BEYOND
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International Conference on Animation,
Effects, VR, Games and Transmedia
May 02-05, Stuttgart, Germany

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Newsletter #5: Kung Fu Panda 3, Sound Design plus Imagine Dragons & More

22.04.2016

Kathy Chasen-Hay, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Steve Martino and more renowned program additions!

Less than one week before Europe's most influential conference on digital entertainment opens its doors, FMX releases its last and latest program announcements. Just last week Anne Kolbe, the Executive Vice President of Visual Effects at Warner Bros. Pictures, and Kathy Chasen-Hay, Senior Vice President of VFX at Lionsgate, joined the FMX program line-up, thus complementing a full week's program dedicated to "Blending Realities," with nearly 300 different events and activities from approximately 260 international speakers. Together, the FMX communities will explore the different production realities that exist in the digital entertainment industry, looking at the latest VFX achievements as well as VR innovations, animation and game highlights.

Both Kolbe and Chasen-Hay will each share their perspectives on the state of entertainment as part of the Studio Insights track which is curated by Dave Gougé (Weta Digital). Renowned personalities abound: Jennifer Yuh Nelson, the first female director to ever direct an animated feature film - namely Kung Fu Panda 3 - for a major Hollywood studio (DreamWorks Animation), Steve Martino (director for The Peanuts, Blue Sky) and Kevin Margo (Construct, Blur Studio) come together for a director's panel on the relationship between directors and technology.

Effects

The "VFX in Commercials" track features insights into the latest advertising coups: Diarmid Harrison-Murray takes the audience through the whole range of MPC's creature craftsmanship. Jan Stoltz (TRIXTER Commercials) explains the work on the Check24 commercials. Andy Chlupka and Max Zimmermann (FIFTYEIGHT 3D Animation & Digital Effects) describe the challenges of developing the Tassen films. The track on "VFX for TV" assembles Mat Beck and Brian Ali Harding who talk about the work of Entity FX, one of the studios behind the visual effects of TV series such as Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead. In addition, Thilo Ewers (Pixomondo) provides insights into The Shannara Chronnicles. Joern Grosshans (Mackevision) also elaborates on The Shannara Chronicles and Games of Thrones. Erasmus Brosdau (Film Engine), the creative mind behind The Lord Inquisitor project, and Andreas Feix (MPC) deliver talks about "Fan-Made Projects." Mike Seymour's Virtual Humans Forum encompasses presentations by Dr. med. Peter Maloca (MP), Pascal Bérard (DR), Haarm-Pieter Duiker and Brian Karis (Epic Games) as well as a Virtual Humans Forum Workshop (Christopher Nichols, Chaos Group Labs; Christophe Hery, Pixar; Dr Thabo Beeler and Brian Karis).

Animation

Max Boas and Raymond Zibach (DreamWorks Animation) take the FMX audience behind the scenes and delve into the creative design process of Kung Fu Panda 3. Two-time Emmy winner Nick Cross, animation director James Cunningham, and creative director and director Philip Hunt partake in sharing their unique stories as part of the "Wild & Strange" track. Shelley Page (DreamWorks) and Ron Diamond (Acme Filmworks Inc.) return to present their animation highlights from the last year.http://bit.ly/1RhJDcn

Virtual Reality

Ted Schilowitz (20th Century Fox) as well as Craig McPherson and Chris McClintock (The Third Floor) join Jacquie Barnbrook (The VR Company) via skype to give an insight into the creation of The Martian VR Experience. Dr. Richard Marks (Sony Computer Entertainment) talks about the difference between VR and other forms of media storytelling. Jake Black (Create Advertising) describes how Create Advertising was asked to create a VR experience for Zemeckis' The Walk. Steffen Kottkamp (Mack Media) and Professor Thomas Wagner (VR Coaster GmbH) dissect the VR experience that they designed for the Europa-Park, and Trevor Tuttle (BOSA) analyzes the design for Dubai's upcoming theme park Motiongate. Guido Voltolina (Nokia Technologies) illuminates the technology behind VR storytelling from camera lens placement to synchronized audio. Assistant Professor Victoria Abrash shares her perspective as a performing arts professional. Yehuda Duenyas' (Mindride) talk "Becoming Superhuman- Techno Transcendence" elaborates on the synergetic relationship between transcendence and technology. Terrence Masson (Building Conversation), Keith Miller (Weta), Andrew Cochrane (Mirada) and Andrew Daffy (DAFFY LONDON) expound on new VR business models.

