Tag Archives: Victoria Alonso

67th MPSE Golden Reel Winners

By Dayna McCallum

The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) Golden Reel Awards shared the love among a host of films when handing out awards this past weekend at their 67th annual ceremony.

The feature film winners included Ford v Ferrari for effects/Foley, 1917 for dialogue/ADR, Rocketman for the musical category, Jojo Rabbit for musical underscore, Parasite for foreign-language feature, Toy Story 4 for animated feature, and Echo in the Canyon for feature documentary.

The Golden Reel Awards, recognizing outstanding achievement in sound editing, were presented in 23 categories, including feature films, long-form and short-form television, animation, documentaries, games, special venue and other media.

Academy Award-nominated producer Amy Pascal (Little Women) surprised Marvel’s Victoria Alonso when she presented her with the 2020 MPSE Filmmaker Award (re-recording mixer Kevin O’Connell and supervising sound editor Steven Ticknor were honorary presenters).

The 2020 MPSE Career Achievement Award was presented to Academy Award-winning supervising sound editor Cecelia “Cece” Hall by two-time Academy Award-winning supervising sound editor Stephen H. Flick.

“Business models, formats and distribution are all changing,” said MPSE president-elect Mark Lanza during the ceremony. “Original scripted TV shows have set a record in 2019. There were 532 original shows this year. This number is expected to surge in 2020. Our editors and supervisors are paving the way and making our product and the user experience better every year.”

Here is the complete list of winners:

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Animation Short Form

3 Below “Tales of Arcadia”

Netflix

Supervising Sound Editor: Otis Van Osten
Sound Designer: James Miller
Dialogue Editors: Jason Oliver, Carlos Sanches
Foley Artists: Aran Tanchum, Vincent Guisetti
Foley Editor: Tommy Sarioglou 

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Non-Theatrical Animation Long Form

Lego DC Batman: Family Matters

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Supervising Sound Editor: Rob McIntyre, D.J. Lynch
Sound Designer: Lawrence Reyes
Sound Effects Editors: Ezra Walker
ADR Editor: George Peters
Foley Editor: Aran Tanchum, Derek Swanson
Foley Artists:  Vincent Guisetti 

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Feature Animation

Toy Story 4

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Supervising Sound Editor: Coya Elliott
Sound Designer: Ren Klyce
Supervising Dialogue Editor: Cheryl Nardi
Sound Effects Editors: Kimberly Patrick, Qianbaihui Yang, Jonathon Stevens
Foley Editors: Thom Brennan, James Spencer
Foley Artists:  John Roesch, MPSE, Shelley Roden, MPSE

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Non-Theatrical Documentary

Serengeti

Discovery Channel

Supervising Sound Editor: Paul Cowgill
Foley Editor: Peter Davies 
Music Editor: Alessandro Baldessari
Foley Artists: Paul Ackerman 

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Feature Documentary

Echo in the Canyon

Greenwich Entertainment

Sound Designer: Robby Stambler, MPSE
Dialogue Editor:  Sal Ojeda, MPSE

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Computer Cinematic

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)

Activision Blizzard
Audio Director: Stephen Miller
Supervising Sound Editor: Dave Rowe
Supervising Sound Designer: Charles Deenen, MPSE Csaba Wagner
Supervising Music Editor:  Peter Scaturro

Lead Music Editor: Ted Kocher
Principal Sound Designer: Stuart Provine
Sound Designers: Bryan Watkins, Mark Ganus, Eddie Pacheco, Darren Blondin
Dialogue Lead: Dave Natale
Dialogue Editors: Chrissy Arya, Michael Krystek
Sound Editors: Braden Parkes, Nick Martin, Tim Walston, MPSE, Brent Burge, Alex Ephraim, MPSE, Samuel Justice, MPSE
Music Editors: Anthony Caruso, Scott Bergstrom, Adam Kallibjian, Ernest Johnson, Tao-Ping Chen, James Zolyak, Sonia Coronado, Nick Mastroianni, Chris Rossetti
Foley Artists: Gary Hecker, MPSE, Rick Owens, MPSE

