HPA Tech Retreat 2024 unveils groundbreaking Supersession
December 15, 2023

HPA Tech Retreat 2024 unveils groundbreaking Supersession

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) (hpaonline.com) has revealed programming details for the highly anticipated HPA Tech Retreat Supersession. This year, the Tech Retreat’s Supersession will go behind the scenes with two groups of filmmakers as they create animated shorts that illustrate differing approaches: one utilizing advanced technologies and one AI-focused. As part of the extensive five-day agenda, the Supersession once again stands out as a pinnacle experience, blending the new frontier of creativity and technology.
Celebrating its 29th year, the 2024 HPA Tech Retreat will take place from February 18 to 22, 2024, hosted at the Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, California. Registration is currently open at HPATechRetreat.com, with the HPA Tech Retreat Supersession taking place on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

Aligned with the essence of the entire Retreat, the 2024 HPA Supersession promises a distinctive and experiential encounter, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible when creativity and technology are put together. This year’s AI-focused Supersession follows on previous years, which included building two state-of-the-art 3D theaters for a look at the making of Avatar: The Way of Water in 2023, the construction of three virtual production volumes in 2022 and six short films that were produced live but remotely in the cloud from around the world in 2021.

The 2024 Supersession will focus on real-world evolution in animation content creation, aiming to unpack and explore the realm of possibilities. In two sessions, filmmakers take different approaches to creating content: the most advanced filmmaking techniques for animation in the morning, and an AI filmmaking session in the afternoon. Both will bring attendees into the process. 

Tuesday — February 20, 2024

The two collaborative sessions are led by a stellar lineup of artists and technologists, all under the expert guidance of Joachim Zell (JZ), Jack Wenzinger and James Blevins. The entire Supersession experience is emceed by Zell, who will help create an enthralling Supersession showcasing both projects.

Creating “Ashen,” An Original Animated Short
The morning kicks off with an exploration of the creation of the original animated short, “Ashen,” crafted by a global team. The session will cover various facets of the creative process and illuminate the most modern ways of creating animation. Topics of discussion include: 

The Idea, The Script: Following a script through completion
The Workflow
PreVis and Tech Viz
Concept Art, Look Book, and Beat Sheet
Audio Recording, ADR, Audio Mix
3D Animation
Virtual Camera 
Post Production in the Cloud
Editing Composition
Sound Composition
Epic Games 
Color Timing Animation 
Producing an Animation 

Directed by Ruby Bell, and produced by Bell, Michelle Chan, Giorgia Starawuk, and executive produced by Mandy Walker ACS, ASC, “Ashen” is the product of contributions from numerous contributors and companies. Those include Adobe, Amazon Web Services (AWS) - Perforce Helix Core system, AWS Post Production and Color Correction Cloud, AJA, Avid Editorial, Autodesk - Shot Grid, Big Bang Sound Design, Exceptional Minds, Keywords Studios, Moxion, Mriya Productions (Team Ukraine), Noitom Studios, Pow Wow Studios, Unreal Engine and Westwind Media.

Presenters will include Ruby Bell, Filmmaker; Jayme Wilkinson, VFX Supervisor; Shaman Marya, Producer & Virtual Production Supervisor; Giorgia Stawaruk, Producer; Iris Wu, Audio Consultant; Jay Torta, Cinematographer; Barry Goch, editor; Dean Lyon, VFX Consultant; Katrina King, AWS; Isabella S. Lauf, Composer; Natasha Leonett, colorist; and Michelle Chan, Producer. 

Deconstructing An AI created Animated Short 
The afternoon session features another set of groundbreaking filmmakers and technologists who explore the use of Generative AI in the visual storytelling process. Attendees will be guided through some of the latest AI technologies as a short animated film is completed.

Corridor Crew: Discussion and Demonstration of 3 types of AI-enabled animation  
AI Compositing  
Theoretically Media: Demo of other AI video Tools
Custom Training and Custom Models 
AI Pipeline and Workflow 
Curious Refuge: The World’s First Home for AI Storytellers  
AI Music and Sound  

Speakers include Niko Pueringer, Corridor Crew; Tim Simmons, Theoretically Media; Caleb and Shelby Ward, Curious Refuge; and Jack Wenzinger, Amazon Web Services. 

Both projects will be screened. The day concludes with a panel discussion featuring teams from both the morning and afternoon sessions.

Seth Hallen, HPA President and this year’s head of the HPA Tech Retreat Programming Committee noted, “At the HPA Supersession, we love exploring how technology plays a key role in unleashing human creativity. We do this by putting aside the slide shows and panel discussions, and enabling filmmakers to show us how they work their magic. I can’t wait for a day filled with insightful live demonstrations from outstanding filmmakers as they unpack their approaches to storytelling.” Of the day’s sessions, he said, “Going behind the scenes on “Ashen” will give us an exciting look at the latest mainstream but cutting edge techniques as working filmmakers use them. The second half of the day will showcase the arrival of new game-changing AI technologies. In the midst of the noise and interest of AI, it takes the precision and focus of the HPA Tech Retreat’s Supersession to demystify how these tools can be used, and how they might continue to evolve, laying the groundwork for a fact-based exploration of AI’s impact on the creative landscape. This day is going to level-up yet again at the incredible HPA Tech Retreat.”

The HPA Tech Retreat, recognized for its comprehensive coverage of critical topics in the media creation industry, includes TR-X on Monday, focused on "Extreme Production," and the main conference program on Wednesday and Thursday, featuring compelling topics ranging from AI to archive digitization. The HPA Tech Retreat is also known for its world-class networking opportunities. The Innovation Zone, a dedicated environment where the latest in products and technologies are demonstrated by experts, takes place Monday-Wednesday. 

The event maintains capped attendance, historically selling out quickly, thus early registration is recommended and can be purchased at HPATechRetreat.com.