Blending Realities

The track "Designing the Future" features Bernhard Haux (Oculus Story Studio) and Oculus' approach to VR filmmaking. Film Engine's Jean-Colas Prunier explains the path to a Real-Time Virtual Cinema. Ken Perlin (New York University) invites his panelists Stefan Landvogt (Valve), Mike Woods (White Rabbit) and Brian Pullen (Google) to imagine what the design of the future could look like. And Guillaume Aretos highlights the role of the production designer in animation and "effects heavy" live actions films. The panel "Women in Visual Arts" returns to FMX, hosted by Dr. Diana Arellano (Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg) and enriched by its panelists Franziska Bruckner (Animation Scholar), Sharon Calahan (Pixar), Research Assistant Professor Marientina Gotsis (USC CM&BHC) and Sabine Heller (Blue Sky). Marientina Gotsis' own presentation is dedicated to the brain architecture and VR. Gotsis is furthermore joined by Dr. Michael Madary (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) for a discussion called "Beyond Empathy." Gotsis also contributes her experiences in visual communication as well as Don Levy (Smith Brook Farm), Terrence Masson (Building Conversation) and Tomasz Bednarz (QUT, CSIRO & Khronos Group, Australia) who add case studies in visual communications.

Games for Change

Katharina Tillmanns curates the "Games for Change" track that explores world-changing potential of digital games and interactive media. She highlights VR experiences and their capability to impact, whereas James Pallot (Emblematic Group) talks about immersive journalism and the next wave of VR. Ed Thomas (The Mill) discusses the cooperation with The Guardian to create 6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement. Alexander Knetig (Arte) introduces ARTE's involvement in developing new audiovisual genres. Yoan Fanise (Digixart) looks at character diversity as exemplified by his own game Lost in Harmony and Stéphane Natkin (CNAM) devotes his presentation to next-generation student games.http://s2016.qltdclient.com/registration

Sound Design

For the first time ever, FMX hosts a track that is solely focused on sound, curated by Nami Strack (Nami Strack Filmton/ Sounddesign). The emphasis is placed on audio post production on TV series (Louis Molinas and Yoann Veyrat, Miroslav Pilon), the art of foley (MaryJo Lang, Warner Bros. Studios), sound design signatures (Aaron Glascock, Warner Bros. Studios), sound and virtual reality (Vincent Percevault, G4F), the virtual reality center "The Void" (Chance Thomas, HUGEsound) and Dolby Atmos (Christan Lerch, Dolby Germany). The set of talks is rounded off by Dolby films that were produced at the Filmakademie and a presentation on Imagine Dragons: Smoke & Mirrors LIVE (Andre Jacquemin, Redwood Studios), followed by a screening of the same film.

Business

The panel on "How Mid-Sized Studios Create World-Leading VFX" is brought to life by Shawn Walsh (Image Engine), Jonathan Harb (WHISKYTREE), Payam Shohadai (Luma) and Julian Dimsey (Iloura). Thierry Baujard (Media Deals) curates a track on "Access to Finance" that looks into financing opportunities in Europe with regard to future immersive content. Speakers include Frank Boyd (KTN), who talks about An Immersive and interactive Content initiative for the EC alongside Baujard; Ivan Brincat (European Commission) who will be available for a Q&A and Jose Frederick San Román (Ilion) with a talk on animation trends, facts and figures. A discussion on financing animation and immersive content with Román, Boyd, Brincat and Elisa Alvares (Bank Leumi) complements the track. Business is also the key topic of the APD Conference, which is part of the Animation Production Day.

Technology

The panel discussion "The Rendering Technology (R)Evolution?" puts together a diverse panel that consists of Jon Peddie (JPR), Raja Koduri (AMD), Oliver Pennington (Sohonet), Przemek Broniek (Google) and Ludwig von Reiche (NVIDIA ARC). Virtual collaboration becomes the hot topic of yet another panel with Kathleen Maher (JPR), Jeff Kember (Google), Jeremey Smith (Jellyfish Pictures), Jon Wadelton (The Foundry) and Ben Roeder (Sohonet).

New Forum additions

Oh my goodness, the List-Saal filled to the brim since we last sounded the Marketplace siren, here it goes: 4DVIEWS, 5Elements Entertainment Pvt Ltd, Allegorithmic, Breakpoint Books, Bullet Train, CADnetwork, Crytek, Cut&Paste, Digital Production, Dimensional Imaging Ltd, Escape Technology, Golaem, HDR Light Studio, Lenovo, MFG Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Wuerttemberg, Longing for Wilderness, MindMeld VR Design Contest by Cut&Paste supported by HP and Wacom, Perforce Software, pixeltrain, Pluralsight, PNY, RebusFarm, Renderpeople, Xsens. Dimensional Imaging Ltd and Perforce are also on-board when it comes to Workshops, as are ARRI, Binary Alchemy, bwcon, Google, Milk VFX, Sohonet, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Pixar and Solid Angle. Masterclasses are provided by FMX "Acting for Animators" legend Ed Hooks, Craig Caldwell (USTAR Professor) and Bernhard Haux (Oculus Story Studio). 

FMX is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the City of Stuttgart and the MFG Film Funding, taking place in cooperation with VES Visual Effects Society, ACM SIGGRAPH and the World Building Institute, supported by Animation Media Cluster Region Stuttgart (AMCRS) and Backstage. FMX is an event by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by the Animationsinstitut, hosting the Animation Production Day (APD), a joint venture with the Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart (ITFS).