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Computer Interactive Game Play
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
Infinity Ward
Audio Director: Stephen Miller
Senior Lead Sound Designer: Dave Rowe
Senior Lead Technical Sound Designer: Tim Stasica
Supervising Music Editor: Peter Scaturro
Lead Music Editor: Ted Kocher
Principal Sound Designer: Stuart Provine
Senior Sound Designers: Chris Egert, Doug Prior
Supervising Sound Designers: Charles Deenen, MPSE, Csaba Wagner
Sound Designers: Chris Staples, Eddie Pacheco, MPSE, Darren Blondin, Andy Bayless, Ian Mika, Corina Bello, John Drelick, Mark Ganus
Dialogue Leads: Dave Natale, Bryan Watkins, Adam Boyd, MPSE, Mark Loperfido
Sound Editors: Braden Parkes, Nick Martin, Brent Burge, Tim Walston, Alex Ephraim, Samuel Justice
Dialogue Editors: Michael Krystek, Chrissy Arya, Cesar Marenco>
Music Editors: Anthony Caruso, Scott Bergstrom, Adam Kallibjian, Ernest Johnson, Tao-Ping Chen, James Zolyak, Sonia Coronado, Nick Mastroianni, Chris Rossetti

Foley Artists: Gary Hecker, MPSE, Rick Owens, MPSE

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Non-Theatrical Feature

Togo

Disney+

Supervising Sound Editors: Odin Benitez, MPSE, Todd Toon, MPSE
Sound Designer: Martyn Zub, MPSE
Dialogue Editor: John C. Stuver, MPSE
Sound Effects Editors: Jason King, Adam Kopald, MPSE, Luke Gibleon, Christopher Bonis
ADR Editor: Dave McMoyler
Supervising Music Editor: Peter “Oso” Snell, MPSE
Foley Artists: Mike Horton, Tim McKeown
Supervising Foley Editor: Walter Spencer

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Special Venue

Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series “Episode 1”

Oculus

Supervising Sound Editors: Kevin Bolen, Paul Stoughton
Sound Designer: Andy Martin
Supervising ADR Editors: Gary Rydstrom, Steve Slanec
Dialogue Editors: Anthony DeFrancesco, Christopher Barnett, MPSE Benjamin A. Burtt, MPSE
Foley Artists: Shelley Roden, MPSE Jana Vance

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Foreign Language Feature

Parasite

Neon

Supervising Sound Editor: Choi Tae Young
Sound Designer: Kang Hye Young
Supervising ADR Editor: Kim Byung In
Sound Effects Editors: Kang Hye Young
Foley Artists: Park Sung Gyun, Lee Chung Gyu
Foley Editor: Shin I Na
 

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Live Action Under 35:00

Barry “ronny/lily”

HBO

Supervising Sound Editors:  Sean Heissinger, Matthew E. Taylor
Sound Designer:  Rickley W. Dumm, MPSE
Sound Effects Editor: Mark Allen
Dialogue Editors:  John Creed, Harrison Meyle
Music Editor:  Michael Brake
Foley Artists:  Alyson Dee Moore, Chris Moriana 
Foley Editors:  John Sanacore, Clayton Weber

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Episodic Short Form – Music

Wu Tang: An American Saga “All In Together Now”

Hulu 

Music Editor: Shie Rozow

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Episodic Short Form – Dialogue/ADR

Modern Love “Take Me as I Am”

Prime Video
Supervising Sound Editor: Lewis Goldstein
Supervising ADR Editor: Gina Alfano, MPSE
Dialogue Editor:  Alfred DeGrand

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Episodic Short Form – Effects / Foley

The Mandalorian “Chapter One”

Disney+

Supervising Sound Editors: David Acord, Matthew Wood
Sound Effects Editors: Bonnie Wild, Jon Borland, Chris Frazier, Pascal Garneau, Steve Slanec
Foley Editor: Richard Gould
Foley Artists: Ronni Brown, Jana Vance

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Student Film (Verna Fields Award)

Heatwave

National Film and Television School

Supervising Sound Editor: Kevin Langhamer

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Single Presentation

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Netflix

Supervising Sound Editors: Nick Forshager, Todd Toon, MPSE
Supervising ADR Editor: Kathryn Madsen
Sound Effects Editor: Luke Gibleon
Dialogue Editor: Jane Boegel
Foley Editor: Jeff Cranford
Supervising Music Editor: Blake Bunzel
Music Editor: Jason Tregoe Newman
Foley Artists: Gregg Barbanell, MPSE, Alex Ullrich 

