AEAF 2017 Speaker Program

16 August 2017

AEAF Awards 6pm 16 August
4:45pm  MPC - Sheldon Stopsack, VFX Supervisor MPC ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’
3:45pm  Animal Logic   -  Rob Coleman, Head of Animation  ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’
3:30pm  Google Cloud   -  Bjorn Leffler, Senior Cloud Engineer - Next generation cloud technologies for Movie Studios
2:45pm  ILM   -  Jeff Capogreco, Visual Effects Supervisor
1:45pm  Weta Digital   -  Anders Langlands,  VFX Supervisor  'War for the Planet of the Apes'
1:30 AFTRS - Susan Danta, Head of Animation &VFX. Mastering Story Development through Collaborative Practice
12 Noon  The Sequence Group   -  Ian Kirby and Luke Bicevskis
11:00am  Iloura   -  Lindsay Adams, Visual Effects Supervisor
10:15am  Buck   -  Gareth O'Brien, Creative Director
9:30am  Rotor Studios   -  Scott Bradley, Director and Glenn Stewart, Head of Design

click read more for full details of all the talks


MPC - Sheldon Stopsack, VFX Supervisor MPC
‘Pirates of the Caribbean’

Sheldon stopsack pirates

Sheldon will focus on his recent work leading MPC’s London VFX team on ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’. Sheldon himself was responsible for much of the project’s spectacular water effects, and collaborated with MPC’s Montreal team who were working on character effects.

Sheldon joined MPC in 2007 as Lighting TD working on ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’. Proving himself as a key member of the Lighting department, Sheldon soon moved on to Lead Look Development TD for productions including ‘Robin Hood’, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’, before taking on the role of Head of Department for Lighting.

Sheldon stopsack MPC1

Sheldon became CG Supervisor in 2012 and led 3D teams on many well-known effects-heavy movies such as ‘Dark Shadows’, ‘Total Recall’, ‘Skyfall’, ‘The Lone Ranger’ and ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’. A recent standout project for Sheldon was ‘Terminator Genisys’ when, as VFX Supervisor, he led the team’s pioneering work creating a digital double of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a younger man.

Most recently, apart from ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’, Sheldon has been working as VFX Supervisor on ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’.


Animal Logic - Rob Coleman ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’

Head of Animation at Animal Logic, Rob Coleman, will be among the speakers at AEAF in August to give attendees a glimpse behind the scenes of ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’, showing the Animal Logic team's recent work.

Rob Coleman cjpg

Rob Coleman is a two-time Oscar nominee for his animation work on ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’ (1999) and ‘Stars Wars: Attack of the Clones’ (2002). He has also been nominated for two BAFTA Awards for his work on ‘Men In Black’ (1997) and ‘The Phantom Menace’ (1999). He spent 14 years at Industrial Light and Magic and Lucasfilm Animation working closely with George Lucas. He has built and supervised animation teams in Canada, the United States, Singapore and Australia. He was the Head of Animation on ‘The LEGO Movie’ (2014) and was the Animation Supervisor on ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ (2017).

3:30 - 3:45pm 

Bjorn Leffler, Senior Cloud Engineer, Office of the CTO
Next generation cloud technologies for Movie Studios
Bjorn Leffler

Bjorn Leffler is a Senior Cloud Engineer in the Cloud Office of the CTO at Google, specializing in storage systems, high performance workloads and large scale deployments. He works with cloud customers from a variety of industries, making sure their infrastructure is scalable, high performance and cost efficient.

Prior to Google, Bjorn worked seven years in the movie industry at Pixar and Animal Logic, supporting the production of award winning animated movies and visual effects. Favourite credits include ‘Cars’, ‘Ratatouille’, ‘Wall-E’ and ‘Up’. At Pixar, Bjorn worked on rendering optimisation and the in-house software used to on feature film projects. He also built the storage and asset management system that Pixar uses today. At Animal Logic, Bjorn rewrote the scheduling software used to coordinate thousands of concurrent batch jobs on the local render farm.


ILM - Jeff Capogreco Visual Effects Supervisor


Visual Effects Supervisor Jeff Capogreco is coming to speak at AEAF 2017 from ILM Singapore, where he has been working since 2014 when he joined the company as an Associate VFX Supervisor on ‘Jurassic World’. He will show some of the work he has supervised since joining ILM in 2014 – ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’, ‘Kong: Skull Island’, ‘The Great Wall’ and ‘Jurassic World’. For each project, he will go over both individual shots and wider challenges he and his team encountered across the movie. He’s also going to talk about ILM Singapore’s 10 year anniversary and what makes ILM Singapore a unique studio to work in.

