London, UK – Prime Focus has recruited a handpicked team of some of the VFX industry’s top talent to launch Prime Focus Film, a new film VFX and stereoscopy facility based in the heart of London. The new offering has been designed from the ground up to offer an exciting alternative to London’s established VFX companies, challenging the conventions and traditional practices which have become commonplace in the industry and promoting a new way of engaging with filmmakers.
Martin Hobbs, former board director and head of film production at MPC, is managing director of the new division, which encompasses both film VFX and View-D£, Prime Focus’ proprietary 2D to stereo 3D conversion process. “This is a bold statement of intent – a new business model, launched with drive, energy, enthusiasm and experience at a pivotal time for the VFX industry,” said Hobbs. “I’m thrilled that so many big industry names share our vision. To have this level of senior creative and production talent involved in a new business is unprecedented.”
A host of award-winning artists are already on board, including: Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Jon Thum, who won his Academy Award for his work on The Matrix; acclaimed animation director Michael Eames (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Where The Wild Things Are); respected animation supervisor Pablo Grillo (The Golden Compass, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire); VFX supervisor Stuart Lashley (GI Joe, Watchmen); CG supervisor Alex Pejic (Inception, The Dark Knight); VFX producer Fiona Foster (Angels and Demons, Robin Hood); and head of pipeline Alexis Casas, who was instrumental in setting up animation pipelines at Mac Guff and Weta Digital on Avatar.
A new digital art department has also been set up, led by VFX art director Neil Miller, whose credits include Children of Men and The Da Vinci Code, and including internationally acclaimed matte painter and concept artist Ludo Iochem (The Bourne Ultimatum, Stardust).
Film VFX consultant Michael Elson, who was previously responsible for building the film business at MPC, has been advising Prime Focus on the new venture. “This is a fascinating time for the VFX business,” commented Elson. “The film industry is going through huge change, and the business models we built our old businesses on have to fundamentally change too. Alongside this, there’s a groundswell of common thought among artists – a shared belief that there’s a better way in which they can do their jobs. This is what I believe Prime Focus Film is all about – a new business model which gives filmmakers access to both the best local talent and the scale and infrastructure of a global group, while allowing artists to engage more closely with filmmakers, and at an earlier stage in the process.”
An example of this new approach is Prime Focus Film’s work on the new stereo 3D Judge Dredd motion picture, which started principal photography last week. Prime Focus Film are aligned as creative partners with the filmmakers on the project, providing conceptual, planning, production design and pre-visualization work in addition to supplying a full slate of stereo VFX services and converting key shots - which could not be captured on set - to stereo 3D using View-D.
The new division also houses the View-D team, led by Matt Bristowe, one of London’s most respected DI producers. Other members of the View-D team are producer Marcus Alexander and View-D stereo supervisors Richard Baker and Ben Murray. Over the last year, View-D has been established as a globally recognized industry leader in high-end, creatively-led 3D conversion, and the London team has already delivered work on three tent-pole Hollywood movies and a handful of commercials and broadcast projects.
Prime Focus Film will be moving into new, state-of-the-art headquarters in 2011. “The building is being designed as a flagship studio which reflects our new way of working,” commented Hobbs. “With more projects to be announced soon, the unquestionable caliber of the team we’ve assembled, and this extraordinary new space, this is a very exciting time to be part of Prime Focus Film.”
“I'm extremely excited about the launch of Prime Focus Film,” said Michael Fink, president of Prime Focus VFX worldwide. “This new venture marks the next evolution of our global VFX and View-D offering. We’ve assembled a team of truly world-class visual effects artists, and I’m looking forward to working with them on upcoming projects.”
Namit Malhotra, global CEO and founder, Prime Focus added: “With our LA, Vancouver and Mumbai studios already delivering world-class VFX on projects such as Avatar, The Twilight Saga, The A-Team and GI Joe, this is the next piece in the jigsaw in creating a truly global VFX offering. We have a clear vision for the future of this industry, and a drive and determination to deliver the best talent, service, technology and scale to filmmakers, wherever they are in the world.”