The all-online Animation Productions Days conference / co-production & financing market is taking shape, with plans to look at how the animation industry has weathered the past year and explore the future perspectives and trends that are emerging for the post-crisis period. APD 2021 will be held virtually May 4-7, presented by the Int’l Festival of Animated Film in Stuttgart and FMX Conference (www.animationproductiondays.de).
The first section of the conference, “Enable! Case Studies and Market Trends,” will be hosted by APD curator Prof. Lilian Klages and streamed from 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 6 from the FMX studio in Ludwigsburg. In the first case study, Ainbo – Spirit of the Amazon, Edward Noeltner from the Cinema Management Group will look at the very exciting and innovative animation market in Latin America and use the example of the Peruvian-Dutch coproduction of Ainbo to reveal possibilities for European-Latin American cooperation. The second case study will explore the future of transmedia storytelling as a team of students from the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg present NeoShin, their cyberpunk project which combines a narrative series with music and new media to deliver a coherent transmedia experience.
The Content Briefing Session will be streamed from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 7 from the ITFS studio. APD curator Christophe Erbès will interview four representatives from major broadcasters and streaming platforms about their current animation programming needs: Janine Weigold, Manager of Kids & Family Original Content at Netflix; Patricia Hidalgo, Director of Children’s & Education at the BBC; Orion Ross, Vice President of Content Animation & Digital at The Walt Disney Company – EMEA; and Jens Ripke, Head of Fiction for Children & Youth at ZDF. A subsequent joint panel discussion will look at which animation content is currently in demand and will also explore whether and in what way the pandemic has had an impact on programming strategies and what this means for the animation industry.
APD participants can access the streams via the APD online platform. In addition, the conference will be included in the ONLINE PRO area of ITFS and its first section will be part of the FMX online program.
More than 160 participants from 25 countries have been accredited for the APD co-production and financing market. From May 4-7, they will be discussing 51 selected animation projects in pre-planned video meetings. Check out all of the selected projects online and see the list of accredited companies for APD here. Alongside the co-production and financing market and the APD conference, there will be additional digital networking opportunities to facilitate industry-specific exchanges and discussions.
In further news from Stuttgart, FMX‘s (www.fmx.de) schedule for May 4-6 is almost complete — once again bringing together the who’s who of the digital arts industry for enlightening, not-to-be-missed programs. Among the many highlights are presentations on the visual effect spectacle Godzilla vs. Kong and insights into the VFX of WandaVision shown exclusively at FMX 2021. This year’s show also spotlights the power of collaboration in our current reality and future.
FMX 2021 will present three sessions tackling the visual effects extravaganza that is Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs. Kong, which is proving a monster smash in cinemas around the world.
- MPC Film‘s VFX team will pull back the curtain on the visual effects and animation work behind one of GvK‘s most monstrously epic scenes on May 4 at 4:30 p.m. CET. MPC VFX Supervisor Pier Lefebvre-Cleroux, Animation Supervisor Michael Langford and Lead Animator Lucas Nunes will reveal the creative and technical challenges behind the latest chapter in the monsterverse.
- Scanline VFX presents “Creating a monster mash on the ocean for Godzilla vs. Kong“ on May 5 at 4:30 p.m. CET. VFX Supervisor Bryan Hirota will walk viewers through the design and creation process for Kong, highlighting developments in their creature pipeline that enabled Scanline to bring him to life and the range of emotional states he cycles through. He will also discuss how Scanline created the ocean battle between Godzilla and Kong and the sheer amount of effects and destruction simulation work that went into the sequence, all while taking the creatures’ scale in and on the water into account.
- The third presentation on Godzilla vs. Kong will be made by Weta Digital. Details are yet to be announced.
“A Vision Like You’ve Never Seen (and the VFX most people still don’t)” will look at the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe sensation, the television miniseries WandaVision. The presentation is exclusively made for FMX 2021 and will only be streamed once at the scheduled time: May 5 at 6 p.m. CET.
- The best visual effects are the ones that go unnoticed. On WandaVision, the VFX studio Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies (MARZ) was responsible for creating the photoreal VFX behind one of Marvel’s most iconic characters – a cape-clad human-like red android with the power of flight and a yellow gem embedded in his forehead. The cape. The smooth face panels. The comedic expressions. The makeup, tracking markers and greenscreens. MARZ VFX Supervisor Ryan Freer will break down the challenges and techniques behind perfecting Vision as he passes from decade to decade on Marvel’s first Disney+ series.
FMX 2021 will also shine a light on the vital importance of collaboration, teamwork and adapting to change in any audiovisual production — made all the clearer by the past year’s unexpected challenges. Imke Fehrmann, COO and Executive Producer of Akkord Film Produktion, curated a track that explores the power of collaboration now and in the future:
- The panel “Virtual Production – Game Changer in Animation & VFX?” moderated by Jinko Gotoh (Producer, Netflix), will discuss the advantages, challenges and blue sky of the future of virtual production techniques. Speakers include Eve Roth (Lead Technical Artist, Parallux), Pepe Valencia (Visualization Supervisor, BARABOOM! Studios) and Lyndon Barrois (Animation Director and Video Artist).
- A presentation looks at the long and successful history of Sony Pictures Animation (SPA) and Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI), making movies together that are as varied as they are beautiful. Join SPA’s Head of Production Pam Marsden and SPI’s Executive Vice President Michelle Grady for a deep dive into this unique partnership, why it works and how they work together to create iconic films including the Academy Award-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and their latest production, the visually ground-breaking action comedy The Mitchells vs. The Machines.
- Starting a new job, meeting the team, finding your feet in a new role – an exciting and often equally daunting experience for the new starter, regardless of experience level. In 2020, remote working and virtual teams made this even more difficult, both for the new employee as well as for the company and managers. The panel “Team Building, Onboarding & Culture – Not Only a Challenge in the Virtual Workplace” explores opportunities and ideas for our current situation and the future of teams. Panelists include Tara Kemes (Studio General Manager, Cinesite), Natasia Schumacher (Head of Operations, Method Studios) and Paulene Hamilton (Head of People and Talent, Blue Zoo Animation Studio).