BOD Bios

 

VES Board of Directors Bios

 

Michael Fink, Visual Effects Supervisor

Michael has earned degrees from California State University Northridge, San Francisco Art Institute, and California Institute of the Arts, in an attempt to disguise a checkered past.

Michael began working in film on China Syndrome in 1977. He “cut his eye teeth” on films such as Star Trek the Motion Picture and Blade Runner, and became a Visual Effects Supervisor on War Games (BAFTA Nomination), in 1982. He has since worked on over 50 films, including Buckaroo Banzai, Batman Returns (BAFTA and Academy Nominations), Braveheart, Mars Attacks!, X-Men, X-Men 2, Constantine, The Golden Compass (BAFTA Award, Academy Award), Tropic Thunder, Avatar, Tron: Legacy, Sucker Punch, Tree of Life, and Life of Pi.

Michael is a founding member of the Visual Effects Society, a member of the Executive Committee of the Visual Effects Branch of the Academy, and is a Visiting Professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, while continuing his visual effects career.

 

David Johnson - Lead VFX Artist, Infinity Ward

David Johnson is the Lead Visual Effects Artist at Activision/Blizzard’s Infinity Ward Studio as a hands on artist as well as supervisor/coordinator to multiple ATVI studios. David has 15 years of computer graphics experience, of which 13 has been dedicated to video games. David has shipped a remarkable 15+ video games and contributed on some of the largest names in video game history including the Call of Duty and Halo franchises. The combined revenue of games David has worked on exceeds 3 Billion Dollars, and have broken multiple records for units sold. David is an active VES member as a Board of Directors alternate, and member of the education and membership committees.

 

Jeff Kleiser - Visual Effects Supervisor, CEO and Cofounder, Synthespian Studios

Jeff Kleiser’s pioneering work in computer animation has spanned the history of the medium. He has contributed to films with groundbreaking visual effects including “Tron,” “Stargate,” “Judge Dredd,” “Clear and Present Danger”, “Mortal Kombat Annihilation”, “X-Men” and “X-Men United”. He served as senior visual effects supervisor on “The One”—a film in which martial arts master Jet Li battles his evil doppelganger that required the development of innovative digital face replacement techniques. More recently, Kleiser has supervised visual effects in “Exorcist The Beginning”, “Son of the Mask”, “Fantastic Four”, “Scary Movie 4” and “X-Men: The Last Stand”, “Surrogates” and “Ra.One”

With Diana Walczak, Kleiser has directed ambitious CG-animated stereoscopic films for projects such as the Thea and EDDY Award-winning “Amazing
Adventures of Spider-Man” thrill ride (for Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida); the Philip Glass/Robert Wilson digital opera, “Monsters of Grace”, “Santa Lights Up New York” for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and “Corkscrew Hill” an original ride attraction written by Kleiser and Walczak for Busch Entertainment.

Jeff Kleiser has presented papers at many international events including the London Effects and Animation Festival, SIGGRAPH, INA Imagina, NAB, Opera Totale and the Virtual Humans Conference. He has served as an industry expert in interviews with The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The ABC Evening News with Peter Jennings. Kleiser serves on the
board of directors of the Visual Effects Society, the board of trustees of The Norman Rockwell Museum, and the Board of Advisors to the Center for Integrated Media at the California Institute of the Arts. In addition, he is founder and trustee of the Williamstown Film Festival, a member of the CGSociety Advisory Board, a Fellow of the Grid Institute, and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

 

Kim Lavery | VFX Producer/ Executive Producer

Kim Lavery has more than two decades of experience with both production and post-production sides of filmmaking and visual effects producing. She was a news videographer/editor and then a TODAY SHOW news anchor with an NBC affiliate earlier in her career. She then worked for Universal Studios, in Studio Operations on film production, working with such films as; City Slickers, Hook, Dracula, Wayne’s World 2, The Shadow, and many more. Lavery shifted into visual effects in 1995.

