Mark StetsonMark Stetson began his film 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 – The Year We Make Contact.
In 1989 Mark founded Stetson Visual Services, Inc., with partner Robert Spurlock. SVSI operated until 1995, specializing in miniature effects and special effects for feature films, ride films, and commercials. They counted 100 commercial credits and 60 film credits during those six years, including Dick Tracy, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, The Hudsucker Proxy, True Lies, The Shadow, and Waterworld. Stetson Visual Services, Inc. earned a Saturn Award nomination for Total Recall in 1990.
Achieving his career goal, Mark joined Digital Domain as a visual effects supervisor in 1995. In his debut effort, he won his first BAFTA Award in 1997 for Luc Besson’s science fiction fantasy The Fifth Element. After completing his second assignment, Walter Hill’s Supernova, Stetson left Digital Domain to spend nineteen months 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 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 to Warner Bros. from 2004 to 2006 for 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 Academy Award® nomination and BAFTA nomination. 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 and animation of Superman Returns.
Mark spent 2007 at Twentieth Century Fox for the Eddie Murphy comedy Meet Dave, directed by Brian Robbins. In 2008 and 2009, Mark returned to Disney for Jonathan Mostow’s Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis. During his time at Disney, he also consulted on the visual effects for Anne Fletcher’s romantic comedy The Proposal.
Mark joined Zoic Studios in 2010, where he worked until 2018 as Creative Director and Senior VFX Supervisor. Based at Zoic Studios LA, he traveled frequently to Zoic’s Vancouver studio to work directly with the VFX teams there on the full spectrum of feature film and television VFX assignments. He also traveled to various locations to work on-set, acting as both production-side and Zoic’s VFX Supervisor. Mark’s movie projects at Zoic included Red Riding Hood (2011), Friends With Benefits (2011), 30 Minutes Or Less (2011), Straw Dogs (2011), The Grey (2011), Lawless (2012), Premium Rush (2012), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (2012), Big Eyes (2014), Hidden (2015), and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016). Mark’s television projects at Zoic included pilots for two ABC series, the Emmy-nominated Revolution (2012) and Intelligence (2014). One of his most notable assignments at Zoic Studios was supervising the VFX for the ABC mini-series When We Rise (2017).
Returning to freelance VFX supervision in 2018, Mark completed work on New Line Cinema's comedy Isn't It Romantic? Following that, he worked in Atlanta and LA as VFX Supervisor for Amazing Stories, for Amblin Television and Apple TV+. His current assignment, as of Spring 2020, is Taylor Sheridan's Those Who Wish Me Dead, for New Line Cinema and BRON Studios.
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.
Mark joined the Visual Effects Society in 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 VES with a Founders Award in 2011 and with a Fellowship in 2012.
Mark has also been a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) since 1998, after winning his first BAFTA Award for visual effects for The Fifth Element.
Mark joined the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) in 2013, after he earned his first Emmy nomination 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 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 realize that Los Angeles was his home. Married to his wife Leslie since 1980, they’ve raised two children in Los Angeles. His daughter Katie also works as a visual effects professional. Mark and Katie are the first father-daughter simultaneously-active members of the Visual Effects Society.
Role with the VESActive Member since 1997
Membership Committee, 1999-2019
Past Chair of the Membership Committee
VES Founders Award, 2011
VES Fellowship, 2012
Past member of the Board of Directors and Strategic Planning Committee