Visual Effects Society Announces Featured Sessions for 2013 VES Summit


Former AMPAS Presidents Forum, NASA/JPL Mars Curiosity Rover Expert and VFX Experts Panel on New Models for Profitability

Last Updated: September 22, 2013 3:09 am GMT
(Los Angeles, California--September 22, 2013) The Visual Effects Society (VES), the industry’s professional honorary society, has announced several featured sessions set for its 5th annual Summit, “A New Reality: Content Creation and Distribution.” The daylong interactive forum on October 26th will bring together top creatives, executives, thought leaders and visionaries from diverse disciplines to illustrate new pathways to creativity and problem-solving in an atmosphere akin to TED Talks. Prominent speakers sharing insights into the elements for success in the new VFX landscape will include:

  • Former Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Presidents (AMPAS) Sid Ganis and Hawk Koch will provide an intimate glimpse into life at the center of the changing entertainment industry.

  • Interplanetary robotics expert Nagin Cox will share her frontline perspectives on exploring new frontiers as a team member on missions to Mars and Jupiter.

  • And building on the VES’ 2013 whitepaper, “The State of the Global VFX Industry,” Carnegie Mellon Professor Carl Rosendahl will lead a discussion with top-tier studio and facility experts on new formulas for financial success in the dynamic global marketplace. Distinguished panelists include: Chris DeFaria, President, Digital Production, Animation and Visual Effects, Warner Bros.; Christian Kubsch, President, Method Studios; Tim Sarnoff, President, Digital Productions, Technicolor; and Ed Ulbrich, producer and former CEO, Digital Domain.

“During this paradigm shift in the VFX industry, we’re proud to bring together an exceptional group of innovators who have charted new territory in entertainment, business and technology and even pushed the boundaries of our known universe,” said Eric Roth, VES Executive Director. “The next generation of VFX leaders will be those who embrace new ways of thinking and engineer the business climate of tomorrow.”

Mission: Possible.
Join Nagin Cox to hear riveting tales of science and exploration from behind the missions. A former captain in the U.S. Air Force stationed at NORAD/Space Command, Cox joined JPL in 1993. Since then she has served as a systems engineer and manager on multiple interplanetary robotic missions including NASA/JPL’s Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rover Missions and the Kepler telescope mission to search for earth-like planets around other stars. She also led the first phase of the proposal that has since become NASA’s 2016 Mars Mission - InSight. She is currently on the mission operations team for Mars Science Laboratory NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover that landed in August 2012 and has been exploring Mars ever since.

Center Square: AMPAS Presidents Exclusive.
Former Academy Presidents Sid Ganis and Hawk Koch talk about life, leadership and our love affair with the movies and Oscar during a time of rapid technological, creative and economic transition. Both are strong advocates in the ongoing effort to protect artists’ rights and set artistic standards which reflect the current state-of-the-art. Ganis served as AMPAS President from 2005-2009. He founded Out of the Blue Entertainment in 1996 after a distinguished career as a senior executive at Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Lucasfilm, Ltd. During his storied career, Ganis greenlit “Ghost,” bought the rights to “Forrest Gump,” and worked closely with George Lucas on the production and marketing of “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Koch is a veteran movie producer who currently serves as President of the Producers Guild of America with Mark Gordon. He recently completed his tenure as AMPAS President serving from 2012-2013. He has been intimately involved with the making of over 60 major motion pictures, among them such classics as "Marathon Man," "Chinatown," "Wayne's World," "Peggy Sue Got Married," "Heaven Can Wait," "The Way We Were" and "Rosemary's Baby."

In the Black: New Strategies for VFX Profitability

Carl Rosendahl, Associate Professor at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University and former President of PDI/DreamWorks, and a notable panel of studio and facility veterans will focus on critical profit and pricing challenges facing the VFX community and options to help companies “get the red out…” As companies continue to pursue options to enhance both efficiency and profitability, they ask – What dynamics are within our reach? Who is leading by example? And how can we chart a course for a more sustainable VFX future without sacrificing quality and artistry? This forum will showcase bidding models with the potential to increase financial stability including fixed bid, cost plus and four walling and ways to amplify transparency and accountability.

Additional updates on speakers and panels will be available soon.

THE 2013 VES Summit takes place on Saturday, October 26th at the W Hotel in Hollywood. The Summit site is live at

About the Visual Effects Society
The Visual Effects Society is a professional honorary society dedicated to advancing the arts, sciences and applications of visual effects and to upholding the highest standards and procedures for the visual effects profession. It is the entertainment industry's only official organization representing the extended global community of visual effects practitioners, including supervisors, artists, producers, technology developers, educators and studio executives. VES’ almost 3,000 members in 31 countries worldwide contribute to all areas of entertainment – film, television, commercials, animation, music videos, games and new media. To learn more about the VES, visit


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