VFXWorld.com has reported that Director Robert Zemeckis, CG pioneer Bob Abel and Cinefex publisher Don Shay will be recognized for their career at the VES Awards.
Robert Zemeckis will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, which last year was given to George Lucas. He is known for pushing the bounderies of VFX to further the storytelling of his films. He has worked mostly with Senior VFX Supervisor Ken Ralston at ILM and now at Imageworks on such projects as the Back to the Future Trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Death Becomes Her, Forrest Gump, Contact, Cast Away, What Lies Beneath and The Polar Express. A Chicago native, he attended the USC School of Cinema (graduated 1973) where he met writing partner Bob Gale and later met contemporary filmmakers Steven Spielberg and John Milius. He also contributes to the advancement of cinema like his donations to USC's School of Cinema, which opened the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts in March 2001.
Robert Abel started his career around 1957 when he worked with legendary film titles designer Saul Bass, where he met CG pioneer John Whitney Sr., working on the credits of Vertigo. He pursued a career in filmmaking, from doing combat photography in Vietnam to the award winning TV documentary The Making of the President: 1968. He worked in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey where he worked with legendary Con Pederson on the slit scan effects for the Stargate sequence. In 1971, he and Con Pederson founded Robert Abel and Associates, one of the first CG commercial companies. After a slow start they went on to produce countless of TV commercials (like the iconic Sexy Robot) and station logos and garnered 33 Clios. His company also worked on the groundbreaking Tron (the flyover to the digital world) and the opening of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories. He also pioneered using E&S vector graphics for previz and a motion controlled camera. In late 1986 he sold the company to Omnibus, which went broke and finally closed doors in 1987. He continued to be involved in CG but unfortunately passed away too early on September 23, 2001. His legacy also encompasses giving a start to many of today's VFX professionals: Bill Kovacs (cofounder of Wavefront), John Hughes, Keith Goldfarb, Charlie Gibson and Pauline T'So (cofounders of Rhythm and Hues), Richard Hollander (cofounder of VIFX and now VFX Supervisor at Rhythm and Hues), Richard Edlund (VFX Supervisor and cofounder of ILM and Boss), Scott Farrar (VFX Supervisor at ILM), Richard Hoover (Metrolight, Dream Quest Images/TSL and now Imageworks VFX Supervisor), John Nelson (mental images, ILM, and VFX Supervisor at Rhythm and Hues and Imageworks), Robert Legato (VFX Supervisor at Digital Domain and now Imageworks), Sherry McKenna (VP at Digital Productions and Rhythm and Hues and cofounder of game company Oddworld), John Grower (founder of Santa Barbara Studios), Ray Feeney (founder of Silicon Grail) and Kevin Rafferty (VFX Supervisor at ILM and now at Dreamworks), among many others.
Don Shay is known as the founder of Cinefex, "the" magazine of the VFX industry, first published in March 1980. His high quality publication has continually covered the development and highlights of the modern VFX era and is even used in the promotion of contenders of the VFX Academy Award. He has also cowritten several books, like The Making of Terminator 2 and The Making of Jurassic Park, as well as contributed to DVD extras.
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We wish to congratulate the winners on their many achievements that continue to inspire us.