2023 VES Honors Celebration Honorees Skirball2024-05-08T12:26:32-07:00

VES Honors Celebration

The VES celebrated the 2023 inductees into the VES Hall of Fame, VES Fellows, the newest Lifetime and Honorary members and this year’s recipients of the VES Founders Award.  More than 150 visual effects professionals and entertainment leaders attended to pay tribute to all the honorees at this exclusive, invitation-only cocktail reception held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

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Program Book

Honoree Bios

Founders Award Recipient

Awarded to any individual member of the VES who has significantly contributed to the success of the VES.

Tim McGovern, VES

An acclaimed Visual Effects Supervisor and Creative Director, McGovern began his career at the inception of digital/computer visual effects, in the otherwise analog VFX industry, doing award-winning, groundbreaking work in VFX and Computer Animation.  In addition to winning an Academy Award for Digital Visual Effects for Total Recall, he garnered five Clios, a Hugo and a Mobius award.  He was a founding member of Sony Pictures ImageWorks, and ran it as Senior VFX Supervisor, as well as the SVP of Creative and Technical Affairs.

Since leaving Sony, McGovern has worked as an independent Visual Effects Supervisor and filmmaker and has shot for films all over the world. He has supervised VFX for Hollywood Films in Mumbai, and now works at DNEG Mumbai, while also serving as Chief Creative Officer at Whisper Pictures, a development and production company focused on animated family films.

McGovern has played a number of key leadership roles with the VES over the last 20 years.  He has been a member of the global Board of Directors for almost 20 years and has served as the Board’s Vice Chair, as a founding Co-Chair of the VES Awards Committee and member of the Virtual Production Committee.  McGovern’s insights and tireless volunteer leadership have been key to the Society’s flourishing global expansion as the founding Chair of the VES Committee for Outreach to Developing Regions.  He has greatly contributed to the organization’s growth in multiple regions on four continents, including working with VES members to form Sections in Washington State, Georgia, France, Germany, India and assisting to help Montreal and Toronto achieve Section-hood.

Lifetime Members

Awarded for meritorious service to the Society, the industry and for furthering the interests and values of visual effects artists around the world.

Sandra Joy Aguilar

Aguilar is a renowned archivist and curator, who currently oversees metadata and indexing at University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education, an online educational resource which showcases video life histories of individuals who survived the Holocaust or other genocides. She previously served as Digital Curator at CBS Digital, Director of Archives for USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Warner Bros. and Moving Image Archives and Media Librarian at Industrial Light & Magic, where she served as the company’s first archivist for a 150,000-item post-production visual effects archive and reference library.  Aguilar has played a pivotal role in developing the VES library, digital museum and archive projects for the past 20 years.  She has had a long tenure on the VES global Board of Directors and as Co-Chair of the VES Archives Committee, and most recently is serving as a consultant on the forthcoming VES Roth Museum of Visual Effects and as a member of the Tech History Subcommittee of the Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Brooke Breton, VES

Breton has been principally involved in a wide variety of prominent live action films, animated films, television series and theme park projects which have received Academy, BAFTA, Emmy, Annie and VES awards and nominations.  Recently, Breton served as a producer for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum, where she focused on modern filmmaking techniques and acquisitions. During her career, Breton played an instrumental role in launching James Cameron’s effects house Digital Domain, where she served as Senior Vice President of Production, and was Senior Production Executive and in-house producer for Illumination Entertainment, where she produced the film content for the Annie and VES Award-winning Despicable Me theme park attraction, Minion Mayhem. Breton is an AMPAS governor representing the Visual Effects Branch and chair of the Academy’s Education and Outreach Committee, is a VES Fellow and has served as a three-term member on the VES global Board of Directors.

Bob Coleman, VES

Coleman is the President and Founder of Digital Artists Agency. With a roster of VFX talent that includes Academy Award, VES Award and Emmy Award winning artisans, DAA is recognized as a preeminent below-the-line agency, exclusively representing VFX artists for feature films, television and commercials. His tenure working in film production, visual effects and post production spans over 40 years and includes senior leadership positions with Victor Duncan Inc., Optimus Inc., Editel Chicago, Lucas Arts, Skywalker Sound, Digital Magic, and Virgin Digital Studios entities 525 and Virgin Television de Mexico. Coleman has served on the VES Awards Committee for 23 years, including nine years as Chair.  He has had a long tenure on the VES global Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, as well as providing significant contributions and leadership for the VES Business Labor and Law, Benefits, VES Summit and Membership Committees.

