Five ILM Projects Headed for 2003 VFX Bake-Off

by malducin

Cinescape is announcing the 7 finalists for the Academy's VFX Bake-Off. ILM was involved in 5 of the 7 finalists and include: The Hulk, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and Peter Pan. The other 2 finalists are X2: X-Men United and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.


ILM was the main provider for the Hulk, which was supervised by Senior VFX Supervisor Dennis Muren and VFX Supervisor Ed Hirsh. Animation was supervised by Colin Brady. Dennis Muren is one of the four remaining members of the original Star Wars crew. He has won 8 Oscars and received 6 additional nominations plus one Sci-Tech award. It's not known what he is working on now but he previously hinted that it might be Star Wars Episode 3. Ed Hirsh is another long time ILM remember who usually works on stage operations and was previously nominated for Pearl Harbor. Colin Brady is one of the more recent Animation Supervisors at ILM who previously worked at Pixar and Rhythm and Hues.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was a multihouse project where ILM was the main provider, under the supervision of Pablo Helman, with animation supervised by Dan Taylor. Pablo Helman came from the compositing department and previously worked at POP where he was involved in ID4. He was previously nominated for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Dan Taylor joined ILM to work on the Mask. ILM provided 274 shots including the future war sequences, the CG doubles of the TX and T-850, nuclear explosions and the particle accelerator miniatures. Other facilities involved were R!ot, Digiscope, CIS, Pacific Title, Giant Killer Robots New Deal Studios, Sandbox Pictures, Hydraulx and Digic Pictures Hungary. Stan Winston provided the makeup VFX.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was another multihouse project where ILM was also the main provider. John Knoll was the VFX Supervisor that worked on it right until he had to leave for Star Wars Episode III. He has been nominated twice before for the 2 previous Star Wars prequel films. Animation was supervised by Hal Hickel, another Pixar alumnus and also worked at Will Vinton Studios. The other half of the VFX were supervised by Charlie Gibson, Rhythm and Hues co-founder who became an independent supervisor in 1998. He won an Oscar for Babe. Other facilities involved were CIS, Digiscope, Pacific Title and Gray Matter among others.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

The VFX work for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was split between Asylum, under the supervision of Nathan McGuiness, and ILM, under the supervision of Stefen Fangmeier and Pablo Helman. Miniatures were provided by Weta Workshop under the supervision of Richard Taylor. Nathan McGuiness is the VFX Supervisor at Asylum, relative newcomers in the VFX business but have worked on many high profile projects like Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, The Ring, Minority Report and Catch Me if You Can. Stefen Fangmeier worked at mental images (with VFX Supervisors John Berton and John Nelson) before joining ILM to work on Terminator 2: Judgment Day. He was previously nominated for Twister and The Perfect Storm. Richard Taylor is the co-founder of Weta Workshop and won an Oscar for the first Lord of the Rings film. Other facilities involved were CafeFX, Pacific Title and Digital Backlot.

Peter Pan

Peter Pan is another multihouse project where ILM was first involved with Scott Farrar and Eric Brevig serving as the VFX supervisors. Scott Farrar is a long time ILM member from the early 80s and won an Oscar for Cocoon and was also nominated twice for Backdraft and AI. Eric Brevig used to work at DreamQuest images before joining ILM in 1990 to work on Hook. He has won an Oscar for Total Recall and was also nominated for Hook and Pearl Harbor. Mark Forker served as supervisor for Digital Domain and previously worked on Star Trek: Nemesis. Mark Stetson was the supervisor at Imageworks and has been a pioneer in VFX, having worked on the first Star Trek film, at Entertainment Effects Group and Boss and having his own company, Stetson Visual Services. He was previously nominated for 2010 and won an Oscar for the first Lord of the Rings film (in which he served as location supervisor). Other facilities involved were R!ot and Weta Workshop.

X2: X-Men United

X2: X-Men United, was a multihouse project whose overall supervisor was veteran Michael Fink. Cinesite (this became their last VFX project) and Rhythm and Hues were the main providers but other facilities involved were Kleiser-Walczak, 4-Ward, Grant McCune, Hammerhead, Pacific Title, Asylum, VCE, Pixel Magic and CIS among others. Michael Fink has long worked on VFX starting in with War Games and having worked on such films as The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, The Hunt for Red October, Braveheart, Lethal Weapon 4 and the first X-Men. He was the supervisor at the short lived Warner Digital and joined Cinesite in 2000. He was previously nominated for Batman Returns. Some of the other supervisors included former ILM Supervisor Stephen Rosenbaum (independent), Richard Hollander (co-founder of VIFX and supervisor at Rhythm and Hues), Frank Vitz (of Kleiser-Walczak), Nathan McGuiness (Asylum), Chris Bond (Frantic Films) and Bryan Hirota of CIS.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was mainly done by Weta Digital and Weta Workshop (under the supervision of Richard Taylor). Jim Rygiel served as the overall VFX Supervisor. He was a pioneer in digital VFX, working on The Last Starfighter at Digital Productions and later on 2010. He also worked at PDI, Metrolight and Boss Film (where he worked on such films as Alien 3 and Batman Returns). He has won 2 Oscars for the previous installments of Tolkien's saga. Joe Letteri serves as VFX Supervisor at Weta Digital and previously worked at ILM on such projects as Jurassic Park, Casper, the Star Wars Special Editions and Magnolia. He won an Oscar for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Randall William Cook served as Animation Supervisor, and won 2 Oscars for the previous 2 films, while Alex Funke was in charge of miniature photography and won an Oscar for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

More information here:

2003 Oscar FX contenders announced
Academy Announces Films in Competition for Visual Effects Oscar

We wish to congratulate all the nominees for their achievements.

On unrelated news, The Academy has renamed its theatre in honor of VFX master Linwood Dunn, who worked on such projects as the original King Kong, the original Mighty Joe Young, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World, Gunga Din, The Last Days of Pompeii, the original The Thing, West Side Story, The Great Race, Airport, The Shape of Things to Come, and TV shows like Star Trek, Project UFO, Wonder Woman. Besides being a VFX cinematographer he was also a scientist and engineer, devising optical printers and other gear. In 1944 he received a Sci-Tech Oscar for the design and construction of the Acme-Dunn Optical Printer, which was later upgraded to an Oscar. In 1979 he was honored with a Special Academy Award for Outstanding Service and Dedication in 1979 and in 1985 with the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for Highest Technical Achievement. More info here:

Academy's New Theater Named for Linwood Dunn