2013 VES Summit Sets Speakers, Content

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The Visual Effects Society has confirmed featured sessions for the fifth annual VES Summit, with the theme “A New Reality: Content Creation and Distribution.”

The daylong interactive forum on Oct. 26 will bring together top creators, executives, thought leaders and visionaries from diverse disciplines to illustrate new pathways to creativity and problem-solving in an atmosphere akin to TED Talks.

Prominent speakers sharing insights into the elements for success in the new VFX landscape will include:

Former Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences presidents Sid Ganis and Hawk Koch, who will provide an intimate glimpse into life at the center of the changing entertainment industry.

Interplanetary robotics expert Nagin Cox, who will share her frontline perspectives on exploring new frontiers as a team member on missions to Mars and Jupiter.

And, building on the VES’s 2013 whitepaper, “The State of the Global VFX Industry,” Carnegie Mellon Prof. Carl Rosendahl will lead a discussion with top-tier studio and facility experts on new formulas for financial success in the dynamic global marketplace. Panelists include: Chris DeFaria, president of digital production, animation and visual effects, Warner Bros.; Christian Kubsch, president of Method Studios; Tim Sarnoff, president of Digital Productions, Technicolor; and Ed Ulbrich, producer and former CEO of Digital Domain.

“During this paradigm shift in the VFX industry, we’re proud to bring together an exceptional group of innovators who have charted new territory in entertainment, business and technology and even pushed the boundaries of our known universe,” said Eric Roth, VES executive director. “The next generation of VFX leaders will be those who embrace new ways of thinking and engineer the business climate of tomorrow.”

Here’s how the organizers describe the programming for the event:

  • Mission: Possible: Join Nagin Cox to hear riveting tales of science and exploration from behind the missions. A former captain in the U.S. Air Force stationed at NORAD/Space Command, Cox joined JPL in 1993. Since then she has served as a systems engineer and manager on multiple interplanetary robotic missions including NASA/JPL’s Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rover Missions and the Kepler telescope mission to search for earth-like planets around other stars. She also led the first phase of the proposal that has since become NASA’s 2016 Mars Mission — InSight. She is currently on the mission operations team for Mars Science Laboratory NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover that landed in August 2012 and has been exploring Mars ever since.
  • Center Square: AMPAS Presidents Exclusive: Former Academy presidents Sid Ganis and Hawk Koch talk about life, leadership and our love affair with the movies and Oscar during a time of rapid technological, creative and economic transition. Both are strong advocates in the ongoing effort to protect artists’ rights and set artistic standards that reflect the current state-of-the-art. Ganis served as AMPAS president from 2005-2009. He founded Out of the Blue Entertainment in 1996 after a distinguished career as a senior executive at Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Lucasfilm. During his storied career, Ganis greenlit Ghost, bought the rights to Forrest Gump, and worked closely with George Lucas on the production and marketing of The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Koch is a veteran movie producer who currently serves as president of the Producers Guild of America with Mark Gordon. He recently completed his tenure as AMPAS president serving from 2012-2013. He has been intimately involved with the making of more than 60 major motion pictures, among them such classics as Marathon Man, Chinatown, Wayne’s World, Peggy Sue Got Married, Heaven Can Wait, The Way We Were and Rosemary’s Baby.
  • In the Black: New Strategies for VFX Profitability: Carl Rosendahl, associate professor at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University and former president of PDI/DreamWorks, along with a panel of studio and facility veterans, will focus on critical profit and pricing challenges facing the VFX community and options to help companies “get the red out.” As companies continue to pursue options to enhance both efficiency and profitability, they ask — What dynamics are within our reach? Who is leading by example? And how can we chart a course for a more sustainable VFX future without sacrificing quality and artistry? This forum will showcase bidding models with the potential to increase financial stability including fixed bid, cost plus and four walling and ways to amplify transparency and accountability.

Additional updates on speakers and panels will be available soon.

The 2013 VES Summit takes place Oct. 26, at the W Hotel in Hollywood. The summit site is www.visualeffectssociety.com.

2013 VES Summit

2013 VES Summit