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Episodic Long Form – Music

Game of Thrones “The Long Night”

HBO 

Music Editor: David Klotz

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Episodic Long Form – Dialogue/ADR

Chernobyl “Please Remain Calm”

HBO

Supervising Sound Editor: Stefan Henrix
Supervising ADR Editor:  Harry Barnes
Dialogue Editor: Michael Maroussas

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Episodic Long Form – Effects / Foley

Chernobyl “1:23:45”

HBO

Supervising Sound Editor: Stefan Henrix
Sound Designer: Joe Beal
Foley Editors: Philip Clements, Tom Stewart
Foley Artist:  Anna Wright

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Feature Motion Picture – Music Underscore

JoJo Rabbit

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Music Editor: Paul Apelgren

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Feature Motion Picture – Musical

Rocketman

Paramount Pictures

Music Editors: Andy Patterson, Cecile Tournesac

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Feature Motion Picture – Dialogue/ADR

1917

Universal Pictures

Supervising Sound Editor: Oliver Tarney, MPSE
Dialogue Editor: Rachael Tate, MPSE

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Effects / Foley

Ford v Ferrari

Twentieth Century Fox 

Supervising Sound Editor: Donald Sylvester

Sound Designers: Jay Wilkenson, David Giammarco

Sound Effects Editor: Eric Norris, MPSE

Foley Editor: Anna MacKenzie

 Foley Artists: Dan O’Connell, John Cucci, MPSE, Andy Malcolm, Goro Koyama


Main Image Caption: Amy Pascal and Victoria Alonso

 

2018 HPA Award winners

By Dayna McCallum

The 13th annual Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Awards took place last week, honoring the accomplishments of industry  artists and engineering teams. The HPA Awards recognize individuals and companies for outstanding contributions made in the creation of feature films, television, commercials and other entertainment content.  

Awards were given to talented individuals and teams working in 12 creative craft categories, including color grading, sound, editing and visual effects for commercials, television and feature film. Victoria Alonso, EVP production of Marvel, was honored with the HPA Charles S. Swartz Award, and special awards were presented for Engineering Excellence.

The winners of the 2018 HPA Awards are:

Outstanding Color Grading – Feature Film

WINNER: “Alpha”
Maxine Gervais // Technicolor – Hollywood

Maxine Gervais

“Avengers: Infinity War”Steven J. Scott, Charles Bunnag // Technicolor – Hollywood

“Red Sparrow”
Dave Hussey // Company 3

“The Shape of Water”
Chris Wallace // Deluxe – Toronto

“The Greatest Showman”
Tim Stipan // Company 3

Outstanding Color Grading – Television

WINNER: “The Crown – Paterfamilias”
Asa Shoul // Molinare

“Damnation – Sam Riley’s Body”
Paul Allia // Picture Shop

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Pilot”
Steven Bodner // Light Iron

“Game of Thrones – Beyond the Wall”
Joe Finley // Sim

“The Crossing – Pilot”
Tony Smith // Picture Shop

                    

Outstanding Color Grading – Commercial  

WINNER (TIE): Volkswagen – “Kids’ Dreams”
Adam Scott // The Mill

WINNER (TIE): Zara – “Spring/Summer 2018 Main”
Tim Masick // Company 3

Bottega Veneta – “Spring/Summer 2018 Trailer”
Tim Masick // Company 3

Tile – “Lost Panda”
Tom Poole // Company 3

Audi – “Final Breath”
Sofie Borup // Company 3

 

Outstanding Editing – Feature Film

Sponsored by Blackmagic Design

WINNER: “A Quiet Place”
Christopher Tellefsen, ACE

“Coco”
Steve Bloom

“You Were Never Really Here”
Joe Bini

“Mission: Impossible – Fallout”
Eddie Hamilton, ACE

“Believer”
Demian Fenton

 

Outstanding Editing – Television (30 Minutes and Under)

Sponsored by Blackmagic Design

WINNER: “VICE – After the Fall”
Kelly Kendrick // Vice
     

“The End of the F***ing World –  Episode One”
Mike Jones

“Vida – Episode 6”
JoAnne Yarrow

“Barry – Chapter Eight: Know Your Truth”
Kyle Reiter

“Vice Principals –The Union of the Wizard and The Warrior”
Justin Bourret

 

