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AEAF 2019 Speaker Program 16 August

A Perfect Day at AEAF 

AEAF is a celebration of VFX and Animation with a speaker program and awards evening.  

AEAF takes place on 16 August, in Paddington, Sydney. Following a packed day of talks from the leading lights of the VFX industry, the AEAF Awards Night is a celebration of the best work by digital artists artists from around the world.

AEAF’s speakers include VFX Supervisors, Animation and Creative Directors, who will enlighten the industry with new, creative approaches to their work and insights into the projects they have contributed to.

10 am Meet and Greet - Complimentary Coffee and muffins
Networking Lunch - light lunch provided

Speaker Program 10:00 am - 6 pm 16 August

AEAF Awards 6pm - 10 pm 16 August

Book Tickets

AEAF is happy to welcome new  speakers to the 2019 programme

entries to the AEAF Awards are now open. See the Entry Form.

4:45 PM AQUAMAN -  Method Studios - Josh Simmonds VFX supervisor

In 20 years of animation and visual effects work, Josh Simmonds has acquired extensive experience across a diverse range of projects from advertising to episodics and features. After working in Sydney and London, Josh seized the opportunity to return to Melbourne 12 years ago, where he has been honing his craft with Method Studios ever since on projects including ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’, ‘Gods of Egypt’ and ‘Ghostbusters’.

His most recent VFX Supervision credits are DC Comics blockbuster ‘Aquaman’, the locally produced ‘Judy & Punch’, the Coen Bros. ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ and HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 which earned him an AACTA Award for Best Visual Effects.

Josh Simmonds Method Studios AEAF

4:00 PM - CAPTAIN MARVEL - RSP - Malte Sarnes - VFX Supervisor


1:45 PM - CAPTAIN MARVEL - Animal Logic - Alex Lay - Lead Digital Artist

Alex will share his experience working on Captain Marvel.
Alex first joined Animal Logic in 2013, working as a Nuke Compositor on The LEGO Movie. Since then, he has held a variety of roles at Animal Logic including Compositing Supervisor and now Compositing Lead, across a number of VFX projects; Alien Covenant, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, Avengers: Age of Ultron and most recently, Captain Marvel. Alex has also worked with Method Studios, Cutting Edge and Fuel FX on a number of feature films including, Outlaw King, 2:22, Mad Max: Fury Road, Iron Man 3 and Prometheus.

Alex Lay

1:15 PM - LEGO Movie Franchise  - Animal Logic - Christian So - Animation Lead

Christian will share his experience working across The LEGO Movie Franchise (The LEGO Movie, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Movie 2). Christian has worked at Animal Logic for over 15 years, starting as Senior Animator before progressing to Lead Animator in 2015. During this time, he has worked across a diverse range projects including Peter Rabbit, The LEGO Movie Franchise , Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, the Academy Award winning film, Happy Feet and most recently The LEGO Movie 2.

Christian So

11:45 AM - Cutting Edge - Zenon Kohler - Creative Director
and Ian Anderson - Animation Director
Character Development

Zenon Kohler and Ian Anderson are a creative duo that was forged at Cutting Edge’s Brisbane studio. Over the years, they have created many original characters for the studio's projects and will talk about their approach and processes, using a number of examples from their shortform character work as reference. They will take you through a deep dive into what it takes to develop a character that's loved by young and old. As masters of character development, animation and design, they will take you on a journey from early ideation, through development and delivery of characters across 2D and 3D animation, illustration, wearable costumes and all kinds of merchandise.

Together, they collaborate closely on a variety of projects that need memorable, distinctive and often lovable animated characters. They have a special place in their hearts for stories that require character development and design. As a team, they have created Borobi - the AEAF Gold winning Commonwealth Games mascot, Steve - Betadine’s longrunning bacteria character, and Hogster - Hog’s Breath Cafe’s mascot.

Cutting Edge Portraits Zenon Kohler

Creative Director, Zenon Kohler

Zenon Kohler is an award-winning Creative Director and VFX Supervisor at Cutting Edge. Zenon has an innate passion for creative development and design. His background in visual effects and animation gives him a tremendous advantage when it comes to directing projects that rely heavily on these disciplines. Already highly experienced when he started working at Cutting Edge in 2011, earlier in his career he worked as Art Director at Animal Logic and The Post Lounge.