Since then, she has been instrumental in building out specialized visual effects niche studios, working on films such as; Frida, Minority Report, Cats and Dogs, Charlie’s Angels, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Terminator 3, Last Samurai, etc.
Aligning herself with the global marketplace, she worked at Weta Digital in various producing roles on; Academy Award winning King Kong, XMen 3, Bridge to Terabithia, 30 Days of Night, Enchanted, The Water Horse, and Disney’s Corporate Logo 2006 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1IfpwJmHd8

Lavery Co-Founded AnimFX NZ in 2006; a conference dedicated to bringing Top Talents within the Film, Animation, Games & Technology sectors, from around the Globe, into NZ.

Currently, Kim is continuing her work with New Zealand and the US Film and Post Production markets. Her ongoing mission continues with combining traditional art and technology and combining her passion with aviation. Most recent involvements are with Aerial Cinematography, across several industry platforms.

Lavery 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. She is also a member of ‘Friends of ASC’, ‘Connecticut Aeronautical Historical Association’, ‘NZ Women in Aviation’, ‘Planes of Fame Air Museum’, and sits on the Carmel Art & Film Festival Board.

 

Brooke Lyndon-Stanford - Founder, Atomic Arts

 

Brooke formed his vfx business, Atomic Arts, almost 20 years ago with Justin Cornish, and they are 50/50 owners. Atomic Arts, based in London's West End in the UK, remains a boutique facility, specialising in movie effects, yet also creating animation and vfx for advertising (e.g. Turner is a long standing short format client), events (e.g. they created all the animation for a 10,000 pixel wide 30 minute long show for the King of Dubai shown on a 600 ft wide screen) & long format television (e.g. they did the vfx on the Discovery series Stephen Hawking's 'The Grand Design' ).

Brooke also uses Atomic Arts to act as incubators to film-makers, offering them office space and edit facilities, notably a collective called Picture Farm - run at the time by Adrian Sturges, Rupert Wyatt, and Gareth & Damian Lewis. They have worked on all of Rupert's work, notably the The Escapist (Vertigo), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Fox) and most recently The Gambler (Paramount).

Amongst many other projects, Atomic has also recently worked on Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (Fox), Into The Woods (Disney) and independent feature films Montana, Fishing Without Nets (Best Director, Sundance 2014) and Barking at Trees. Brooke VFX supervises for Atomic Arts on all these productions.

Brooke recently also founded a film company (www.omeira.com), based out of the UK along with Deepak Sikka, an executive producer on films such as The King's Speech and Moon, with the intention of making excellent sub $10M films.

 

 

Ken Maruyama - Vice President, Global Academic Relations and IPAX

In this role, Maruyama guides the Academic Relations and IPAX program by building strong relationships with participating schools to nurture the next generations of digital talent.  Imageworks Professional Academic Excellence (IPAX) program emphasizes training standards developed from real-world production issues and helps member schools better prepare their graduates for potential employment both at Imageworks and the industry at large. Key components of the Academic Relations / IPAX  program are the Internship program, Fellowships, Scholarships and on campus visits.

Maruyama also enhances SPI’s recruiting efforts in sourcing, attracting, assessing and hiring senior level talent and supervisors needed to work on highly regarded films as  Alice In Wonderland, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and Hotel Transylvania.  Maruyama and his team also strengthens SPIs stature as an Industry leader through “evangelizing” SPDP’s achievements, initiatives and successes through presentations, presence at  festivals and conferences, school visits and industry events

Prior to Imageworks, Maruyama was the Director of Digital Animation and Creature Development group at Industrial Light & Magic. This department was comprised of animators and artists who created and brought to life the digital creatures and characters featured in CASPER, DRAGONHEART, MEN IN BLACK, MARS ATTACKS!, THE LOST WORLD, JURASSIC PARK, and STARWARS: EPISODE I.  Maruyama also served as manager of special projects where he oversaw CG recruiting activities and was the principal organizer of the ILM Education Symposium.  He also founded ILM’s Diversity Outreach Program
Prior to ILM, Maruyama was the vice president and executive producer at Interface Video in Washington, D.C, where he managed the graphics and animation division. Interface was one of the few post-production facilities with in-house capabilities of producing 35mm motion control combined with 3D and 2D digital effects.

Maruyama has a master’s degree in graphic design from the University of California Los Angeles and is on the Board of Directors of the Visual Effects Society.

