Atkin to Leave VES Helm

Visual Effects Society (VES) founding exec. director Tom Atkin will step down when his contract expires at the end of July 2004. Atkin has seen the organization grow exponentially since its founding in 1993 and plans to pursue other ventures as an entrepreneur.

"I have been so honored to be a part of the Visual Effects Society for the past ten years," Atkin says on the VES news web site, www.vfxpro.com. "Stepping aside from this post was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. However, I truly missed the entrepreneurial spirit of creating something from ground zero."

Now 900 global members strong, VES has successfully presented five visual effects festivals in the U.S. and three in Europe. It will soon add an event in Asia to bring the total number of festivals to nine in ten years. In addition, the organization launched an annual awards ceremony last year in Los Angeles. At this year’s celebration, scheduled for Feb. 2004, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to George Lucas.

In the past, VES has bestowed various honors upon EFX luminaries such as Ray Harryhausen, Doug Trumball, Dennis Muren, Peter Ellenshaw, Linwood Dunn and Albert Whitlock.

"We are deeply saddened to see Tom leave," says Jim Morris, chairman of the board of the Visual Effects Society and president of Lucas Digital. “Tom has achieved monumental tasks over the past 10 years to bring the Society to where it is today and we will be forever indebted to him for his dedication and drive."