Outstanding Editing – Television (Over 30 Minutes)

Sponsored by Blackmagic Design

WINNER: “The Defiant Ones – Part 2”
Doug Pray, Lasse Järvi

“Stranger Things – Chapter Nine: The Gate”
Kevin D. Ross, ACE

“Game of Thrones – The Dragon and the Wolf”
Crispin Green

“Westworld – The Passenger”
Anna Hauger, Mako Kamitsuna, MPEG, Andrew Seklir, ACE

“Counterpart – The Crossing”
Dana E. Glauberman, ACE

 

Outstanding Sound – Feature Film

WINNER: “The Shape of Water”
Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern, Nelson Ferreira, Nathan Robitaille // Deluxe – Toronto

“Ant-Man and The Wasp”
Katy Wood, Addison Teague, Juan Peralta, Tom Johnson // Skywalker Sound

“Avengers: Infinity War”
Shannon Mills, Tom Johnson, Juan Peralta, Dan Laurie // Skywalker Sound

“Blade Runner 2049”
Mark Mangini, Ron Bartlett, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill, Mac Ruth // Formosa Group

“Black Panther”
Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor // Skywalker Sound

 

Outstanding Sound – Television

WINNER: “Altered Carbon – Out of The Past”
Brett Hinton, Mark Allen, Owen Granich-Young, Andy King, Keith Rogers // Atomic Sound

“Yellowstone – Daybreak”
Alan Robert Murray, Tim LeBlanc, Dean Zupancic // Warner Bros.

“Waco – Operation Showtime”
Craig Mann, Kelly Oxford, Laura Wiest, Karen Vassar Triest, David Brownlow, Beau Borders // Technicolor – Hollywood

“Dark – Secret”
Alexander Würtz, Achim Hofmann, Jorg Elsner, Christian Bichoff // ARRI Media GmbH
Ansgar Frerich // Basis Berlin

“Yellowstone – Kill the Messenger”
Alan Robert Murray, Tim LeBlanc, Dean Zupancic // Warner Bros.


Outstanding Sound – Commercial 

WINNER: OXFAM – “The Heist No One is Talking About”
Neil Johnson // Factory Studios

KIA – “Fueled by Youth”
Nathan Dubin // Margarita Mix

SANE – “Let Me Talk”
Anthony Moore, Jack Hallett // Factory Studios

Monster – “Opportunity Roars”
Tom Jucarone // Sound Lounge

ICRC – “Hope”
Anthony Moore // Factory Studios

 

Outstanding Visual Effects – Feature Film

WINNER: “Avengers: Infinity War”
Matt Aitken, Charles Tait, Paul Story, Sidney Kombo-Kintombo, Marvyn Young // Weta Digital

“Maze Runner: The Death Cure”
R. Christopher White, Daniel Macarin, Phillip Leonhardt, Paul Ramsden, Jeremy Fort // Weta Digital

“Blade Runner 2049”
Richard Clegg, Axel Akesson, Wesley Chandler, Stefano Carta, Ian Cooke-Grimes // MPC

“Rampage”
Erik Winquist, Benjamin Pickering, Stephen Unterfranz, Thrain Shadbolt, David Clayton // Weta Digital

“Thor: Ragnarok”
Kyle McCulloch, Alexis Wajsbrot, Ben Loch, Harry Bardak // Framestore

 

Outstanding Visual Effects – Television (Under 13 Episodes)

WINNER: “Game of Thrones – Beyond The Wall”
Joe Bauer, Steve Kullback, Ted Rae // HBO
Eric Carney // The Third Floor
David Ramos // El Ranchito

“Altered Carbon – Out of The Past”
Everett Burrell, Tony Meagher, Steve Moncur, Christine Lemon, Paul Jones // DNEG

“Outlander – Eye of The Storm”
Richard Briscoe // Outlander Production
Daniel Norlund, Filip Orrby // Goodbye Kansas
Aladino Debert, Greg Teegarden // Digital Domain

“Black Mirror – Metalhead”
Russell McLean // House of Tomorrow
Michael Bell, Pete Levy, Steven Godfrey, Stafford Lawrence // DNEG

“Westworld – The Passenger”
Jay Worth, Bruce Branit // Deep Water FX
Bobo Skipper // Important Looking Pirates
Kama Moiha // COSA VFX
Mike Enriquez // DNEG