 

Jeffrey A. Okun

Jeffrey A. Okun has contributed visual effects design and execution to a wide-range of films including the award winning sci-fi hit Stargate (1994), Deep Blue Sea (1999), The Last Starfighter (1984), Sphere (1998), The Last Samurai (2003), Blood Diamond (2006) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008).

Okun is known for creating 'organic' and invisible effects, as well as spectacular effects which seamlessly expand both the look and scope of a film, but also enhances the storytelling aspect of the movie. Additionally, Jeff is the creator of the revolutionary visual effects techniques dubbed the "PeriWinkle Effect" & the "Pencil Effect", which have been used in many projects to help achieve more a sense of the fantastic, wonder and more accurate budgets. Okun is the author of breakdown, budgeting and tracking software currently being used by professionals throughout the industry.

 

Kevin Rafferty - Visual Effects Supervisor

Kevin Rafferty has been a leading force in Visual Effects and Feature Animation for 32
years.

He was most recently in New Orleans providing on-set VFX Supervision of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.

Earlier, he was the VFX Supervisor for The Monkey King 3D, set to release in China January 31, 2014.

Other projects include post-production VFX Supervision of The Day The Earth Stood Still and John Woo’s Red Cliff, the latter of which garnered 5 nominations at the 2009 Asian Film Awards, and won Best Visual Effects.

In 2007, Rafferty supervised the visual effects filming on set for Alvin and the
Chipmunks; a holiday hit both domestically and worldwide that year.

Earlier that year, he supervised visual effects production at locations and on the sets of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer for Weta Digital.

Prior to that, Rafferty was Senior Visual Effects Supervisor on the Cannes Film
Festival’s critical darling The Host, a Korean creature feature directed by Bong Joon-ho.

The Host went on to be the biggest film South Korean box offices have ever seen. He received the award from The 2007 Asian Film Awards for Best Visual Effects on The Host.

Rafferty has also supervised a number of commercial campaigns including a four spot campaign for PG&E out of Venables, Bell & Partners directed by Philippe Andre as well as a Sprint/BMW spot out of Publicis Hal Riney directed by Oskar Holmedal and Henry Moore Selder of StyleWar.

Previously, he was enlisted by Dreamworks Animation to design, implement and
oversee the entire computer graphics pipeline used to create the blockbuster CG feature Shark Tale, at the company’s Southern California computer animation studio.

During his nine years as Visual Effects Supervisor, Digital Effects Supervisor and Senior Visual Effects Artist at Industrial Light + Magic, Rafferty contributed to nine major films, including Star Wars: Episode One, The Perfect Storm, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, and Dragonheart all of which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.

Before joining ILM, Rafferty was a senior animator at Pacific Data Images. At PDI, Rafferty contributed to nine major films including Cliffhanger and Batman Returns.

Rafferty began his career in visual effects at Digital Productions where he was part of a group that received a Scientific Achievement award for Digital Scene Simulation at the 1985 Academy Awards. This was recognition for the groundbreaking digital effects in the film The Last Starfighter.

He is currently serving his fifth term on the Board of Directors of the Visual Effects Society.

Rafferty received his Masters degree in architecture from U.C.L.A. and his Bachelor of Art degree from Stanford University.

 

Gene Rizzardi - Model Supervisor

Emmy Award winning Model Supervisor
33 years of successful experience in the Motion Picture, Theme Park and Architectural Industries providing Miniatures, Special Effects and Props and Sets.
• Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – Visual Effects Branch
• Visual Effects Society – Board of Directors / Awards Committee, Membership committee, Archive committee/Special Effects Mentor
• VES Handbook of Visual Effects Author
• Association of Professional Modelmakers – Mentor/Special Effects
• IATSE Local 44 – Special Effects / Propshop

 

Eric Roth - Exceutive Director, VES

Eric Roth brings more than 20 years of strategic management, communications and public affairs experience to his position as Executive Director of the Visual Effects Society (VES).

Since taking over VES he has tripled the size of the organization and is frequently consulted on worldwide visual effects trends by journalists and vfx practitioners of all stripes. VES now has almost 3,000 members in 29 countries comprised of the most talented visual effects artists worldwide in film, TV, animation and video games.

