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VES Announces 2014 Board of Directors


Jeff Okun
Jeff Okun was re-elected chair of the VES board of directors
The Visual Effects Society (VES), announced its 2014 board of directors officers. The officers, who comprise the VES Board Executive Committee, were elected at the January 2014 board meeting.

The 2014 officers of the VES board of directors are:

Chair: Jeffrey A. Okun

1st Vice Chair: Michael Fink

2nd Vice Chair: Nancy St. John

Treasurer: Gene Rizzardi

Secretary: Kim Lavery

Okun most recently completed work on 20th Century Fox’s Oscar-nominated film, Hitchcock, as well as The Watch and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Okun won the VES Award for outstanding supporting visual effects for his work on The Last Samurai. Additionally, Okun has delivered wide-ranging effects in films such as Blood Diamond, Stargate, Sphere, Red Planet, Deep Blue Sea, Lolita and The Last Starfighter. He also oversaw the rush 3D conversion of Clash of the Titans.

As VES board chair, Okun has focused his attention on bringing business and creative education to artists, facilities and studios. Under Okun’s leadership the VES helped create a worldwide software anti-pirating alliance with the U.S. government to insure that all facilities have a fair and level playing field from which to bid.

Okun is also a member of the visual effects branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Academy of Television Arts and Science, and an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). Okun was re-elected for a sixth one-year team as board chair.

Fink began working in film on China Syndrome in 1977. He also worked on films such as Star Trek – The Motion Picture and Blade Runner before becoming a visual effects supervisor on War Games in 1982. He has since worked on more than 50 films, including Buckaroo Banzai, Batman Returns, Braveheart, Mars Attacks!, X-Men, X-Men 2, Constantine, The Golden Compass, Tropic Thunder, Avatar, Tron: Legacy, Sucker Punch, Tree of Life, and Life of Pi.

Fink is a founding member of the VES and a member of the executive committee of the visual effects branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

St. John has been in the visual effects business for more than 30 years. She has managed, produced, and executive produced at many visual effects and computer graphics facilities, including Mill Film, Industrial Light & Magic, Pacific Data Images, Robert Abel & Associates, Digital Productions and Vertigo Computer Imagery. She has served as a visual effects consultant to Disney, DreamWorks, Fox, HBO, Paramount, Walden Media and Warner Bros., as well as Rhythm & Hues, Tippett Studios and Pacific Title.

St. John was the production side visual effects producer for Academy Award winner Babe and for Academy Award winner Gladiator. She was also a visual effects producer for the Academy Award nominee I-Robot. Most recently, St. John completed work on Ender’s Game, where she worked on the production side for both Odd Lot Entertainment and Lionsgate. Previously, she ran the Vancouver BC VFX division of Prime Focus and oversaw the completion of a number of VFX projects including Men in Black 3, Total Recall and Resident Evil and was an in-house consultant to Relativity Media. Other previous projects include Charlotte’s Web, Life Aquatic, Evolution and James and the Giant Peach. St. John is serving her third term on the VES board of directors.

Rizzardi is a model shop supervisor and special effects artist and has operated his own model and prop company, Modelwerkes and Special Effects since 1979. Rizzardi started his work in the special effects department and as miniature and model maker in the late 1970s when he worked on projects including Scared to Death, Megaforce, TV movie V (and the subsequent TV miniseries V: The Final Battle), and The Hugga Bunch (1985), which garnered him an Emmy Award for outstanding special visual effects. He oversaw the build of the Borg cube model and built the force perspective Enterprise-D dorsal saucer section for Star Trek: The Next Generation and constructed the transparent display model of the USS Enterprise-E, seen in Star Trek Nemesis, albeit uncredited. More recently, he worked in the prop shop for Star Trek (2009).

Lavery has more than two decades of experience with both production and postproduction sides of filmmaking and visual effects producing. She was a news videographer and a Today Show anchor with an NBC affiliate earlier in her career. She then worked for Universal Studios, in studio operations on film production and shifted to visual effects in 1994.

Lavery has served as co-chair of the VES Awards since its inception in 2002 and has served on the board of directors for most of the last decade.

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