Tuesday, January 23, 2018
  • Monday, Oct. 24, 2016
VFX/Animation News & Developments for October 2016
Eric Maurer
Key Hires At Blur Studio

Animation, visual effects and design company Blur Studio continues to expand with the hiring of Eric Maurer as character effects supervisor and Oded Raz as asset supervisor. Maurer and Raz will bolster Blur’s leadership team, increase the studio’s capacity for larger projects, and foster the development of new technology as the company gears up for the next round of feature work by Blur co-founder and Deadpool director Tim Miller. 

Maurer joins Blur with more than two decades of experience in the visual effects industry. He spent 15 years at Blue Sky Studios as the primary architect of the character effects and voxel rendering pipeline used across the facility, and contributed to 11 animated features including The Peanuts Movie, Rio and all five films in the Ice Age franchise. Prior to joining Blue Sky Studios, Maurer worked as a technical director and digital effects supervisor on film and commercial projects at multiple facilities in New York including R/GA and Imaginary Forces. He has presented three SIGGRAPH sessions on topics ranging from characters and landscapes in Rio, to interpreting Dr. Seuss’ style with 3D fur. 

Raz joins Blur with many years of experience as a CG supervisor and look development lead for visual effects companies including Luma Pictures, Digital Domain and Mirada Studios. He has worked as both an artist and a supervisor on many major Hollywood feature films and high profile commercial projects. His feature credits include Doctor Strange, Captain America: Civil War, Deadpool, Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron. He has also developed commercial visual effects for brands including Disneyland, Coca Cola, Nike, Microsoft and Universal. 

Grand Time At OIAF
Louise En Hiver, directed by Jean-Francois Laguionie, won the Grand Prize for Best Animated Feature at last month’s Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). Earning honorable mention in the category was Cafard directed by Jan Buitheel. Louise En Hiver is from France and Canada, while Cafard is from Belgium, France and The Netherlands.

The Grand win enjoyed by Louise En Hiver marked a return to the winners’ circle for Laguionie who won a Grand Prize at OIAF in 1982 for La traversee del l’Atlantique a la rame.

Taking this year’s OIAF Grand Prize for Independent Short was J’aime Les Fillies. The Canadian film features a colorful series of narratives in which women recount the discovery of homosexual desire in short, sweet vignettes.

Among the other OIAF winners were: Honda’s “Paper” for Best Commissioned Animation (directed by stop motion animation maestro PES of production house RESET for agency RPA in Santa Monica, Calif.); Suijun-Genten (Datum Point), a Ryo Orikasa-directed film from Japan which earned the Award for Best Experimental or Abstract Animation from Japan; and L’aveugle, Vaysha (Blind Vaysha), a Canadian film directed by Theodore Ushev which topped the Best Narrative Short Animation category. Blind Vaysha additionally won the Canadian Film Institute Award for Best Canadian Animation at OIAF. 

In the Craft Award categories, honorees included Velodrool directed by Sander Joon, a film from Estonia which earned Best Animation Technique distinction; director Rune Spaans’ The Absence of Eddy Table, a Norway entry that copped the award for Best Design; and Fired On Mars from Nick Vokey and Nate Sherman, an American entry scoring the Best Script honor.

Nexus Tackles Youth Homelessness
The charity End Youth Homelessness and Leo Burnett, London, have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the dilemma faced by 80,000 young people in the UK, who find themselves trapped in dire circumstances both at home or on the streets. 

The campaign, called “Get Them To A Safe Place” features varied elements, including an online film which was unveiled on Oct. 10 which was World Homeless Day. The film shows an animated figure moving across the spray painted words on buildings, highlighting the precarious position these young people are in. The 60-second film was directed by FX Goby through Nexus, London. 

End Youth Homelessness supports nearly 15,000 young people every year. Research suggests that ten times as many young people in the U,K, asked for help from local authorities in 2015 because they were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless--and thousands were turned away.

Nicholas Connolly, director of End Youth Homelessness, said: “There are more than 80,000 young people experiencing homelessness in the U.K. today and Leo Burnett is helping us to enable those young people to escape homelessness for good, by bringing the issue to the fore.”

Goby’s support team at Nexus included executive producer Jeremy Smith, producer Fernanda Garcia Lopez and technical director  Elliott Kajdan. 

The Leo Burnett London ensemble included chief creative officer Chaka Sobhani, creative director/art director Ed Tillbrook, creative director/copywriter Richard Ince, creative director Adam Tucker, graphic designer Marc Donaldson, and producer Michelle Hickey.

Sam Robson of 750mph, London, handled audio.