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.