Visual Effects Supervisor, CafeFX/The Syndicate

 BEN GROSSMANN

Visual effects supervisor and director Ben Grossmann’s range of talents is as diverse as his background. Born in Washington, D.C., he grew up in Alaska, where he attended the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He put himself through college as a photojournalist, stringing for the Associated Press, where he worked in large and small format film and traditional hand-processing and printing. Grossman left college in his senior year, three credits short of a bachelor’s degree in international politics, to start a television production company. Working as videographer, then editor and producer, he ushered in the transition from linear to non-linear editing workflows.

Moving to Los Angeles in 2001 to seek out what he considered to be the future of filmmaking, Grossmann began his career in feature film visual effects with paint and roto positions on films like Spider-Man and Hart's War. He was visual effects supervisor on Hollow Man II, sequence supervisor on Sin City and compositing supervisor on The Day After Tomorrow. He was also a digital compositor on Master and Commander and The Italian Job. In addition to serving as supervising compositor on more than 650 shots for Coronado, Grossmann designed the main titles for the film.

In 2006, Grossmann won an Emmy for Outstanding Visual Effects for his work as a digital compositor on the 2005 mini-series The Triangle. 

Since joining The Syndicate, Grossmann has directed the You Are Here commercial campaign for Six Flags, on which he was additionally responsible for all aspects of production, still photography, and visual effects design and supervision. He has also directed Anatomical, a television and print campaign for sport equipment manufacturer CCM.

Grossmann recently won a Gold Clio for visual effects on The Key to Reserva, a seven-minute commercial short film for the Spanish winery Freixenet, working with famed director Martin Scorsese. Earlier this year, Grossmann enjoyed a similar collaboration with Scorsese and visual effects supervisor Rob Legato on the Rolling Stones feature film Shine a Light.  He has just wrapped VFX Supervising principle photography on Scorsese's next film Shutter Island with The Syndicate as lead VFX house.

He also recently designed the workflow and VFX supervised the groundbreaking Radiohead music video for "House of Cards;" the first known project to be shot entirely with LIDAR scanners.  The video has received acclaim, and the raw data elements were provided on Google for anyone to create their own version of the video, spawning a flood of user-created variations building off The Syndicate's work.

Identifying the rising talent that will shape the industry in the coming years, The Hollywood Reporter singled out Grossmann in its prestigious 2007 Next Generation issue.  Grossmann continues to direct commercials and VFX supervise a variety of features, commercials and music videos for The Syndicate while developing new film and digital workflows for filmmaking.

Speaker years: 
2009