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Visual Effects Society Announces Special 2021 Honorees, Including New Honorary Member James Cameron

September 29, 2021 06:45 | By
James cameron

James Cameron (Photo: Rainer Hosch/Corbis Outline)

The Visual Effects Society (VES) has announced the Society’s newest Honorary Members, VES Fellows and inductees into the VES Hall of Fame.  The honorees and Hall of Fame inductees will be celebrated at a special event this Fall.  Visionary filmmaker James Cameron and CG pioneer Gary Demos were named Honorary VES Members.

This year’s venerated VES Fellows who will be bestowed with the post-nominal letters “VES” are: Brooke Breton, Mike Chambers, Nancy St. John, and Van Ling.  The 2021 class of VES Hall of Fame honorees includes Roy Field, John P. Fulton, ASC, Phil Kellison, The Lumière Brothers, and John Whitney, Sr.

The VES Honors celebration will take place on November 2, 2021.

VES Board Chair Lisa Cooke said on this year’s line-up of honorees: “Our VES honorees represent a group of exceptional artists, innovators and professionals who have had a profound impact on the field of visual effects. We are proud to recognize those who helped shape our shared legacy and continue to inspire future generations of VFX practitioners.”

2021 Honorees

Honorary Member: James Cameron.  Cameron is an acclaimed, Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and VES award-winning filmmaker, known for his expansive vision and innovative visual effects-driven films, which have repeatedly smashed box-office records.  Cameron co-founded production company Lightstorm Entertainment and state-of-the-art effects company Digital Domain, and in 2010, was named by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. A recipient of the VES Lifetime Achievement Award, Cameron received an Academy Award for Best Director for Titanic (which won 11 Oscars) and among his storied filmography, Aliens, Avatar, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and The Abyss each received Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects.  Cameron is currently at work on the much-anticipated Avatar sequels.

Honorary Member: Gary Demos.  Demos is a pioneer in the development of computer-generated images and digital image processing for use in motion pictures.  He was a founder of Digital Productions and was awarded an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scientific and Engineering Award in 1984 along with John Whitney Jr. “For the Practical Simulation of Motion Picture Photograph By Means of Computer-Generated Images”.  Gary also founded DemoGraFX and Image Essence LLC.  He is the recipient of the AMPAS 2005 Gordon E. Sawyer Oscar for lifetime technical achievement.  Demos is actively involved in the ASC Technology Committee and has worked on the AMPAS ACES project.  The inventor of approximately 100 patents, Demos is a SMPTE Fellow and recipient of the SMPTE Digital Processing Medal.

VES Fellow: Brooke Breton, VES. Breton has been principally involved in a wide variety of prominent live action films, animated films, television series and theme park projects, which have received Academy, BAFTA, Emmy, Annie and VES awards and nominations and include Avatar, Solaris, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Dick Tracy. She was instrumental in launching James Cameron’s effects house Digital Domain and the start-up of DreamWorks Animation.  A three-term VES Board member, Breton is a member of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch, Visual Effects Executive Council and Science and Technology Council and recently served as a producer for the Academy Museum. In current development under the Breton Productions banner are three feature film projects and a museum exhibition, entitled The ART of Visual Effects.

VES Fellow: Mike Chambers, VES. Chambers is an award-winning freelance Visual Effects Producer and Independent VFX Consultant, specializing in large-scale feature film productions. He is currently working on an untitled project for Universal Pictures and most recently worked on Tenet, his fourth collaboration with esteemed writer-producer-director Christopher Nolan. Other recent credits include Greyhound, Dunkirk, Alice Through The Looking Glass, Transcendence and The Dark Knight Rises. Chambers has contributed to the visual effects efforts on numerous Academy & BAFTA award-winning films, and he has personally won three VES Awards for Best Visual Effects, on Dunkirk, Inception, and The Day After Tomorrow. He was also nominated for his work on I Am Legend and Tenet. A 20-year VES member, Chambers served six years as the Chair of the VES, and previously as Vice Chair and Secretary. He is also a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Producers Guild of America.