Tim McGovern, VES

An acclaimed Visual Effects Supervisor and Creative Director, McGovern began his career at the inception of digital/computer visual effects, in the otherwise analog VFX industry, doing award-winning, groundbreaking work in VFX and Computer Animation.  In addition to winning an Academy Award for Digital Visual Effects for Total Recall, he garnered five Clios, a Hugo and a Mobius award.  He was a founding member of Sony Pictures ImageWorks, and ran it as Senior VFX Supervisor, as well as the SVP of Creative and Technical Affairs.

Since leaving Sony, McGovern has worked as an independent Visual Effects Supervisor and filmmaker and has shot for films all over the world. He has supervised VFX for Hollywood Films in Mumbai, and now works at DNEG Mumbai, while also serving as Chief Creative Officer at Whisper Pictures, a development and production company focused on animated family films.

McGovern has played a number of key leadership roles with the VES over the last 20 years.  He has been a member of the global Board of Directors for almost 20 years and has served as the Board’s Vice Chair, as a founding Co-Chair of the VES Awards Committee and member of the Virtual Production Committee.  McGovern’s insights and tireless volunteer leadership have been key to the Society’s flourishing global expansion as the founding Chair of the VES Committee for Outreach to Developing Regions.  He has greatly contributed to the organization’s growth in multiple regions on four continents, including working with VES members to form Sections in Washington State, Georgia, France, Germany, India and assisting to help Montreal and Toronto achieve Section-hood.

VES Fellows

This title signifies that the individual is recognized for earning an outstanding reputation through sustained contributions to the art, science or business of visual effects, as well as through meritorious service to the Society and the entertainment industry at large for a period of not less than ten (10) years within the last twenty (20) years.

Jeff Barnes, VES is an entertainment and technology creative executive who continues to make marked impacts across Silicon Valley and Hollywood. As the Executive Vice President of Creative Development at Light Field Lab, Jeff drives cross-channel marketing initiatives and content creation for the company’s groundbreaking SolidLight holographic display platform.  Barnes previously co-founded and led powerhouse entertainment and visual effects companies, including CaféFX, The Syndicate, and Sententia Entertainment.  His studios were world-class providers of award-winning imagery on over 80 studio-released feature films including, Armageddon, The Aviator, Pan’s Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland, Iron Man and Universal Studios theme park ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Barnes has actively contributed to the development, support, and advancement of the creative community, serving as Chair and Vice Chair of the VES global Board of Directors, and was honored as a VES Lifetime Member.

Toni Pace Carstensen, VES is a founding member of the Visual Effects Society – joining the organization as member 0004 and serving as the Society’s first Treasurer. She was a founding member of the Executive Committee and served on the global Board of Directors for many years, as well as Co-Chair of the Global Education Committee, co-editor of the first edition of the VES Handbook of Visual Effects and with the Education Committee, generated the concept for VESAGE – a book showcasing the personal art of VES members. Carstensen serves as longtime Chair of the Vision Committee, which continues to engage with frontiers including VR/AR and holograms, and Treasurer of the Los Angeles Section.  Her feature credits include VFX Producer/Digital Production Manager on Avatar, Minority Report and Fantasia 2000.  Carstensen is a VES Lifetime Member and recipient of the 2017 VES Founders Award.

Bob Coleman, VES is also being honored this year as a VES Lifetime Member. Coleman is the President and Founder of Digital Artists Agency. With a roster of VFX talent that includes Academy Award, VES Award and Emmy Award winning artisans, DAA is recognized as a preeminent below-the-line agency, exclusively representing VFX artists for feature films, television and commercials. His tenure working in film production, visual effects and post production spans over 40 years and includes senior leadership positions with Victor Duncan Inc., Optimus Inc., Editel Chicago, Lucas Arts, Skywalker Sound, Digital Magic, and Virgin Digital Studios entities 525 and Virgin Television de Mexico. Coleman has served on the VES Awards Committee for 23 years, including nine years as Chair.  He has had a long tenure on the VES global Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, as well as providing significant contributions and leadership for the VES Business Labor and Law, Benefits, VES Summit and Membership Committees.

Chuck Finance, VES has been a valuable member of the VES for more than twenty years, following a long career in educational, information, and theatrical filmmaking.  Early in his career, he gained a reputation for producing and directing science films for the American Geological Institute, National Science Foundation, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other commercial film production companies.  Finance was the co-founder of Perpetual Motion Pictures, where he oversaw production of visual effects, titles, and opticals for such films as Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Leviathan and Mom and Dad Save the World; and then went on to work as a freelance VFX Producer and VFX Consultant for film and TV.  Finance played an instrumental role in the VES Awards, with his deep involvement on the Awards Committee for almost two decades, include service as the Chair and Co-Chair.