Agents of Shield winners

  

Outstanding Visual Effects – Television (Over 13 Episodes)

WINNER: “Agents of SHIELD – Orientation: Part 1”
Mark Kolpack, Sabrina Arnold // Marvel
Kevin Yuille, David Rey, Hnedel Maximore // FuseFX
 

“Supergirl – For Good”
Armen V. Kevorkian, Gevork Babityan, Kris Cabrera, Jerry Chalupnik, Jason Shulman // Encore VFX

“Hawaii Five-O – A’ole e ‘olelo mai ana ke ahi ua ana ia”
Adam Avitabile, Daniel Toomey, Michael Kirylo, Ryan Smolarek, Wayne Hollingsworth // Picture Shop

“Legends of Tomorrow – The Good, The Bad and The Cuddly”
Armen V. Kevorkian, Andranik Taranyan, Jason Shulman, Dan Aprea, Lycee Anaya // Encore VFX

“NCIS: LA – A Line in the Sand/Ninguna Salida”
Dylan Chudzynski, Michael Carter, Joe Suzuki, Jacob Kuhne // DigitalFilm Tree

The following special awards, which were previously announced, were also presented:

HPA Engineering Excellence Award

The winners of the 2018 HPA Award for Engineering Excellence are:

  • Blackmagic Design – DaVinci Resolve 15
    DaVinci Resolve 15, released at NAB this year, offers a major step forward for the post-production workflow, a significant shift in technically and creatively matched toolsets as well as overall efficiency. The platform, designed to provide a full suite of post-production tools, from ingest to delivery, directly integrated in a single ecosystem, includes significant improvements in quality, functionality and time to delivery. Exchange formats, translation and conform can be eliminated, and last-minute change efficiently managed for feature film, episodic TV and short form productions.
  • Canon – Visual and Technical Monitoring of HDR Images
    Canon has seen the need for not only visually seeing HDR images on set, in editorial, and in finishing but also for engineering tools to know exact values of the HDR images and its pixels; compare SDR and HDR images; compare different HDR deliverable systems; out of gamut warnings; and connection to various manufacturers camera metadata. This complete system from Canon ensures that HDR and SDR image creation is easily and accurately be accomplished.

    Cinnafilm’s Lance Maurer

  • Cinnafilm, Inc. – PixelStrings
    PixelStrings is a cloud-based video conversion service focusing on ultimate playback quality for media.  Leveraging the award-winning framerate conversion, retiming, artifact/noise/telecine correction, and transcode technologies from Cinnafilm, this PaaS enables the mass creation of best-possible video versions while leveraging infinite, GPU-enabled cloud compute power.  The platform is a growing hub of other best-of-breed media technologies and is a simple pay-as-you-use toolset available 24/7 though a browser.  PixelStings enables the freedom of a predictable OpEx process.

  • IBM Aspera & Telestream – Telestream Vantage with Lightspeed Live Capture
    IBM Aspera and Telestream have developed a game-changing solution for high-speed capture and production of live, broadcast quality video from remote locations for faster production turnaround. The API integration of Aspera’s FASPStream streaming technology with Telestream Vantage and Lightspeed Live enables open-file workflows so production teams can work on live video feeds from remote locations in real time, with dramatically lower costs compared to satellite delivery, fiber or on-location production and more flexible deployment options.

The HPA Engineering Excellence Award is recognized as one of the most important technology honors in the industry, spotlighting companies and individuals who draw upon technical and creative ingenuity to develop breakthrough technologies. Submissions for this peer-judged award may include products or processes and must represent a step forward for its industry beneficiaries. Honorable Mention was awarded to Samsung for Samsung Onyx.

Charles S. Swartz Award

The Charles S. Swartz Award is awarded to a person, group, or company that has made a significant artistic, technological, business or educational impact across diverse aspects of the media industry. The award recognizes broad, impactful and lasting contributions that have advanced and/or provided some unique purpose to the larger media content ecosystem.  This year’s honoree is Victoria Alonso, respected producer and Executive Vice President, Production for Marvel Studios.

Marvel’s Victoria Alonso to receive HPA’s Charles S. Swartz Award

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has announced that Victoria Alonso, producer and executive VP of production for Marvel Studios, will receive the organization’s 2018 Charles S. Swartz Award at the HPA Awards on November 15. The HPA Awards recognize creative artistry, innovation and engineering excellence, and the Charles S. Swartz Award honors the recipient’s significant impact across diverse aspects of the industry.