Jeff has a post graduate diploma in Computer Animation from Sheridan College and a 10-plus year career producing imagery for top feature films. Prior to ILM he worked at WETA Digital as a VFX Sequence Supervisor on such films as the three Hobbit films, ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ and ‘Avatar’


Weta Digital  - Anders Langlands, VFX Supervisor,  'War for the Planet of the Apes'

Anders langlands

Weta Digital VFX Supervisor Anders Langlands will share how the studio created the impressively emotive apes in War for the Planet of the Apes and how they were able to blend plate and CG environments to deliver the tense realistic finale of the trilogy.

Anders recently joined Weta Digital as a Visual Effects Supervisor, and has just completed his first project at the company, ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’, which is the main topic of his talk at AEAF.

Anders studied for a degree in Computer Visualization and Animation at Bournemouth University, and three years after graduating was hired at MPC. He progressed over the next 13 years from Look Development Lead to Head of Lighting, and then to supervisory roles including CG Supervisor, DFX Supervisor and VFX Supervisor. He now has 17 film credits including ‘Robin Hood’, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’, ‘Clash of the Titans’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’, ‘Wrath of the Titans’ and ‘Man of Steel’. His work on ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ earned him a BAFTA nomination and in 2016, he was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the Academy Awards for his work on ‘The Martian’.

Anders langlands planet apes

Anders is also recognised for the series of shaders he wrote as production shaders for the Arnold renderer to extend the software’s usefulness for VFX artists. One of the most widely known is the alSurface shader, which can be used to recreate many surface types from transparent, reflective and Sub Surface Scattering for skin, to metals and other solids.

1:30 - 1:45pm
AFTRS – Susan Danta, Head of Animation &VFX. Mastering Story Development through Collaborative Practice

 Susan Danta

Susan Danta is an award-winning animator and educator with over fifteen years of experience in film and television. Her practice spans across traditional and digital techniques. She has developed educational curriculum in animation and visual effects with a focus on collaborative storytelling through emerging technologies. Susan is a professional member of the Australian Directors Guild, a member of the Korea Research Institute, Script Assessor for the Australian Writers Guild, Editorial Board Member of Techarts Journal, member of the Childhood, Nation and Work Cinema Research Network (funded by the Leverhulme Trust) and a member of ACM SIGGRAPH.

12 Noon

The Sequence Group Ian Kirby and Luke Bicevskis

Two artists are coming to speak at AEAF in August from award-winning creative studio The Sequence Group, based in Vancouver, Canada and Melbourne, Australia. In business for the last 11 years, the group specializes in design, animation and visual effects. Founder and creative director Ian Kirby at Sequence's Vancouver office and partner and creative director Luke Bicevskis at the new Melbourne office, will talk about their work and company, and the challenges, successes and opportunities inherent in tackling the Australian industry,

As creative director, Ian works at Sequence as director, producer and visual effects artist. He has extensive experience in film, television and gaming and works closely with production studios and video game developers with expertise in the narrative expansion of new and existing properties. Ian’s hands-on background in animation, visual effects and live action enables him to undertake and manage a broad spectrum of mediums and projects.

Ian kirby sequence

Sequence Luke Bicevskis

Over his career, Luke has worked as a designer, illustrator, compositor and 3D artist on a number of award-winning projects across advertising, documentaries and animation. He won MIFF’s Best Short Documentary award for his illustrative work on Lukas Schrank's ‘Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island’. At Sequence, Luke has applied his skills to projects for clients including Microsoft, Disney and Slack.

Sequence opened in 2006 with an initial focus on broadcast design and motion comics. Ian and art director Andrew West worked together on one of the first motion comics, ‘Broken Saints’, a style that readily appealed to clients looking for backstory for films including ‘I Am Legend’, ‘Inception’ and ‘Prince of Persia’.

Meanwhile the Sequence team grew and the studio now handles visual effects and broadcast design for most types of production from concept through completion. Their team’s experience includes the ‘Batman’ and ‘Harry Potter’ franchises, Halo: Fall of Reach, Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 Civil War and Star Wars: Commander, as well as commercials blending live action with VFX. Other projects are 'Batman: Black and White' and Sony Santa Monica’s video games ‘Bound’ and ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’.

