VFX Talent Joins Escape Studios US Advisory Board
March 16, 2011

VFX Talent Joins Escape Studios US Advisory Board

Los Angeles, Calif. - CG academy Escape Studios announced five new US advisory board members, including Afonso Salcedo of Pixar Animation Studios, Ken Maruyama of Sony Pictures Imageworks, John Leonti of The Mill, Patrick Davenport of Method, and Andrew Bell of MPC.

"We pride ourselves on having direct contact with the VFX industry and incorporating their insight and feedback into our training programs," says Dom Davenport, CEO and founder of Escape Studios. "I am delighted to welcome this caliber of industry talent and experience to our advisory board and look forward to working with them to make our US campus the best it can possibly be." 

Coming from diverse and qualified backgrounds, the advisory board members each bring a different perspective and knowledge base to Escape Studios. "As a former Escape Studios student, I've experienced the quality of training first-hand and look forward to impacting future students with my knowledge of the industry," says Afonso Salcedo, a full-time lighting artist at Pixar Animation Studios.

"Aspiring technical directors typically don't have the right skill sets, even after completing college courses. But Escape Studios emphasizes training that's based on actual industry criteria and I hope to continue that tradition by sharing my insight as an advisory board member," explains Ken Maruyama the vice president of recruiting, academic relations and animation artist management at Sony Picture Imageworks.

"It's an honor to be part of Escape Studio's advisory board and influence the academy's direction and training offerings, especially when it comes to new VFX and 3D technologies," says John Leonti, the co-head of 3D at The Mill's Los Angeles office. 

"I've seen the industry evolve and grow, creating the demand for new skill sets. Schools like Escape Studios are essential for developing talent that will keep up with this evolution and I am excited to be a part of that process," notes Patrick Davenport, vice president of creative operations at Method.

"The VFX industry is multifaceted and newcomers require a variety of skills to be successful. I look forward to bringing my experience to the advisory board and helping the school to develop the best talent," offers Andrew Bell, head of product for commercials at MPC's Los Angeles studio. 

Afonso Salcedo
Afonso Salcedo is a full-time lighting artist at Pixar Animation Studios and has worked on Academy Award-winning films Ratatouille, WALL•E, Up, and most recently, Toy Story 3. In his role, Salcedo works to create the atmosphere and final appearance a film's director and director of photography are trying to achieve. He studied animation at Escape Studios. 

Ken Maruyama
As vice president of recruiting, academic relations, and animation artist management at Sony Picture Imageworks, Ken Maruyama manages the company's animators and recruits fresh talent. Additionally Maruyama directs the IPAX program, which establishes training standards developed from actual production issues and provides guidelines that help member schools better train graduates to meet industry requirements. He works to build strong relationships with IPAX associated schools and contributes to growing VFX talent. 

John Leonti
Working as the co-head of 3D at The Mill's Los Angeles office, John Leonti has helped grow the burgeoning department from 4 to 20 artists in three years. Leonti has over ten years of experience in 3D and has worked on films like Casino Royale, Amazing Grace, and  The Other Boleyn Girl. His credits also include an array of high-profile commercials, such as this year's cars.com Super Bowl spot featuring anthropomorphic cars-"Reviews Are In" and projects for Nintendo, Gatorade, Audi, and Pepsi.
Patrick Davenport
Patrick Davenport is the vice president of creative operations for Method's Los Angeles and New York studios. With two decades of experience in VFX and production, Davenport has worked on award-winning projects such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Isuzu's "Giant" (AICP Best Visual Effects and Clio Gold award for visual effects), Coca-Cola's "Jitterbug" (Clio Gold award for best animation) and Iomega "Pool" (Clio Silver award for best animation). He also produced a variety of series and documentaries for Bravo, E! Entertainment, VH1, and MTV. In addition to being on Escape Studio's advisory board, Davenport is a member of BAFTA and The Visual Effects Society. 

Andrew Bell 
As head of product for commercials at MPC's Los Angeles studio, Andrew Bell is charged with winning business and managing several high profile agencies, including the likes of Grey, Wieden & Kennedy, Saatchi & Saatchi, Droga 5, and Team One. Bell came to MPC in 1999 and was a senior producer since 2002. Some of his recent projects include VES nominated DirecTV "Ice Cream" (Rupert Sanders), Travelers "Watering Hole" (Dante Ariola), Puma "BlamBlam" (Fredrik Bond) and Lexus IS "Which One" (Patrick Daughters).