The Visual Effects Society (VES), the industry’s global professional honorary society, and the Quebec Film and Television Council (QFTC) launched Reignite Yourself – Instruments to Face Daily Life, a five-part Webinar series around mental health to support the worldwide visual effects industry. The free, open source episodes feature conversations with veteran visual effects professionals and mental health professionals, providing both personal insights and expert guidance. This video series is the first initiative of the VES’ new global Health and Wellbeing Committee co-chaired by Emma Clifton Perry, VES 1st Vice-Chair and Philipp Wolf, VES Montreal Chair. It is part of the QFTC’s Release Your Creativity project, which is made possible thanks to the financial support of the City of Montreal, the NAD-UQAC School, as well as partner studios Caribara, DNEG, Framestore, Method Studios, Reel FX and Technicolor (through its three brands Mikros, MPC and Mr X).
Reignite Yourself covers a spectrum of issues around mental health, including dealing with stress and anxiety, dealing with high-pressure situations, maintaining work-life balance, empathy and handling negative feedback and creating a growth mindset through confidence building and motivation. The episodes feature conversations with acclaimed VFX practitioners sharing real-life experiences, including Chris White (VFX Supervisor, Weta Digital), John Dykstra (Academy Award-winning special effects pioneer), Kaitlyn Yang (VFX Supervisor, Alpha Studios), Monica Lago-Kaytis (Producer/CEO, Frogbot Films) and Mark Osborne (Director, Netflix), and mental health specialists Dr. Melanie Bilbul (Psychiatrist, CHUM), Dr. Amal Abdel-Baki (Psychiatrist, CHUM), Dr. Drea Letamendi (Clinical Psychologist, UCLA Student Resilience Center) and Camille Charbonneau (Mental Performance Consultant). The series – available in both webinar and podcast formats on https://bit.ly/VESReignite, vfx-montreal.com, Spotify and Apple podcasts – is accompanied by resources to contact mental health professionals for assistance. Chapter 1 is now live.
“The VES is committed to supporting the health and welfare of our members and the VFX community at large,” said Lisa Cooke, VES Board Chair. “We take our role seriously in working to create a safer, healthier and more equitable environment for VFX artists and practitioners worldwide and I’m gratified that our Society is demonstrating its leadership through our new Health and Wellbeing Committee. Developed in collaboration with our partners in Montreal, the Reignite Yourself series is a meaningful step towards enhancing our shared industry experience.”
“Our mental health is something we tend to ignore and not take ownership of,” said Philipp Wolf, Co-Chair, VES Health and Wellbeing Committee and producer/creator/moderator of the Reignite Yourself series. “It is of great significance for us to actively change this behavior and acknowledge its importance. Only then can we truly excel in this fast paced animation and visual effects environment. We need to create a space in which it is normal to openly speak about mental health, and I hope this web series sets the stage for many conversations.”
“The Québec Film and Television Council (QFTC) is proud to contribute to making our industry an inclusive and safe space, where everyone can grow and express their creativity without barriers,” said Valérie Daigneault, Director of the Secretariat of the Audiovisual Cluster at the QFTC. “Quebec is now one of the three largest VFX and animation hubs in the world, not only because of its competitive business environment, but also because of the diversity and inventiveness of our talent. Thanks to the City of Montreal’s support, we are happy to help open the conversation around mental health, so everyone can feel free to join in. This conversation is about all of us, and we hope that these episodes will be widely shared and listened to by artists in Quebec and around the world.”