Chicago-based Filmworkers has formed a new in-house creative unit, Churchill’s Studio, focused on visual effects and animation. Headed by visual effects director Rob Churchill, the new unit will provide services ranging from compositing and visual effects to full CG production.
Churchill’s Studio is fully integrated with Filmworkers and all of its postproduction resources, as well as with production studio Vitamin. “We can draw on an incredible pool of artists and resources,” said Churchill.
Art director Daniel Pernikoff has joined Filmworkers from Method Studios, along with a team of compositors and animators. Technical resources include multiple Autodesk Flame and The Foundry Nuke workstations, and a variety of CG, visual effects and animation desktop systems.
Churchill has delivered visual effects work for such brands as McDonald’s, State Farm, La Quinta, Embassy Suites, Capital One and Pizza Hut. The added personnel and technology will enable the company to tackle more complex projects, while the group’s newly built studio environment will help it retain a creative focus and one-on-one relationships with clients.
In its first project, Churchill’s Studio has produced an animated spot for amusement park operator Cedar Fair and its new ride, Banshee. Pernikoff served as art director on the project. “It was great to have the whole team of artists working on the project in the same studio,” said Churchill. “It made it easy to trade ideas and comments, which is so important to doing great work, and it shows in the finished product.”
Pernikoff brings diverse experience as a motion graphics designer, animator, compositor and director. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, he began his career with Digital Kitchen, Chicago, and later spent six years in New York where he worked for Brand New School, Thornberg & Forester, Imaginary Forces and other shops. He returned to Chicago in 2012 and joined Method Studios as a compositor, designer and animator. His resume includes advertising work for Budweiser, Coors, Cadillac and Lincoln, as well as broadcast work for Comedy Central, Bravo and ESPN.
Pernikoff said that he is eager to take on the challenge of helping Filmworkers build its visual effects and animation capabilities. He adds that he is also impressed with the creative ambitions of Churchill and his team. “The energy level and passion were just what I was looking for,” Pernikoff said.
“We now have enough horsepower under the hood to take on the most demanding projects,” said Churchill, who has been on staff at Filmworkers since 1997. “We can do it all, technically and creatively, from concept through finish.”