VES Luminary Interviews
Watch and enjoy our insightful Luminaries Video Series, featuring some of the biggest names in visual effects — VFX legends, luminaries and VES award winners from around the globe. Let their VFX stories engage and inspire you to carry forth and create.
Rob Legato, ASC
An up close and personal interview with Rob Legato, ASC, renowned visual effects supervisor and cinematographer.
In this exclusive conversation, Legato shares his early fascination with moviemaking, wide-eyed watching PINOCCHIO as a child and his epiphany upon watching THE GODFATHER as a teenager, which propelled his path forward. Legato shares the happenstance “in the air” that helped him land his first job, his trajectory from STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION to his entrée to feature film on INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (a small film that became big thanks to Tom Cruise), breaking new ground using motion capture to recreate humans on TITANIC, his work on big pictures and rich creative relationships with James Cameron, Martin Scorsese and Jon Favreau. Legato shares his love of the art of cinema and how the camera moves and his advice for the next generation of filmmakers…and more!
Legato’s innovative visual effects work has garnered him three Academy Awards, two Emmys, two BAFTAs and five VES Awards. Legato has most recently been in the spotlight for his groundbreaking work on Disney’s THE LION KING and THE JUNGLE BOOK, and his storied filmography includes serving as visual effects supervisor and often 2nd unit director and/or director of photography for acclaimed films including AVATAR, TITANIC, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, THE AVIATOR, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, and HUGO. He is also credited with conceiving and creating the virtual cinematography pipeline used by James Cameron on AVATAR.
Jonathan Erland, VES
An up close and personal interview with Jonathan Erland, VES, VFX artist, technologist and pioneer.
In this exclusive conversation, Erland shares his origin story, from his days as an actor and student filmmaker, to his work as a game-changing visual effects master, to his mission to create a VFX branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He shares tales from the journey, from creating puppet theater for the New York World’s Fair to doing “industrial strength model making” on STAR WARS to achieving director Clint Eastwood’s vision of a shiny black Russian mig jet fighter in FIREFOX…and all of the creative problem-solving that entailed!
Erland is a founder of the Visual Effects Society, the recipient of the inaugural VES Founders Award and Lifetime Membership honors, and was among the first to receive the VES Fellows distinction. As Chairman of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Visual Effects Award Steering Committee, he was instrumental in establishing Visual Effects as a Branch of the Academy. He served 11 years on the Academy’s Board of Governors and 25 years on the Executive Committee of the Visual Effects Branch and the Scientific and Engineering Awards Committee. Erland also received the Academy’s Scientific and Engineering Award and the Gordon E. Sawyer Award in recognition of his career of technological contributions that have brought credit to the industry.
Roger Corman is one of the most prolific producers and directors in the history of cinematic entertainment. His creative work and output of drive-in classics has earned him monikers including “The Pope of Pop Culture” and “The King of the B Movies.” In a storied career spanning more than six decades, Corman has produced upwards of 350 feature films, including SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, SWAMP WOMAN, CAGED HEAT, FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND, cult classics DEATH RACE 2000, THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, THE HOUSE OF USHER and THE WILD ANGELS.
In this intimate interview, Corman shares standouts from his prolific filmography, including the happy accident that birthed THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, the influence of STAR WARS in creating his sound stage The Lumber Yard, giving rise to the ‘biker movie’ cycle and psychedelic film wave of the 1960s and why DEATH RACE 2000remains one of his favorite films. We get a look inside the “school of Corman” and personal tales of filmmakers and actors who got their start with Corman, including protégés Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson and James Cameron. And we get Corman’s insights on everything from his savvy for the business of filmmaking, his career trajectory and view on today’s evolving technology and innovation.
Harrison Ellenshaw, VES
Harrison Ellenshaw, VES was an original member of the VES Board of Directors, and is a VES Fellow and the recipient of the VES Founders Award. His credits as a matte artist and a visual effects supervisor include work on THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, STAR WARS, BIG WEDNESDAY, THE BLACK HOLE, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, TRON, DICK TRACYand DAVE. Harrison headed up several different independent visual effects companies, including Triple DDD, which created 3D effects for the Disney theme park film CAPTAIN EO, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by George Lucas and also managed Disney’s independent effects facility Buena Vista Visual Effects, which created VFX for over 35 films. Harrison is a recipient of the Art Directors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and an Academy Award nomination for THE BLACK HOLE.
Get a front row seat with acclaimed visual effects pioneer John Dykstra, ASC, Academy Award winner for STAR WARS and SPIDER-MAN 2, and recipient of the VES Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ask a Luminary
Gather round the VFX Luminaries Virtual Roundtable, where we ask top VFX professionals to share perspective on industry trends and hot topics. In this featured video, a variety of luminaries provide their advice to aspiring VFX artists and the next generation of practitioners.