Announcing the My Year Video Contest Full-Tuition Scholarship Winners!

A big congratulations to our 10 full-tuition VFS My Year Video Scholarship Contest winners!

These talented folks will be joining us here at VFS in 2014:

Beatriz Brenes, Writing for Film & Television
Elea Clarac, Makeup Design for Film & Television
Juan Ignacio Osorio Santiago, Digital Design
Paul Dombrovskis, Film Production
Priyanshu Mehran, 3D Animation & Visual Effects
Sandra Gersenowies Jasso, Game Design
Shafakat Reshamvala, Digital Design
Silvia Prieto, Classical Animation
Ultan Courtney, 3D Animation & Visual Effects
Zeeshan Parwez, Film Production

Check out their winning entries!

We were blown away by the creativity and talent we saw over the last few months and are so excited to see what else our winners have in store for us over the coming year!

Thank you to everyone who participated and congratulations again to all our scholarship winners!

More Spookiness Courtesy of VFS Grads

We’re only one day away from Halloween – and today we have three spooky shorts to share with you to keep the festivities going!

Warning – these shorts contain mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised.

Mortyfied – A comedy/horror short from Andrew Riley (Writing for Film & Television).

XI – Unique and haunting imagery from Madelaine Rumball (Foundation Visual Art & Design and Digital Design).

Pedi Nan – A thought-provoking piece on mortality from Sondley Valbrun (Classical Animation).

Great work, guys!

Get Your Exclusive All Access Pass to the VFS Open House Weekend!

This November, join us for the VFS Open House Weekend and experience what it’s like to be a student at VFS! Go behind the scenes and learn everything you need to know about kick-starting your entertainment career.

For two full days, we’ll be opening up our campuses in Downtown Vancouver and sharing what makes VFS so special and how YOU can be a part of it.

Don’t miss this opportunity to:

  • Meet alumni, current students, faculty, and staff
  • View student work
  • Watch live demonstrations
  • Explore our campuses
  • Learn how you can get the career you’ve always wanted

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Makeup Design for Film & Television
Foundation Visual Art & Design
Film Production
Animation & Visual Effects

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Writing for Film & Television
Digital Design
Sound Design for Visual Media
Acting for Film & Television
Game Design

For more information on the VFS Open House Weekend and to register, visit us online or call 1.800.661.4101.

VFS Grads Keep it Nerdy: A Visit From Nerd Corps Entertainment

Three principle artists from Nerd Corps Entertainment, one of the leading animation studios on the West Coast, paid some lucky Classical Animation, Digital Character Animation, and 3D Animation & Visual Effects students a visit last week. It just so happened that all three principle artists were also VFS grads—Blair Simmons, Andy Poon, and Chad Greenway. They spoke about the animation industry, fielded questions, and shared their thoughts on artistic talent, finding inspiration, and good old-fashioned work ethic. 

Chris Gayton, a current 3D Animation & Visual Effects student, attended the presentation and shares his experience with us. 

 Guest post by Chris Gayton

This past Wednesday, VFS was lucky enough to get a visit from three former grads now working at Nerd Corps Entertainment, the Vancouver-based animation studio that has become one of the largest in North America.

Blair Simmons, a series Animation Director; Andy Poon, Art Director; and Chad Greenway, Creative Director of Interactive, stopped by for the afternoon to speak to current student about what it was like to work for the rapidly-expanding studio. In 2014, Nerd Corps will launch its first original preschool series, Kate and Mim-Mim, to complement its roster of other original content, including the heavy hitters Storm Hawks, League of Super Evil, Slugterra, Rated A for Awesome, and Endangered Species.

The three spoke about the lessons they learned on the way to their current positions, and the importance of artists investing personally in their work. They highlighted the value of appreciating and absorbing every part of the journey, and encouraged our group of artists to push themselves, fail, and achieve greater success because of the experience.

Above all, they reinforced the need for talent to be paired with good, old-fashioned hard work – something VFS knows about!

Great advice from a group of VFS grads who are turning their experience into amazing results.

Big thanks to the three talented artists, and to Anne Denman, Nerd Corps Director of HR & Recruitment, for helping to set up this great visit!

