Escape Studios Adds Five VFX Experts to Advisory Board

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Escape Studios has added five members to its U.S. advisory board, selecting experts in the field from the likes of Pixar and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

The new members are: Afonso Salcedo of Pixar Animation Studios, Ken Maruyama of Sony Pictures Imageworks, John Leonti of The Mill, Patrick Davenport of Method and Andrew Bell of MPC.

“We pride ourselves on having direct contact with the VFX industry and incorporating their insight and feedback into our training programs,” said Dom Davenport, CEO and founder of Escape Studios. “I am delighted to welcome this caliber of industry talent and experience to our advisory board and look forward to working with them to make our US campus the best it can possibly be.”

“As a former Escape Studios student, I’ve experienced the quality of training first-hand and look forward to impacting future students with my knowledge of the industry,” said Afonso Salcedo, a full-time lighting artist at Pixar Animation Studios.

Here’s some details on the new board members:

  • Afonso Salcedo is a full-time lighting artist at Pixar Animation Studios and has worked on Academy Award-winning films Ratatouille, WALL•E, Up and most recently Toy Story 3. In his role, Salcedo works to create the atmosphere and final appearance a film’s director and director of photography are trying to achieve. He studied animation at Escape Studios.
  • As vice president of recruiting, academic relations and animation artist management at Sony Picture Imageworks, Ken Maruyama manages the company’s animators and recruits fresh talent. Additionally Maruyama directs the IPAX program, which establishes training standards developed from actual production issues and provides guidelines that help member schools better train graduates to meet industry requirements. He works to build strong relationships with IPAX associated schools and contributes to growing VFX talent.
  • Working as the co-head of 3D at The Mill’s Los Angeles office, John Leonti has helped grow the burgeoning department from 4 to 20 artists in three years. Leonti has over ten years of experience in 3D and has worked on films like Casino Royale, Amazing Grace and The Other Boleyn Girl. His credits also include an array of high-profile commercials, such as this year’s cars.com Super Bowl spot featuring anthropomorphic cars—“Reviews Are In”, as well as projects for Nintendo, Gatorade, Audi and Pepsi.
  • Patrick Davenport is the vice president of creative operations for Method’s Los Angeles and New York studios. With two decades of experience in VFX and production, Davenport has worked on award-winning projects such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Isuzu’s “Giant” (AICP Best Visual Effects and Clio Gold award for visual effects), Coca-Cola’s “Jitterbug” (Clio Gold award for best animation) and Iomega “Pool” (Clio Silver award for best animation). He also produced a variety of series and documentaries for Bravo, E! Entertainment, VH1 and MTV. In addition to being on Escape Studio’s advisory board, Davenport is a member of BAFTA and The Visual Effects Society.
  • As head of product for commercials at MPC’s Los Angeles studio, Andrew Bell is charged with winning business and managing several high profile agencies, including the likes of Grey, Wieden & Kennedy, Saatchi & Saatchi, Droga 5 and Team One. Bell came to MPC in 1999 and was a senior producer since 2002. Some of his recent projects include VES nominated DirecTV “Ice Cream” (Rupert Sanders), Travelers “Watering Hole” (Dante Ariola), Puma “BlamBlam” (Fredrik Bond) and Lexus IS “Which One” (Patrick Daughters).