The Visual Effects Society (VES) — the industry’s global professional honorary society — announces its 2017 Board of Directors officers. The five officers, who comprise the VES Board Executive Committee, were elected at the January 2017 Board meeting.
VFX producer Mike Chambers was re-elected as Chair. Joining him as officers are Jeffrey A. Okun, VES as 1st Vice Chair; Kim Lavery, VES as 2nd Vice Chair; Dennis Hoffman as Treasurer; and Rita Cahill as Secretary.
“We are fortunate to have such esteemed leadership represented on the Executive Committee,” said Eric Roth, VES Executive Director. “Collectively, these talented professionals bring passion, diverse experience and enormous commitment to our organization. We look forward to Mike Chambers’ continued leadership in taking the organization and our global membership to new heights.”
Chair Mike Chambers is a freelance VFX producer and independent VFX consultant, specializing in large-scale feature film productions who has worked with numerous A-list producers and directors on dozens of VFX-heavy films, and his consulting service clients include most major studios and several VFX facilities. Chambers is currently in post-production on Dunkirk, his third collaboration director Christopher Nolan, after The Dark Knight Rises and Inception. Other recent credits include Alice Through The Looking Glass and Transcendence.
Chambers has contributed to the VFX on many Academy & BAFTA award-winning films, and has personally won two VES Awards for Best Visual Effects for The Day After Tomorrow and Inception. He was also nominated for his work on I Am Legend.
A 20-year member of the VES, Chambers has served multiple terms on their Board of Directors. He is beginning his third term as Chair and previously served on the Executive Committee as both Vice Chair and Secretary of the organization. He is also a longtime member of the Producers Guild of America.
1st Vice Chair Jeffrey A. Okun is known for creating “organic” and invisible effects as well as spectacular VFX showpieces. Currently working on Albert Hughes’ The Solutrean (Studio 8/Sony Pictures), Okun has won the VES Award for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects for The Last Samurai. His credits also include award-winning films Blood Diamond, Stargate, Sphere, Red Planet, Deep Blue Sea, Lolita and The Last Starfighter. He is also the creator of widely used VFX tracking and bidding software, and techniques for underwater bluescreen (PeriWinkle Effect) and accurate VFX count and budget prediction (Pencil Effect).
Okun was recently elected Chair of the Los Angeles Section of VES. He has also been named a Fellow of the VES and a recipient of the Founder’s Award. He also created the VES Handbook of Visual Effects. Okun served as VES Board Chair for seven years, and is also a member of AMPAS’ Visual Effects Branch, the Academy of Television Arts and Science, and an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers.
2nd Vice Chair Kim Lavery is a 30-year industry veteran with experience in both production and post-production of film and VFX. Beginning her career as a news videographer and then a Today Show anchor, Lavery moved into film production at Universal Studios in its Studio Operations department, shifting to VFX in 1995. She has since been instrumental in building out boutique VFX studios as well as VFX producing, and is currently involved with aerial and AR/VR cinematography.
Lavery was recently named a Fellow of the VES as well as a recipient of the Founder’s Award. She has served as co-Chair of the VES Awards since its inception in 2002, and has served on the Board of Directors for most of the last decade. Lavery is also Secretary of the VES Bay Area Section Board.
Treasurer Dennis Hoffman is a 20-year VFX veteran and currently President of Stargate Studios Vancouver. He was previously MD and SVP of Framestore in Montreal, overseeing high profile projects Paddington (StudioCanal), The Legend of Tarzan (WB) and Pan (WB/RatPac-Dune). Hoffman has also held executive positions at Digital Domain, Deluxe’s Method and CIS, Cinesite and Dream Quest Images. Over the years he has been involved in VES Award-winning films Changeling and Flags of Our Fathers, Oscar nominee Mighty Joe Young, VES nominee Invictus and Emmy VFX prize winner Earth 2.
Hoffman is a founding member of the VES and also serves on the Board of the Vancouver Section. He is also a Board member of the Spark CG Society, which holds Animation and VFX conferences and festivals in Vancouver.
Secretary Rita Cahill is an international business and marketing/PR consultant for a number of US, Chinese, Canadian, UK and EU companies for visual effects and animation projects. Current and former clients include companies in the feature film, TV, VR and game industries, as well as government and educational entities. She is also a partner in MakeBelieve Entertainment, and serves as Executive Producer on a number of international projects. Cahill was previously VP of Marketing for Cinesite, which delivered work on over 200 feature films during her tenure — including the first ever DI, O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Prior to Cinesite, Cahill was a founding Board member of the Mill Valley Film Festival/California Film Institute, and remains on the Institute’s Emeritus Board of Directors. She was also the Founding Consultant for the Singapore International Film Festival. This is Cahill’s third term as VES Secretary, and she has served as Chair or co-Chair of the VES Summit for the last seven years.