And thanks to you Chris for sharing your experience with us!

Today’s Forecast Calls for Rain with a Chance of Meatballs

Animated family comedy Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, hits theatres today! The story picks up where the 2009 original film left off, with the residents of Swallow Falls dealing with the aftermath of the big foodstorm.

The film features the work of over half a dozen grads from programs like 3D Animation & Visual Effects, Classical Animation, Digital Character Animation, and Film Production, including:

Anna Cardillo, CG Animator
Michael Dharney, Senior Animator
Dhruv Govil, Character Pipeline
Justin Hammond
, Senior Lighting and Compositing
John Iskanda
r, Lighting and Compositing Technical Director
Kristjan Lyngmo, Animation Intern
David Wesch, Animator
Phan Wiantrakoon, Animator

Great work, guys!

Third Time’s the Charm for Riddick

Riddick, the third installment in The Chronicles of Riddick film series, is in theatres today. Once again starring Vin Diesel as the title character, the sci-fi action flick finds Riddick left for dead and up against an alien race of predators.

Nearly a dozen VFS grads from 3D Animation & Visual Effects, Classical Animation, and Digital Character Animation worked behind the scenes, including:

Alan Gredtem, Rigger
Alok Gandhi
, Lead Technical Director
Casey Rolseth, Visual Effects Artist
David Yabu, Animation Lead
Frank Akrong, Digital Compositor
Ian Blough, Effects Artist
Jose A. Yapor, Effects Artist
Kaelen Cohen, Digital Compositor
Kornel Farkas, Digital Compositor
Lisa Nolan, Visual Effects Artist
Thiago Lima Martins, Animator

New World-Class Animation Campus Opens to Wild Applause

Equal parts excitement and inspiration: that was the feeling in the air on Monday as students opened the doors for the first time to the new Vancouver Film School Animation & Visual Effects campus at 151 West Cordova Street in Vancouver. All three programs in the Animation & Visual Effects department—Classical Animation, Digital Character Animation, and 3D Animation & Visual Effectswill be housed in the new 42,000 square-foot facility.

The new campus, situated on the former site of the tourist attraction Storyeum, underwent $4.5 million in renovations to transform the space into one of the premier animation schools in the world. In addition to a completely redesigned building, the campus also boasts a new fiber network, Qube! (the leading render farm management system), and a 1,600 square-foot, 280-degree green screen studio. It should also be mentioned that students are also excited about the student showers, secure bike area, and expanded lounge complete with foosball tables.

It makes sense then that the hallways were full of buzzing voices, pointing fingers, and Instagramming phones as 3D Animation & Visual Effects students filed into a 72-seat surround sound theatre for a welcome speech from Marty Hasselbach, Managing Director of VFS.  Students chatted excitedly about the campus and its new features as they took their seats. Daniel Beaulieu, a student from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, described how he was excited that the new location of the campus was “closer to the action,” making attending networking events and the “Draw by Night” drawing party at the VFS Cafe that much easier.

Daniel also talked about how the new professional studios had changed his work habits, noting that the dimmable LED lighting was a huge draw. Negin Paydarfar, another student, echoed this sentiment as she reflected on how the new campus feels like more than just a school, that the space is more akin to an industry setting, that being in the classroom is “more like a work experience.”

Both students also took the time to mention how the movie posters that line the campus walls, which feature the names of VFS alumni who worked on the films, were a huge inspiration. Overall, graduates of the Animation & Visual Effects programs have worked on the 17 highest-grossing films of all time.

As Marty began to speak at the welcome assembly, he also brought the focus back to the students and what they can accomplish: “We’re extremely proud of this campus,” said Marty, “not only as a facility to showcase to industry leaders, but also as a platform to showcase our students and their talented work. ” He went on to mention that together with staff, students, and alumni, the new campus will be a focal point in the world of animation. 

Are you alumni, media, or a prospective student curious about the new campus? You can book an appointment for campus tours by contacting VFS at 604-685-5808 or 1-800-661-4101. (Please note that walk-ins cannot be accommodated.)

Best of luck to everyone as they continue their week at the new campus—and save us a game at the foosball table!

You’re a 90-Second Video Away from $3 Million in Scholarships!

