Smoke & Mirrors Adds To The Magic With New Appointments


Last Updated: May 16, 2008 3:21 pm GMT
(London--May 16, 2008) Smoke & Mirrors, the creatively-lead high-end post production house, has added to its bag of tricks with new staff appointments that strengthen its visual effects capabilities and post-production management teams.

Joining the company is Nico Cotta, one of the UK’s most sought-after flame artists and VFX supervisors, together with producer James Niklasson who brings more than a decade of experience in supervising the post production on CG animation and visual effects in broadcast, music videos and commercials.

Cotta, who has been appointed as a senior VFX supervisor, brings skills in advanced compositing and effects supervision to Smoke & Mirrors. He has worked regularly with leading commercials directors including Pleix, Frederic Planchon, Dougal Wilson, Frederik Bond, Guy Manwaring, Traktor, Daniel Barber, The Brothers Quay and Walter Stern, on commercials for Audi, Bacardi, Smirnoff, Motorola and Vodafone amongst many others.

His career has included stints at Hybride in Canada where he worked as a senior compositor on commercials for Budweiser, Air Canada, Coca Cola, and Labatts, as well as films including Spy Kids. He won a Visual Effects Society award in 2002 for Best Compositing In A Mini Series for Dinotopia whilst at Framestore CFC.

Cotta has joined Smoke & Mirrors from The Moving Picture Company where he was a Senior Supervisor/Flame Operator for five years. He was nominated this year for a Visual Effects Society Best Compositing award for Bacardi’s “Sun” campaign.

James Niklasson has started at Smoke & Mirrors in the role of senior producer. He has previously supervised the post production on commercials for AOL, Direct Line, Dove, Smirnoff and Sony. As well as idents and title sequences for BBC Bitesize, Bloomberg, Discovery Channel, Disney, ITV, Top of the Pops and X Factor and promos for Kasabian and Christina Aguilera.

Niklasson was formerly an in-house producer and company director of The Hive, part of VTR plc, and most recently was a founding director of Lime Ltd, working on titles and VFX for BBC dramas including Silent Witness, Waking The Dead and The State Within, as well as cutting-edge music videos for artists such as Goldfrapp and Ash.

Speaking about the appointments, Smoke & Mirrors’ Chief Executive Penny Verbe said: "Smoke & Mirrors is known for delivering creativity and innovation. Nico has one of the best reels I have seen, and will be a great lead supervisor/operator on the intensive effects and animation projects we typically handle.

“Solid management is crucial on every job, and in James we have found someone with enormous experience who will complement the skills of our in-house producers working on visual effects for commercials, feature films, creative broadcast graphics and music videos.

Commenting on his appointment Cotta said: “I've known of Smoke & Mirrors for a long time and have always admired the creative artistry of the company's work. While it’s a relaxed and friendly place, it's totally professional too. Smoke & Mirrors is always pushing back boundaries both creatively and technically. That's why I came."

Niklasson commented: “I have always worked in creatively-lead companies, making sure that productions pass successfully from storyboard to the final master. Careful management and strong client liaison will be my chief priorities on the productions running through Smoke & Mirrors.”

Recent projects completed at Smoke & Mirrors include:
  • Neighbours, directed by Simon Beckett at Five for Five
  • Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory, directed by Dahlan Lassalle at Channel 4 Creative Services for Channel 4
  • Grand Designs, directed by Brett Foraker at Channel 4 Creative Services for Channel 4
  • Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe, directed by Grant Gilbert at Channel 4 Creative Services for Channel 4
  • Pot Noodle ‘Tipping The Pot’, directed by Dom Bridges at Mustard for AKQA
  • Nokia ‘The Next Episode, directed by Malcolm Venville at Therapy Films for Lowe Worldwide


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