Shannon Gans, VES is a producer and builder of studios and teams at the leading intersection of creativity, technology and business.  She is part of the Apple team behind its new mixed-reality headset, in charge of mixed-reality content for the device; and is also an executive producer on an animated series for Jon Stewart at HBO.  Gans is best known as the CEO and Co-Founder of New Deal Studios, a 21st Century Creative Studio, a visual effects, design and production studio known for award winning sequences on more than 200 of the biggest films and commercials including Interstellar and The Aviator. Gans has extensive production and development experience in real time, independent feature films, commercials, visual effects, and spatial interactive content. Gans has played a leadership role with the Society in serving several terms on the global VES Board of Directors.

Tim McGovern, VES Is also being honored this year as a VES Lifetime Member and the 2023 Founders Award recipient. McGovern is an acclaimed Visual Effects Supervisor and Creative Director, who began his career at the inception of digital/computer visual effects, in the otherwise analog VFX industry, doing award-winning, groundbreaking work in VFX and Computer Animation.  In addition to winning an Academy Award for Digital Visual Effects for Total Recall, he garnered five Clios, a Hugo and a Mobius award.  He was a founding member of Sony Pictures Imageworks, and ran it as Senior VFX Supervisor, as well as the SVP of Creative and Technical Affairs. Since leaving Sony, McGovern has worked as an independent Visual Effects Supervisor and filmmaker. He has supervised VFX for Hollywood Films in Mumbai, and now works at DNEG Mumbai, while also serving as Chief Creative Officer at Whisper Pictures, a development and production company focused on animated family films.

McGovern has played key leadership roles with the VES over the last 20 years, including service as a member of the global Board of Directors, as the Board’s Vice Chair, as a founding Co-Chair of the VES Awards Committee and member of the Virtual Production Committee.  He was the founding Chair of the VES Committee for Outreach to Developing Regions and has greatly contributed to the Society’s growth in multiple regions on four continents, including working with VES members to form Sections in Washington state, Georgia, France, Germany, India and assisting to help Montreal and Toronto achieve Section-hood.

Ray McMillan, VES is a venerated Visual Effects Supervisor/Producer, Director and Director of Photography, known for his work on films including The Day After Tomorrow, The Incredible Hulk and X-Men.  His career has been punctuated with more than 40 awards for his work, including International Clios; New York, Toronto, Los Angeles and Chicago Art Director’s Awards and International Film and TV Festival of New York Awards.  McMillan started as a classically trained animator at Children’s Television Network, and then moved into visual effects for commercials, feature film and series across the US and Canada – including working this past year as VFX Supervisor on the Apple + series Jane.  McMillan is deeply involved with the VES Toronto Section, serving multiple terms as the Section Treasurer and Secretary, and chairing their studio screenings.

VES Hall of Fame

This distinction is bestowed upon a select group of professionals and pioneers who have played a significant role in advancing the field of visual effects by invention, science, contribution or avocation of the art, science, technology and/or communications.

Samuel Z. Arkoff (1918-2001).  Arkoff was an American producer of more than 200 low-budget exploitation films.  He was the co-founder of American Releasing Corporation, which later became known as American International Pictures (AIP). He is credited with starting several genres including beach party and outlaw biker movies, and his company played a substantial part in bringing the horror film genre to a novel level with successes such as Blacula, I Was a Teenage Werewolf and The Thing with Two Heads. AIP films starred many established actors in principal or cameo roles, including Boris Karloff and Vincent Price, as well as others who became household names, most notably Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. Arkoff also gave fresh talent including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen the opportunity to direct some of their early feature films. He was featured alongside former collaborators including Roger Corman, Dick Miller and Peter Bogdanovich in the documentary SCHLOCK! The Secret History of American Movies, about the rise and fall of American exploitation cinema.

Lawrence W. Butler (1908-1988) was an American special effects artist, best known as the inventor of the bluescreening process.  He won an Academy Award for Best Special Effects for his work on The Thief of Baghdad. Butler invented the blue screen and traveling matte technique in order to achieve the visual effects which were unprecedented in 1940. He was also the first special effects innovator to have created these effects in Technicolor, which was in its infancy at the time.  His filmography includes special effects for The Caine Mutiny, Casablanca, 20 Million Miles to Earth and Oscar-nominated work on That Hamilton Woman, Jungle Book and A Thousand and One Nights. Butler also received a Scientific and Technical Award from the Academy for the concept of applying low inertia and stepping electric motors to film transport systems and optical printers for motion picture production.