A native of Buenos Aires, Alonso moved to the US at the age of 19. She worked her way up through the industry, beginning as a PA and then working four years at the VFX house Digital Domain. She served as VFX producer on a number of films, including Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, Tim Burton’s Big Fish, Andrew Adamson’s Shrek and Marvel’s Iron Man. She won the Visual Effects Society (VES) Award for outstanding supporting visual effects/motion picture for Kingdom of Heaven, with two additional shared nominations (best single visual effects, outstanding visual effects/effects-driven motion picture) for Iron Man.

Eventually, she joined Marvel as the company’s EVP of visual effects and post, doubling as co-producer on Iron Man, a role she reprised on Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. In 2011, she advanced to executive producer on the hit The Avengers and has since executive produced Marvel’s Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and most recently, Ant-Man and the Wasp.

She is currently at work on the untitled fourth installment of Avengers and Captain Marvel.

The Charles S. Swartz Award was named after executive Charles Swartz, who had a far ranging creative and technical career, eventually leading the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California, a leading industry think tank and research center. The Charles S. Swartz Award is awarded at the discretion of the HPA Awards Committee and the HPA Board of Directors, and is not given annually.

The VFX Industry: Where are the women?

By Jennie Zeiher

As anyone in the visual effects industry would know, Marvel’s Victoria Alonso was honored earlier this year with the Visual Effects Society Visionary Award. Victoria is an almighty trailblazer, one of whom us ladies can admire, aspire to and want to be.

Her acceptance speech was an important reminder to us of the imbalance of the sexes in our industry. During her speech, Victoria stated: “Tonight there were 476 of you nominated. Forty-three of which are women. We can do better.”

Over the years, I’ve had countless conversations with industry people — executives, supervisors and producers — about why there are fewer women in artist and supervisory roles. A recent article in the NY Times suggested that female VFX supervisors made up only five percent of the 250 top-grossing films of 2014. Pretty dismal.

I’ve always worked in male-dominated industries, so I’m possibly a bit blasé about it. I studied IT and worked as a network engineer in the late ‘90s, before moving to the United States where I worked on 4K digital media projects with technologists and scientists. One of a handful of women, I was always just one of the boys. To me it was the norm.

Moving into VFX about 10 years ago, I realized this industry was no different. From my viewpoint, I see about 1/8 ratio of female to male artists. The same is true from what I’ve seen through our affiliated training courses. Sadly, I’ve heard of some facilities that have no women in artist roles at all!

Most of the females in our industry work in other disciplines. At my workplace, Australia’s Rising Sun Pictures, half of our executive members are women (myself included), and women generally outweigh men in indirect overhead roles (HR, finance, administration and management), as well as production management.

Women bring unique qualities to the workplace: they’re team players, hard working, generous and empathetic. Copious reports have found that companies that have women on their board of directors and in leadership positions perform better than those that don’t. So in our industry, why do we see such a male-dominated artist, technical and supervisory workforce?

By no means am I undervaluing the women in those other disciplines (we could not have functioning businesses without them), I’m just merely trying to understand why there aren’t more women inclined to pursue artistic jobs and, ultimately, supervision roles.

I can’t yet say that one of the talented female artists I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years has risen to the ranks of being a VFX supervisor… and that’s not to say that they couldn’t have, just that they didn’t, or haven’t yet. This is something that disappoints me deeply. I consider myself a (liberal) feminist. Someone who, in a leadership position, wants to enable other women to become the best they can be and to be equal among their male counterparts.
So, why? Where are the women?

Men and Women Are Wired Differently
A study by LiveScience suggests men and women really are wired differently. It says,  “Male brains have more connections within hemispheres to optimize motor skills, whereas female brains are more connected between hemispheres to combine analytical and intuitive thinking.”

Apparently this difference is at its greatest during the adolescent years (13-17 years), however with age these differences get smaller. So, during the peak of an adolescent girl’s education, she’s more inclined to be analytical and intuitive. Is that a direct correlation to them not choosing a technical vocation? But then again I would have thought that STEM/STEAM careers would be something of interest to girls if they’re brains are wired to be analytical?