VES Fellow: Van Ling, VES.  As the Creative Director and VFX Supervisor for Banned from the Ranch Entertainment and later as a freelance visual effects supervisor, graphic designer, editor and digital artist, Ling’s diverse credits range from films (Twister, Men in Black, Starship Troopers, Doctor Dolittle and Titanic) to theme park attractions (Disney’s Star Tours, EPCOT’s Test Track and Disney Cruiseline’s Skyline Lounge) to designing and creating several of the THX trailers that were seen in theatres around the world.  Ling is also a pioneering producer of in-depth special features and innovative menus that helped define the possibilities of the laserdisc/DVD/Blu-ray formats, garnering multiple awards for Special Editions of The Abyss, T2, Independence Day and the first six Star Wars films on DVD. In addition to his longtime service on the VES Board and several committees, Ling is a member of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch.

VES Fellow: Nancy St. John, VES.  St. John’s VFX and Computer Animation career has spanned over 38 years. Under her leadership as production side VFX producer, her VFX teams won Academy Awards for Babe and Gladiator, as well as an Academy Award nomination for I, Robot.  Her filmography includes Bill & Ted Face the MusicJames & the Giant Peach, The Immortals, Men in Black 3, Total Recall, I, Robot and Ghostbusters (2016)St. John helped build groundbreaking VFX and Computer Animation facilities, including Robert Abel & Associates, Digital Productions, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Pacific Data Images, Industrial Light & Magic, Rhythm & Hues, MillFilm and Prime Focus. In addition to her service on the VES Board and Membership Committee, St. John is a member of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch and VFX Executive Committee.

VES 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees

Roy Field (1932 – 2002). Field was a visual effects supervisor and director of photography, highly regarded as a special effects legend. He is best known for his work on LabyrinthThe Dark Crystal and Superman, which earned him an Academy Special Achievement Award and BAFTA for Visual Effects for the team’s stunning use of practical, miniature and optical effects.

John P. Fulton, A.S.C. (1902 – 1966). Fulton was an American special effects supervisor and cinematographer and created some of the most astounding visual effects of his era.  His body of work includes some 250 films spanning nearly four decades, and earned Fulton three Academy Awards for Special Effects for his work on the fantasy Wonder ManThe Bridges at Toko-Ri and The Ten Commandments, in which he parted the Red Sea, among other impressive photographic effects.

Phil Kellison (1918 – 2005). Kellison was a visual effects supervisor and designer long before that position was acknowledged in movie credits. He had an almost 40-year career that ranged from the George Pal Puppetoons to industrial films, commercials, and feature films. His specialties include stop-motion animation forced perspective, which he dubbed “Magnascope” to market the technique to the commercial TV business.

Auguste Lumière (1862-1954) and Louis Lumière (1864 – 1948). The Lumière Brothers were manufacturers of photography equipment, best known for their Cinématographe motion picture system and the short films they produced between 1895 and 1905, which places them among the earliest filmmakers.  In parallel with their cinema work, they experimented with color photographic processes including the Lippmann process (interference heliochromy) and their own ‘bichromated glue’ process.

John Whitney, Sr. (1917 – 1995). Whitney was an American animator, composer and inventor, widely considered to be one of the fathers of computer animation. He used mechanical animation techniques to create sequences for motion picture and television title sequences and commercials; the most famous was his collaboration with Saul Bass on the title sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The Academy Film Archive houses the Whitney Collection and has preserved more than a dozen films featuring his work.

As previously announced, award-winning Visual Effects Producer Mike Chambers and venerated international business and marketing consultant Rita Cahill were named recipients of the 2021 VES Founders Awards.  The Society designated digital production manager and noted VFX historian Gene Kozicki, acclaimed creative and cinematic director Richard Winn Taylor II, VES, Mike Chambers, and Rita Cahill with Lifetime VES memberships.

For more information and VES Honors sponsorship opportunities, visit VisualEffectsSociety.com.