Cutting Edge Ian Anderson

Animation Director, Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson is Animation Director at Cutting Edge, where he has been working since 2001. His career began at the legendary animation studio of Richard Williams, before moving to Sydney for Disney Television and later transitioning into advertising. He has a singular talent for combining his experience in 3D with old school animation to create extraordinary imagery.

11:00 AM - UTS Animal Logic Academy - Projects

Artists from UTS Animal Logic Academy will be speaking at AEAF in August 2019. UTS ALA’s VFX lead Matt Estela and Creative Lead Chris Ebeling will present Academy projects with a focus on the transfer of skills from traditional VFX pipelines to real-time projects such as games, VR, AR and o thers. Animation director Simon Rippingale, at work on his PhD at UTS ALA, will make a presentation on his short film ‘Jasper’ that won a Gold Award at AEAF in 2018.

Matt Estela has over 17 years of experience in 3D animation, working at Framestore, The Mill, Finish and Smoke and Mirrors, as well as co-directing a studio called 'The House of Curves' with 3D artist and director Andrew Daffy. For the past 9 years, Matt has worked on many films and filled several roles at Animal Logic Sydney, most recently working as VR Supervisor on the Lego Batman Movie.
In 2014, Matt started using Houdini FX and created CGWiki Houdini tips that led to many speaking invitations and eventually towards education and the Academy.

Matt estela utsala


VFX Lead Matt Estela

Creative Lead at the Academy, Chris Ebeling is an animator, creative director, digital artist and writer, having worked on Hollywood feature films such as ‘The Lego Movie’, ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘Gods of Egypt’ and ‘Happy Feet 2’. He has also directed projects in virtual and augmented reality, as well as PC and mobile games. With artistic storytelling and creative direction as his main fascination, he keeps an eye on emerging technologies, while nurturing his passion for mentoring young artists of the future.

Animation director and PhD candidate Simon Rippingale will talk about making his short film ‘Jasper’, a Gold Award winner at AEAF in 2018. ‘Jasper’ began life as an animated story created as a part of an initiative to encourage young women to study STEM subjects and reject gender stereotyping. However, behind the scenes, the film has involved a huge amount of research as part of Simon’s PhD, which explores new techniques for realising moving images and visual effects on screen.

Chris ebeling utsala


Creative Lead Chris Ebeling

The animation was developed at the boundary between analogue and digital animation and aims, Simon says, to ‘explore the way different image making techniques can affect the emotional experience of the audience by bringing greater tangibility and realness to story images’. He has created handmade real sets and models, as well as CG imagery, lights and elements, and combined them into a style between stop motion and 3D animation.

Along the way, his efforts to bring the analogue information into the digital process has included techniques ranging from 3D printing to motion capture. Use of photogrammetry led to importing the scanned set into Unreal Engine 4 and investigating how augmented reality could be used in real-time previsualisation. He also photographed his little set multiple times using a robotic arm to produce animation layers with identical camera moves.

Simon rippingale2a

AEAF speakers1 JetPilot

Simon Rippingale, on set.

10:30 AM AFTRS Gets Animated

Krista Jordan is Head of Animation at the Australian Film Television and Radio School and has over twenty years of professional industry experience in creative and commercial filmmaking. Her professional film credits include ‘The Matrix’, ‘The Matrix Reloaded’, ‘Rabbit-Proof Fence’, ‘Moulin Rouge’ and Academy Award-winning ‘Happy Feet’.


Krista Jordan, Head of Animation

More recently, Krista’s focus has shifted to learning, leadership and strategic development, supporting and developing new talent as they take on the challenges of working as a creative professional in film and media. Before her current position at AFTRS, she was Learning and Development Manager at Animal Logic and worked with the curriculum development team to establish the UTS Animal Logic Academy ‘Master of Animation and Visualisation’ degree in 2017.

Program at a glance
AEAF Awards reception from 6.00pm, Screening 7.30pm

4:45 pm  Aquaman - Method Studios- - Josh Simmonds
4:00 pm 
3:15 pm 
1:45 pm  Captain Marvel -  Animal Logic - Alex Lay
1:15 pm  LEGO 2 -  Animal Logic - Christian So -
12:30 pm
11:30 am Cutting Edge - Zenon Kohler-Ian Anderson
11:00 am UTS Animal Logic Academy - Matt Estela - Chris Ebeling - Simon Rippingale
10:30 am AFTRS - Krista Jordan

10:00 am Meet and Greet Complimentary Coffee and muffins

Book Tickets