London - Framestore CFC's visual effects work was honored at the 2008 Orange British Academy Film Awards, held on February 10 at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden.
The award for Achievement in Special Effects went to The Golden Compass, for which Framestore CFC provided key digital VFX work. The award was accepted on behalf of his team by nominee Ben Morris, Framestore CFC's VFX supervisor on the project. Also accepting the award were fellow nominees Bill Westenhofer (Rhythm & Hues) and Trevor Wood (special effects supervisor). Michael Fink (VFX supervisor), also nominated, was unable to attend.
Ben Morris's 200-strong team created roughly 300 shots over a 15-month period.
Said Morris after the ceremony, "We put together an incredible group of people for The Golden Compass. For many of us this was one of those 'must-do' projects -- once word got out that we were doing it, artists flocked to get on board."
The Golden Compass, directed by Chris Weitz and produced by New Line Cinema, was this winter's fantasy blockbuster. It's a thrilling adventure-ride of a film that follows a young girl's quest through a magical world of witches, travellers, and daemons, from the academic cloisters of Oxford to the magical heart of the frozen roof of the world.
Framestore CFC artists were delighted to provide the film with one of its heroes, the massive armoured polar bear, Iorek Byrnison, voiced by Ian McKellen. In addition, the Framestore CFC team, led by Morris, created Iorek's arch-foe, the wicked bear Ragnar, as well as a cast of supporting bears and the CG environments in which they live.
William Sargent, Joint CEO of Framestore CFC, said afterwards, "This is a great result for Ben Morris and his team, for Framestore CFC, and for the UK film industry, in the face of stiff international competition. It's great to see that we can more than hold our own when it comes to the best creature work out there. Creating Iorek, Ragnar, and the other bears, as well as the environments in which they lived required every ounce of experience and knowledge we've gained over the years, and we were proud to be able to deliver on that."
Framestore CFC has won three BAFTAs for its television work since 1999 but, despite frequent nominations for its movie work (including two nominations both last year and the previous year), this is the first time a company team has won a feature film BAFTA.