Prior to joining VES, Eric was a former Chief of Staff at Los Angeles City Hall, in addition to directing the Government Affairs Department for the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).

 

Nancy St. John - Visual Effects Producer

Nancy has been in the visual effects business for over 30 years.

In 1996 she was the production side visual effects producer for the Academy Award Winner “Babe” and in 2001 for another Academy Award winner, Ridley Scott’s  “Gladiator”. She was also a visual effects producer for the Academy Award Nominee  “I-Robot” in 2004.

In 2013 she completed work on “Ender’s Game” directed by Gavin Hood where she worked on the Production side for both Odd Lot Entertainment and Lionsgate.

Prior to Ender’s Game she ran the Vancouver BC VFX division of Prime Focus and oversaw the completion of a number of VFX projects including “Men in Black 3”, “Total Recall” and “Resident Evil”.

Before that she was the in-house consultant to Relativity Media overseeing a number of projects to completion including “Limitless”, directed by Neil Burger and starring Bradley Cooper as well as the Tarsem Singh directed “The Immortals”.

Previous projects include “Charlotte’s Web”, based on the favorite children’s book.  Other production-side visual effects producer credits include Wes Anderson’s “Life Aquatic”, Ivan Reitman’s “Evolution” & Henry Selleck’s “James and the Giant Peach”. She also served as a visual effects consultant to Disney, DreamWorks, Fox, HBO, Paramount, Walden Media and Warner Bros. 

Nancy “grew up” with the visual effects industry, participating in the emergence of computer technologies in the film making process.  She has managed, produced, and executive produced at many visual effects and computer graphics facilities - Mill Film, Industrial Light & Magic, Pacific Data Images, Robert Abel & Associates, Digital Productions, and Vertigo Computer Imagery. She has also consulted with other renowned facilities such as Rhythm & Hues, Tippett Studios, and Pacific Title.

In 2001 Nancy co-produced her first short live action film, Cinema/Verité, with Scott Anderson directing.

She is serving her third term as an elected member of the Board of the Visual Effects Society and in 2014 was elected 2nd Vice Chair.

 

Mark Stetson - Visual Effects Supervisor

Mark Stetson began his visual effects career in 1978 as a model maker on 'Star Trek – The Motion Picture'. He was fortunate to spend his first decade working for visual effects luminaries Robert Abel, Douglas Trumbull, and Richard Edlund, learning the arts and techniques of visual effects as the industry transitioned from triumphs of clever mechanical gizmos and photochemical alchemy into the liberation of the digital age. He first gained international recognition for his landmark miniature work as the Chief Model Maker on Ridley Scott’s 'Blade Runner'.  Supervising the model shop, the prop shop and later the creature shop for Entertainment Effects Group and Boss Film Corporation from 1980 through 1988, his credits also included 'Brainstorm', 'Ghostbusters', and 'Die Hard'. Stetson received his first Academy Award® nomination in 1985 for his work at Boss Film Corp. for Peter Hyams’ '2010'.

In 1989 Mark incorporated Stetson Visual Services, Inc., with partner Robert Spurlock. Growing their families and their careers, Mark and Bob planned SVSI to be a five-year business, specializing in miniature effects and special effects for feature films, ride films, and commercials. Closing in 1995, they had earned a reputation as one of the top model shops in the industry and 60 film credits, including 'Dick Tracy', 'Edward Scissorhands', 'Batman Returns', 'The Hudsucker Proxy', 'True Lies', 'The Shadow', and 'Waterworld'. The 100-foot miniature Exxon Valdez built for ‘Waterworld’ can still be seen from space nestled amongst derelict aircraft near its shooting location at the Mojave Airport.
Stetson Visual Services, Inc. earned a Saturn Award nomination for 'Total Recall' in 1990.

Mark grew into his current Visual Effects Supervisor role in 1995, beginning at Digital Domain. In his debut effort, he won his first BAFTA Award in 1997 for Special Visual Effects for Luc Besson’s 'The Fifth Element'. After completing his second assignment, Walter Hill’s 'Supernova', Stetson left Digital Domain to spend a year and a half in New Zealand, planning and supervising visual effects during pre-production and production for Peter Jackson’s 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy. In 2002, he won an Academy Award® and his second BAFTA Award for Visual Effects for 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'.

