MASTERSFX Earns Visual Effects Society Award Nomination for "Outstanding Visual Effects" For Second Season of "Hemlock Grove"


Last Updated: January 21, 2015 10:16 pm GMT
Los Angeles, and Vancouver--January 21, 2015) Award-winning character effects company MASTERSFX has been nominated for a 13th Annual Visual Effects Society Award in the category “Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Broadcast Program,” in conjunction with its work on Season Two of the hit Netflix horror/thriller series “Hemlock Grove.”

The MASTERSFX team nominated for the VES Award is comprised of Matt Whelan, Chris Brown, Johnathan Banta, Eric McAvoy, and MASTERSFX Lead Artist and President, Todd Masters.

MASTERSFX pioneered several new approaches for “Hemlock Grove,” to create an amped-up level of FX for the show’s second season. The company created several updated, monstrous classics, including vampires, shape-shifters and mutated humanoids. In addition, the show’s iconic werewolf metamorphosis, conceived and produced by MASTERSFX, was highly acclaimed by critics and fans alike, as setting a new benchmark for transformation effects. The company’s two studios – LA and Vancouver, BC - both have developed pipelines to bring their practical art and digital methodologies together.

Said Todd Masters, “What is noteworthy about our VES Award nomination this year is the mixing of onset Makeup-FX with our in-house digital techniques – in this case, we were able to present a ‘real’ werewolf’s snout emerging out of ‘real’ actor Landon Liboiron. We call this technique dMFX or Digital Makeup FX. This is the first time the Visual Effects Society has recognized this type of work, which has captured our industry’s imagination. We are so honored by our 2015 VES Award nomination.”

Noticing a trend, Masters adds, “With the success of several practical FX heavy projects - ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ and ‘Interstellar’ -filmmakers are renewing the value and the use of physical FX - instead of just CG solutions. Even J. J. Abram’s new ‘Star Wars’ movie touts their use of practical effects – to many a fan’s delight!”

Masters and his team have been offering client filmmakers the choice of integrating practical FX into their projects for nearly 30 years, and have found resurgence in this art form recently. With their combined approach, MASTERSFX is one of only a few companies that have harnessed and perfected the mixing of both practical and digital FX.

“When you have multiple 'mixed-media' solutions available, you can flexibly tailor each project to its own specific needs; for budget, schedule and a realism, that’s right for its particular requirements,” notes MASTERFX’s Visual FX Supervisor Andre Bustanoby. “The old saying: ‘If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’ is not how we work. How we mix and blend practical and digital FX is not dissimilar to music - there was a time when synthesized sound was all-the-rage, but we all got tired of that processed, soulless feeling. Like practical FX is now doing, music evolved back to a more authentic and relatable experience, with real instruments and renewed soul. Much like our organic makeup FX work, digital tools are an instrument that accompanies others and helps us blend the magic - without losing performance or personality. At the end of the day, we will use the best tool for the job at hand.”

Beyond their current work on Season 3 of “Hemlock Grove,” MASTERSFX is also actively creating and producing FX for: Season 2 of NBC’s “The Night Shift,” a series about life in the emergency room at San Antonio Memorial Hospital; “The Expanse” for SyFy, a thriller series set 200 years in the future 
that follows the case of a missing young woman in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history; the CW series “iZombie,” Rob Thomas’ small-screen adaptation of the DC/Vertigo comic book series centering on a young medical student turned zombie who must hide the fact that she’s undead from her friends and family.

In addition, MASTERSFX’s dMFX/Digital Makeup Division is currently working on Season 5 of the hit TNT series “Falling Skies” - MASTERSFX has provided creature FX to that series since its launch. The MASTERSFX dMFX division also recently provided FX work to the comedy film “Dumb & Dumber To,” and to the just completed Sony feature, “Beautiful & Twisted,” starring Rob Lowe and Candice Bergen.


Founded in 1987 by Emmy Award winner Todd Masters, MASTERSFX is a multi- award winning character and special FX house with studios in Vancouver, British

Colombia, and Los Angeles. MASTERSFX's creative teams produce a unique blend of practical and digital makeup and special FX, prosthetics and animatronics, having contributed to hundreds of hit feature films, TV shows, and commercials.

Included among the TV projects to which MASTERSFX has contributed its work are "True Blood,” "Falling Skies," “Hemlock Grove,” "The Leftovers,” “Almost Human,” "Stargate: Atlantis," "Dexter," “Fringe” and "Eureka." Among the company's film credits are “RoboCop,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “The Haunting in Connecticut,” "Star Trek: First Contact," "Tales from the Crypt," "Nightmare on Elm Street 5," "The Horse Whisperer," "Slither," "Snakes on a Plane," "Predator," "Poltergeist II," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Look Who's Talking," "Mortal Kombat," and hundreds more.

Todd Masters is the winner of an Emmy Award in 2003 for the 2001/2002 Season of "Six Feet Under" in the category "Best Special Effects Makeup." MASTERSFX is also the winner of a 2006 "Saturn Award" for "Best MakeUp FX" for its work on the film "Slither." Please see


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