this blog

Games Industry History at Media NZ

Webstock! and more cool stuff of the week