This would also explain women having better organizational and management skills and therefore seeking out more “indirectly” associated roles.

Lean Out
For those women already in our industry, are they too afraid to seek out higher positions? Women are often more self-critical and self-doubting. Men will promote themselves and dive right in, even if they’re less capable. I have experienced this first hand and didn’t actual recognize it in myself until I read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In.

Or, is it just simply that we’re in a “boys club” — that these career opportunities are not being presented to our female artists, and that we’d prefer to promote men over women?

The Star Wars Factor
Possibly one of the real reasons that there is a lack of women in our industry is what I call “The Star Wars factor.” For the most part, my male counterparts grew up watching (and being inspired by) Star Wars and Star Trek, whereas, personally, I was more inclined to watch Girls Just Want to Have Fun and Footloose. Did these adolescent boys want to be Luke or Han, or George for that matter? Were they so inspired by John Dykstra’s lightsabers that they wanted to do THAT when they grew up? And if this is true, maybe Jyn, Rae and Captain Marvel —and our own Captain Marvel, Victoria Alonso — will spur on a new generation of women in the industry. Maybe it’s a combination of all of these factors. Maybe it’s none.

I’m very interested in exploring this further. To address the problem, we need to ask ourselves why, so please share your thoughts and experiences — you can find me at jz@vfxjz.com. At least now the conversation has started.

One More Thing!
I am very proud that one of my female colleagues, Alana Newell (pictured with her fellow nominees), was nominated for a VES Award this year for Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature for X-Men: Apocalypse. She was one of the few, but hopefully as time goes by that will change.

Main Image: The woman of Rising Sun Pictures.
——–

Jennie Zeiher is head of sales & business development at Adelaide, Australia’s Rising Sun Pictures.

Marvel’s Victoria Alonso headlines upcoming ’Breaking into VFX’ panel

By Randi Altman

This coming Wednesday in New York City, VES New York and HBO are presenting ”Breaking into VFX: A Discussion With Women in the Visual Effects Industry,” in association with the Post NY Alliance and the School of Visual Arts.

The event’s main speaker is Marvel’s Victoria Alonso, who was recently upped from EVP of Visual Effects and Production to Head of Physical Production, overseeing all physical production, post production and production technical operations.

After a conversation between Alonso and the moderator — yours truly — there will be a panel discussion with the following female visual effects pros: Visual Effects Supervisor Leslie Robson Foster (The Knick and HBO’s upcoming Vinyl series); Gong Myung Lee, VFX Supervisor and Head of CG at Mr. X Gotham; Sabine Heller, Character Development Supervisor at Blue Sky Studios; Vivian Connolly, CEO/Executive Producer at Phosphene; and Leslie Chung, a freelance live action and CG compositor who owns her own show called Spline VFX.

The night will feature a conversational flow, with audience members asking questions throughout the discussion. Above all, Alonso is hoping for an open discussion that allows everyone’s voice to be heard.

According to HBO’s VP, Digital Production Services, Barbara Ford Grant, a VES board member, she sees this event being for anyone interested in how the speakers managed to succeed in this business. “As VFX globalizes and we are starting to see growth opportunities in New York City, Montreal and elsewhere around the world, it is a good time to hear from those succeeding in this business to share their stories in hopes of encouraging a new generation to enter the field. Our panel exemplifies the ever-diversifying nature of the work and roles involved in producing VFX.”

Why the focus on how women have succeeded? “Global production and potential for displacement is hard on families in general,” explains Ford Grant. “Having more women in positions of leadership, in positions of production and technology, can perhaps help reshape the nature of this business by exerting greater influence over choices made. It’s a difficult industry to rise up in and, if we judge by the numbers, even more so for women to stay in. Why is that, and how did these speakers defy the odds?”

She’s interested in hearing the personal stories of the speakers, lessons learned and getting a sense that opportunity exists if you are willing to look for the need and fill it. “Perhaps the audience will tackle perception versus reality when it comes to finding work and keeping jobs.  We will likely need to examine why anyone would want to encourage anybody, woman or man, to join the turbulent VFX industry.”

The event takes place on September 30 at 7pm at the School of Visual Arts Beatrice Theater in New York City. Invite link is here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/breaking-into-vfx-a-discussion-with-women-in-the-visual-effects-industry-tickets-18503619825.