Sequence opened its new operation in Melbourne, Australia in 2016. The new studio partners with Sequence's Vancouver headquarters on animation and film projects, and serves Australia and Asia's booming creative sectors

Company evolution notwithstanding, Sequence retains design and artistic expression as the starting point for projects. Recent clients include 343 Industries, Disney Interactive, ABC, Kabam, Dallas Stars, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Sega and DC Entertainment.

Sequence’s work has received Awards recognition several times, including an IAWTV Award, a Bass Award and an Audience Award at the Sundance Online Film Festival. The team also won an Accolade Global Film Competition Award for excellence in animation for their work on ‘Halo: Fall of Reach’.

11:00 am

Iloura - VFX Supervisor Lindsay Adams

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Lindsay Adams from Iloura Animation and Visual Effects Studio

Lindsay has worked in visual effects for over 15 years at several studios including ILM, MPC and Animal Logic as well as Iloura. Working within his specialty in compositing, he was nominated for a VES award for Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature for his work on ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. Lindsay's work also includes ‘The Avengers’, ‘300’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’. In 2017 he supervised the visual effects for HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ which filmed in Australia.


Buck - Gareth O'Brien Creative Director

Gareth will talk about approaching projects with a designer’s eye, and the importance of design in storytelling, appealing to audiences and in delivering a director's vision - whether teams are working on commercials, title sequences or VFX in film.

Gareth obrien

Designer and Creative Director Gareth O’Brien has worked at Buck for over 10 years. He was born and trained in New Zealand at Massey University Design School in Wellington. He started at Buck’s New York office where he eventually became associate creative director. Later he moved to Sydney to help set up the company’s Australian studio in early 2015, spending a year recruiting, scouting studio space and working on projects remotely.

He is devoted to design and animation, working in various styles from stop motion, 3D and cell animation to live action and motion graphics. After graduating, Gareth took a job at Krafthaus Films in Wellington. Within three years he won several awards at the New Zealand Best Awards in Broadcast Graphic Design.

He then worked briefly at Nexus Productions in London in broadcast design before starting at Buck in New York as a designer and animator, moving up to Art and Animation Director. In recent years Gareth’s clients include Smart Car, The Woolmark Company, Oreo, Aperol, Cadbury, Nike, Coca-Cola, MTV and Mastercard.

9:30 am

Rotor Studios - Director Scott Bradley and Head of Design Glenn Stewart

Rotor studio scott morgan2

Two speakers from Rotor Studios in Sydney are joining the line-up at AEAF, Director and Managing Partner Scott Bradley and Head of Design Glenn Stewart.

Rotor specialises in all aspects of computer generated visualisation - live-action commercials and content, CG and visual effects. After developing and refining a 3D pipeline over many years, their team is now recognized for creating photoreal stills, live-action integrations, moving and interactive media, and delivering it across platforms including virtual reality, CG experiences, mobile and large format displays. Automotive projects and imagery are a particular specialty. Two recent projects are for Toyota – an aspirational Camry Global Launch Video and the interactive Toyota Showroom 360 marketing tool.

Rotor Scott Bradley

Director and Managing Partner Scott Bradley will talk about Rotors Studios’ team, facility and its approach to production, and Glenn Stewart will present on his direction and design work on some of Rotor’s major projects.

Scott Bradley founded Rotor Studios nearly 20 years ago. Having spent 30 years in the advertising and marketing industry, he has witnessed tremendous changes in both content creation and delivery techniques and systems. He has actively navigated the business through this rapidly evolving landscape to ensure Rotor Studios’ position as a top ranking visualisation company.

Glenn Stewart is Rotor's Head of Design and oversees various projects as director, designer and VFX artist. Some of his key projects in his time at Rotor include the award winning Prius Launch Film for Toyota Japan, and the promotional film for The Dream Car Art Contest, both maintaining a delicate balance between visual effects and live action photography.

Rotor Glenn stewart2crop

His passion is filmmaking, having wanted to direct since an early age. At age 19, Glenn’s first foray into filmmaking was the short film ‘For Every Year’ (2004), which was a top 16 finalist at that year’s Tropfest and ultimately went on to win Best Cinematography, also screening at other notable festivals. His most recent and successful film was ‘The Red Valentine’ (2012), an Australian noir inspired short that screened at multiple festivals worldwide and also went on to win a number of awards, including a coveted Vimeo Staff Pick with almost 100,000 plays.

Outside of Rotor Studios, he’s also an award winning director, designer with a reputation for his aesthetic and work for clients including Google, Foxtel and Toyota. In 2014 his direction and design work for Foxtel’s Smooth channel launch won Gold for the Best Television Image Campaign at the PromaxBDA Awards.