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Art Directors Guild to Present Three Panels at Eaton Sci-fi Conference


The Art Directors Guild (ADG, IATSE Local 800) will be hosting three panels of top production designers and other art department members at the prestigious UC Riverside Eaton Science Fiction Conference on April 13. The conference, the largest in its 34-year history, will be held at the Riverside Marriott Hotel. This is the fourth year members of the ADG have participated.

The morning session, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., entitled “Building Worlds” will explore the process of creating screen environments for films based on all types of media – books, graphic novels, games and scripts. Panelists will include Mimi Gramatky, president of the ADG and production designer, who began her Hollywood career in VFX on Superman I and II, Altered States and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn.

More recently, she was production designer on the award-nominated digital series, 10,000 Days and is in prep on the sci-fi/fantasy thriller Bad Axe, the movie. Also on the panel, Kirk Petruccelli, production designer on the upcoming White House Down, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Oliver Scholl, a production designer and concept artist whose many credits include Battleship, The Polar Express, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and the yet to be released All You Need Is Kill. Sharon Sharp will moderate.

The early afternoon panel, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., entitled “Bringing Imaginary Worlds to Life” will be an “under-the-hood” look inside a film’s creative team. Panelist Robert Stromberg is a two-time Academy Award winner for art direction for James Cameron’s Avatar (with co-winner Rick Carter) and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. He also designed the recently released Oz the Great and Powerful. Dylan Cole is an award-winning production designer, concept artist and matte painter whose 50 some credits include the groundbreaking Avatar, Oz the Great and Powerful and Malificent. Supervising art director Stefan Dechant has worked on such movies as Lincoln, Alice in Wonderland, Avatar and Minority Report. The fourth panelist is Todd Cherniawsky, a set designer who has worked on some of the biggest tentpole pictures of recent years, including Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Oceans Thirteen, Superman Returns and War of the Worlds. Moderator is Patrick Sharp.

The final panel, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., entitled “Life Imitates Art or why did the first Motorola flip phone look like a Star Trek communicator?” will discuss how items conjured up in the imagination of art department members find their way into the real world.

Panelists are Cate Bangs, treasurer of the ADG and set designer, whose work includes the TV series Private Practice and Desperate Housewives; Alex Hajdu a production designer and art director whose credits include the upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D., The Walking Dead and Animal Practice; Andrew Leung, a concept designer whose credits include Iron Man 3, Real Steel and Horton Hears a Who!, and Geoff Mandel, a graphic designer who started his career in the art department of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He went on to work on many projects in the Star Trek franchise and other TV shows such as NCIS and Mad Men, and movies including X-Men Origins: First Class. The session will be moderated by Howard Hendrix.

Prior to the Awards Banquet the ADG will host a reception.

Mimi Gramatky noted, “We’re delighted to be a part of this important conference and to have a chance to demonstrate the expertise the Art Directors Guild members bring to the making of motion pictures and TV shows.”

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