From 2002 to 2004, Stetson supervised VFX at Sony Pictures Imageworks, for McG’s 'Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle' and P.J. Hogan’s 'Peter Pan'.  He then moved on to work for Warner Bros. from 2004 to 2006 on Bryan Singer’s 'Superman Returns', spending a year of that time in Australia.  That picture earned him his second Phoenix Film Critics Society Award, and his third VFX nominations from both AMPAS and BAFTA. Punctuating his own personal odyssey, Stetson was elected to the Hollywood Reporter/PGA’s first annual “Digital 50” list of digital content creators in 2006, recognizing his advancement of the art with the digital visual effects for 'Superman Returns'.

Mark spent the next three years supervising visual effects for feature film productions at Twentieth Century Fox and Walt Disney Studios: the Eddie Murphy comedy 'Meet Dave', Jonathan Mostow’s 'Surrogates', and Anne Fletcher’s romantic comedy 'The Proposal'.

In 2010, Mark joined Zoic Studios as Creative Director/Senior VFX Supervisor for Features VFX. Stetson lends creative oversight to Zoic's feature film projects for their studios in Los Angeles and Vancouver. Projects have included 'Red Riding Hood', Friends With Benefits', '30 Minutes Or Less', 'Straw Dogs', 'The Grey', 'Lawless', 'Premium Rush', 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2', 'Hidden', and ‘Big Eyes.’ His work at Zoic has also included VFX supervision on a few television projects, and in that capacity he earned his first Emmy nomination in 2013 for his work on the pilot for the ABC series ‘Revolution’.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Stetson studied industrial design at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut from 1972 to 1974, and then moved to California to continue his design studies at Art Center College of Design from 1975 to 1978.  It took him twenty years to acknowledge that Los Angeles was his home.  Married to his wife Leslie since 1980, they’ve raised two children in Los Angeles.  His daughter Katie currently works in the visual effects field.

Stetson was admitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in 1985, where he has served for many years on committees in the Visual Effects Branch and the Animation Branch. He has been a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) since 1998, and was admitted to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) in 2013.

Mark has been a member of the Visual Effects Society since 1997.  He has served on the Visual Effects Society Board of Directors, on the Membership Committee and two ad hoc Strategic Planning Committees. He was honored by the Visual Effects Society with a Founders Award in 2011 and with a Fellowship in 2012.

 

 

Susan Zwerman - (DGA UPM/Visual Effects Producer)

She is a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and the Visual Effects Society (VES). She chairs the DGA AD/UPM VFX/Digital Technology Committee, is a member of the Producers Guild of America, and Chair of the VES Special Projects. (VES). Over the past fourteen years she has planned and hosted numerous technology and visual effects seminars for these organizations.

Her credits appear on more than 50 major films, producing the visual effects for TALL TALE, (Disney) BROKEN ARROW, Fox) ALIEN RESURRECTION (Fox) MAFIA! (Disney) MEN OF HONOR (Fox) THE ONE (Revolution Studios) AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (Walden Media and Disney) FAT ALBERT, (Fox) and THE GUARDIAN (Disney/Touchstone) and VAMPS. Her other production credits include the acclaimed ALL THAT JAZZ, WISE GUYS, SCARFACE, NIGHTSHIFT, NIGHTHAWKS, and THE FLAMINGO KID.

A special highlight in Ms. Zwerman’s career was winning a Grammy Award for "Best Concept Music Video" in 1989, producing the I’M FAT music video starring Weird Al Yankovic. This led to the producing of the fantasy sequences and music videos of ‘Weird Al’ in the film UHF.

In addition, Ms. Zwerman is a well-known seminar leader at many universities, teaching visual effects techniques in the entertainment field. Susan co-authored the book on producing visual effects, “The Visual Effects Producer: Understanding the Art and Business of VFX”.

Web Site: http://www.crystalrain.biz

 
 
 

 

 

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