Inspire us and we’ll inspire you.

VFS is excited to announce the launch of the My Year Video Scholarship Contest! Create a 90-second video based on a line from the VFS Manifesto and qualify for full and partial scholarships, valid for any of our 13 programs.

What you need to do:

  • Register for the competition at My Year Video Scholarship Contest.
  • Create a 90 second video based on one line from the VFS Manifesto that inspires you.
  • Upload your video to YouTube.
  • Once your entry is approved, share your video with friends and family to increase your chances of winning.

What you can qualify for:

  • 10 Full-Tuition Scholarships
  • 1 Full-Tuition Social Sharing Scholarship
  • Up to 50 Partial-Tuition Scholarships
  • 3 Full-Tuition Early Bird Scholarships
  • Up to $500,000 Partial-Tuition Early Bird Scholarships

Early Bird deadline is September 15, 2013.

Final deadline to apply is October 15, 2013.

The sooner you submit your video, the higher your chances of being awarded a scholarship through the Early Bird and Social Sharing voting.


Do you know someone who would benefit from this incredible opportunity? Spread the word!

Questions? Check out our FAQ page.

The Quest Continues With Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Over 35 VFS grads from 3D Animation & Visual Effects, Classical Animation, Digital Character Animation, Foundation Visual Art & Design, Film Production, and Makeup Design for Film & Television worked their magic on the recently released Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.

Our grads worked on various areas of the film, with credits ranging from Special Effects Makeup Technician and Production Assistant to Digital Compositor and Visual Effects Artist.

The fantasy-adventure film is a sequel to 2010′s Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightening Thief and tells the story of a group of friends on a quest to protect their home.

Great work, everyone!

Elysium and the VFS Connection

Elysium, the highly anticipated new film written and directed by VFS grad Neill Blomkamp, is in theatres tomorrow. This is Neill’s follow-up to the incredible success of the Oscar-nominated District 9, a film he directed and co-wrote. Not only does Elysium look amazing, but it features the work of an astounding 76 VFS graduates from seven different programs!

About Elysium

“In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined planet. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the crime and poverty that is now rampant throughout the land. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission – one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces – but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well.”

Neill Blomkamp

Neill graduated from the 3D Animation & Visual Effects program in 1998. A native of South Africa, he moved with his family to Canada at 17 and, soon after, enrolled at VFS. Since then, he’s become one of the industry’s hottest young filmmakers from the success of District 9. Neill shared his thoughts with us in 2009 after its release.

VFS Grads

The 76 grads who worked on Elysium:

  • were students at VFS as early as 1992 and as recently as 2012.
  • hail from over a dozen countries around the world, including Canada, USA, Mexico, Austria, Finland, Dominican Republic, Singapore, Brazil, Italy, Serbia, Pakistan, South Korea, India, Japan, and South Africa.
  • hold credits that include Director, Writer, Visual Effects Producer, First Assistant Director, Special Effects Makeup Technician, Animator, Senior Lighting Artist, Compositor, and Digital Modeler.
  • work for companies like Image Engine, Method Studios, The Embassy, MPC, and MastersFX.


Elysium Official Trailer

An Interview with Neill Blomkamp

An Interview with Matt Damon

The World of Elysium – Official Featurette

The Tech of Elysium – Official Featurette

What the Critics are Saying

“Blomkamp again proves to be a superb storyteller.” Scott Foundas, Variety

“A brainy sci-fi effort that doesn’t skimp on its blockbuster requirements, and delivers one of the most satisfying films of the summer.” Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

In the News

  • The Province – Neill Blomkamp Talks Elysium, Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and What’s Wrong with Hollywood
  • WiredElysium’s Director Thinks His Hellish Paradise Is Our Future. Let’s Hope He’s Wrong
  • The Wall Street Journal – What Inspired Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium
  • Entertainment Weekly – Journey to Elysium: How Matt Damon and the Director of District 9 Turned a Timely Thriller About Haves and Have-Nots into a Gripping Sci-Fi Thriller
  • Entertainment WeeklyElysium Inspired by Director Neill Blomkamp’s Arrest in Mexico
  • Entertainment Weekly - Elysium First Look! 6 Supersized EW Exclusive Photos
  • A.V. Club – Read This: Neil Blomkamp Talks Elysium, Future Films, and Michael Bay Fandom
  • Ottawa CitizenElysium Director Neill Blomkamp Chooses to Orbit Outside of Hollywood

Learn More about Elysium

Speak with a VFS Advisor

Want to learn more about the intense VFS student experience? Connect with a VFS Advisor to discover how to make 2014 your year to launch a rewarding career in the entertainment industry.