Wah Chang (1917-2003) was an American designer, sculptor, animator and artist.   In 1939, Chang became the youngest member of Disney’s effects and model department, where he sculpted the maquette of Pinocchio and articulated deer models for Bambi that animators used as references. He is lauded for the props he designed for Star Trek: The Original Series, including tribbles, the tricorder and communicator, and for his spectacular creations including the headdress for Cleopatra, masks for the original  Planet of the Apes, the dinosaurs in Land of the Lost and the time machine in the 1960 adaptation of H.G. Wells’ sci-fi favorite The Time Machine, for which he won an Academy Award for his visual effects work, but is not formally listed among the recipients of that award due to the way in which the credits were submitted to the Academy. Chang’s work as a stop-motion animator has been enjoyed for years in the cartoons Hardrock, Coco and Joe and Suzy Snowflake.

Norman Dawn, ASC (1884-1975) was an early American film director and artist.  Although cinematography was his chosen profession, he also functioned as producer, director, writer, designer, visual effects cameraman, matte painter, production illustrator and film editor. He was the first person to use the glass shot in a motion picture, now known as matte painting, and was the first director to use rear projection in film production. Dawn’s first film Missions of California made extensive use of the glass shot, in which certain parts of the intended image are painted on a piece of glass and placed in between the camera and the live action. Dawn combined his experience with the glass shot with the techniques of the matte shot. The low cost and high quality of Dawn’s matte shot made it the mainstay in special effects cinema throughout the century. His filmography includes A Tokyo Siren, Lure of the Yukon, and Orphans of the North.

Walter Percy Day O.B.E. (1878-1965) was a British painter best remembered for his work as a matte artist and special effects technician in the film industry. Day mastered the art of illusionist techniques, which enabled directors to enlarge their repertoire and tackle subjects which might otherwise have been too costly to produce. In 1922, he introduced the use of the glass shot into French cinema, which was used for the first time in Henry Roussel’s Les Opprimés, released in 1923, and hailed by critics as a revolution in cinematography. In addition to designing special effects, Day created trick photography for many British classics released during the forties, including The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and DeathBlack Narcissus, The Third Man and Laurence Olivier’s production of Henry V. He painted mattes and created trick shots for numerous films by Alexander Korda and later joined the Korda group as Director of Special Effects at Shepperton Studios where he remained until his retirement. In 1948, Day was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services to British cinema.

Marcel Delgado (1901-1976) was a Mexican-American sculptor and model-maker, whose technique revolutionized stop-motion animationPrior to Delgado, stop motion models were typically made from clay, which was difficult to adjust between shots. He built a skeleton for his models, made from Dural and then filled in with foam rubber or cotton cloth and covered with latex to serve as skin, giving his models a more natural and realistic look, while simultaneously making it easier to handle them. Delgado and Willis O’Brien worked together for many years and became one of the most respected special effects teams in Hollywood, inspiring great technicians and producers such as Ray Harryhausen.  Their most famous and groundbreaking collaboration was the original King Kong, who Delgado brought to life by sculpting one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history. After King Kong, Delgado continued to break new ground as a special effects master working on films like The Wizard of OzMighty Joe Young, The War of the Worlds, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Mary Poppins.

Farciot Edouart, ASC (1894-1980) was an American motion picture special effects artist and innovator of French descent, a recognized specialist and innovator in process photography, also known as rear projection.  At the onset of World War I, Edouart enlisted in the Camouflage Division of the Corps of Engineers, and patented a technique for detecting camouflage through photographic means, and then worked as a war photographer for the American Red Cross in Europe.  In addition to being adept at making back-projection look realistic and exotic locales appear authentic, Edouart also perfected the glass shot, which cleverly melded small models with full-sized sets. In a career that began in 1915 and spanned work on approximately 350 films, Edouart won a total of 10 Academy Awards: two competitive for I Wanted Wings and Reap the Wild Wind; seven technical and scientific awards; and an honorary award for Best Visual Effects for outstanding achievement in creating special photographic and sound effects for Spawn of the North.

Edward D. Wood Jr. (1924-1978) was an American filmmaker, actor, and pulp novel author. In the 1950s, Wood directed several low-budget science fiction, crime and horror films that later became cult classics, notably Glen or Glenda, Jail Bait, Bride of the Monster and Night of the Ghouls, several of which were collaborations with his personal movie idol, Bela Lugosi. Notable for their campy and low-brow aesthetics, unmatched stock footage, eccentric casts and idiosyncratic stories, Wood’s films remained largely obscure until he gained posthumous notoriety as the creator of “the worst film ever made” Z-movie classic Plan 9 from Outer Space, renewing public interest in his life and work. Following the publication of Rudolph Grey’s 1992 oral biography Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood Jr., the biopic Ed Wood was directed by Tim Burton. The cinematic homage, starring Johnny Depp as Wood, received critical acclaim and two Academy Awards, and cemented Wood’s unique legacy as a cult-icon.

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