August 11, 2008

Pixar, Sony, and Lucasfilm Host Studio Nights at SIGGRAPH

As part of the newly expanded format of the Computer Animation Festival, SIGGRAPH 2008 features three all-star Production Studio Nights hosted by industry powerhouses Pixar Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Lucasfilm. In addition to the Festival's popular Competition and Invited Screenings, Festival Talks, and Production Sessions, each studio is hosting evening events at Los Angeles' famed Nokia Theatre. Highlights include an exclusive advance screening of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, preceded by a conversation between visual effects supervisor John Knoll and director David Filoni, discussions with some of the industry's most notable pioneers, such as John Lasseter and Frédéric Back, as well as a tribute to the late Stan Winston, renowned visual effects supervisor, makeup artist, and film director.
"We are absolutely thrilled to have these three production icons participate in this year's Festival," states Jill Smolin, SIGGRAPH 2008 conference entertainment director. "The programs presented by each of these studios not only highlight the some of the best animated works and creators in the world, but also provide an excellent education to the general public on the industry and just what it takes to make these animations come to life."

The Computer Animation Festival is open to the public, with day passes available for as low as $50.
The Computer Animation Festival Production Studio Nights include:
Pixar Animation Studios
Tuesday, 12 August, 8 - 11 pm
Screening of "The Man Who Planted Trees"
Followed by a Conversation With Frédéric Back and John Lasseter
For more than 20 years, John Lasseter has redefined the animation industry, shaping the way we watch animation and showing us the sweetness, complexities, and hilarities in the simplest and most unlikely places.

Frédéric Back, a two-time Academy Award winner for "Crac" and "The Man Who Planted Trees," joins John Lasseter for a rare conversation about the passions to which he has committed his life: animation, art, and the environment.

Screening of "The Pixar Story" with Introduction and Q&A by Director Leslie Iwerks and Friends
An in-depth look behind the scenes of the ground-breaking company that pioneered a new generation of animation and forever changed the face of filmmaking. Using never-before-seen footage from the Pixar library, along with historic archival animation and first-hand accounts by animators, studio executives, directors, producers, and voice performers, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Leslie Iwerks tells the riveting story of the Bay Area start-up that revolutionized Hollywood.

Sony Pictures Imageworks
Wednesday, 13 August, 8 - 11 pm
Saying that Stan Winston helped transform visual effects into a legendary industry is just a start to recognizing his contribution and his legacy. He altered the course of movies when he transformed makeup effects from latex to animatronics. His credo, "I don't do effects, I do characters," provided the foundation for a veritable galaxy of interstellar aliens, menacing chrome robots, and predatory dinosaurs. His work blurred the lines between makeup, puppetry, and visual effects.

In films ranging from Terminator to Edward Scissorhands to Iron Man, audiences could barely discern where the actor ended and the effects began. Winston inspired legions of directors, visual effects supervisors, and artists to stretch their abilities beyond what they knew to be possible. He challenged imagination, inspired creativity, and invented worlds we couldn't have conceived otherwise. His insatiable curiosity even moved beyond the film world into robotics and artificial intelligence, in innovations that found their way from the labs at MIT to the workshop in Van Nuys. Sony Pictures Imageworks, in conjunction with Stan Winston Studios, hosts an evening of tributes, celebrations, and memories of Stan Winston and his characters by family, friends, and peers.

A special clip reel created by Digital Domain, of which Winston used to be part owner, will be shown, and the evening will close with a screening of Terminator 2.

Thursday, 14 August, 8 - 11 pm
Lucasfilm presents an advance screening of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the much-anticipated animated feature film from director Dave Filoni and executive producer George Lucas that opens to the public on Friday, 15 August. This event, hosted by ILM Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll, begins with a discussion of the film's unique design and signature style. The intergalactic struggle between good and evil continues with a screening of the next Star Wars adventure to hit the silver screen.