Alumni Credits

3D Animation & Visual Effects

Adam Marisett, Animator
Alec Geldart
, Rotoscope Artist
Andy Martinez Calzadilla, Texture Artist
Barry Poon, CG Asset Supervisor
Bernhard Kimbacher, Lead Compositor
Biren Venkatraman, Senior Lighting Artist
Brendon Morfitt, Modeler
Brian Burritt, Lighting Artist
Casey Rolseth, Visual Effects Artist
Christopher Bott, Assistant TD
Claudio Jimenez Palomar, Visual Effects Data Coordinator
Cynthia Rodriguez, Rotoscope Artist
Dan Mayer, CG Supervisor
David Skorepa, Texture Artist
Denny Bigras, Animator
Derek Stevenson, Matchmove Artist
Donald Altamirano, Matchmove Artist
Eric Zhang, Texture Artist
Freddy Chavez Olmos, Compositor
Hugo Brunet, Matchmove Artist
Ian Heathcock, Rotoscope Artist
James Roberts, Lighting Artist
Jami Gigot, Texture Artist
Jani Viitanen, Technical Assistant
Jeff Tetzlaff, Modeler
Jessica Wan, Compositor
Jesus L. Yapor, Compositor (also a Foundation Visual Art & Design grad)
Jose Yapor, Visual Effects Artist
Kiran Menon, Rotoscope Artist
Kyle Botha, Lighting Artist
Lisa Nolan, Visual Effects Artist
Luis Fernando Centurion Figueroa, Roto/Paint Artist
Luke Spence Byrd, Matchmove Artist
Marc Roth, FX Animator
Marcela A. Silva, Roto/Paint Artist
Marco Leone, Roto/Paint Artist
Mei Chu, Roto/Paint Artist
Mike Rhone, FX Animator
Muhammad Marri, Texture Artist
Neill Blomkamp, Director/Writer
Nicholas Smolyn, Layout Artist
Patricia Binga, Animator
Patrick Nanton, Lighting Artist
Paul Copeland, Modeling Lead
Peter Rabel, Rigging Artist
Rakesh Sandhu, Texture Artist
Rhea Darch, Matchmove Artist
Riley Liao, Senior Roto Artist (also a Foundation Visual Art & Design grad)
Robert Bourgeault, Lighting Lead
Ryan Lim, Lead Modeler/ Concept Artist
Sandra Balej, Compositor
Sara Cameron, Motion Capture Systems Operator
Sean Lewkiw, CG Artist
Shawn Walsh, Visual Effects Producer
Shivas Thilak Anthikkat, Roto/Paint Artist (also a Classical Animation grad)
Sirak Ghebremusse, Roto Artist
Stephanie Pocklington, Digital Modeler
Thiago Teles Trilux, Roto Artist
Yuta Shimizu, Look Dev

Digital Character Animation

Peta Milacic, Motion Capture Pipeline Engineer

Acting Essentials

Christopher Vivanco, Actor

Film Production

Alana Comeau, Office Production Assistant
Cabral Rock, Visual Effects Associate Producer
Cara E. Anderson, Special Effects Buyer
Dean Barker, Property Master
Gary Hawes, 2nd Second Assistant Director
James Bitonti, First Assistant Director
Marisa Velez, Camera 2nd Assistant
Michael Love, Second Unit Assistant Camera
Neil Impey, Visual Effects Data Coordinator
Shauna Bryan, Visual Effects Executive Producer
Warren Mazutinec, Second Assistant Editor

Foundation Visual Art & Design

Thomas Nugent, Compositor

Makeup Design for Film & Television

Andrea Dulmage, Special Effects Makeup Technician

Digital Design (formerly New Media)

Annabelle Kent, Compositor
Michael Stewart, Compositor