RoboCop Reboots

RoboCop, a remake of the 1987 action thriller and a reboot of the original series, is in theatres today. Set in 2028, the film starts Joel Kinnaman as the title character.

Grads from 3D Animation & Visual Effects, Film Production, and Sound Design for Visual Media worked on the film, including:

Hugo Brunet Gauvreau, Lead Paint & Roto
Craig Calvert, CG Supervisor/Previs Lead
Elena Topouzoglou, Compositor
Jason Chan, Production Assistant
Alexandra Jastrzembska, Art Department Assistant
Bernardo Six Costa, Sound Utility

Great work, all!

 

Frankenstein Lives On

In theatres today is I, Frankenstein, a new fantasy action film that features Frankenstein’s famous monster involved in a war between gargoyles and demons.

Grads from 3D Animation & Visual Effects, Digital Character Animation, and Foundation Visual Art & Design were involved in creating some of the incredible images you see on screen, including:

Elena Topouzoglou, Compositor
Jonathan Wai, Stereo Compositor
Fran Martínez Expósito, Lighting Artist
Kevin Wang, Compositor
Priya Ayengar, Stereoscopic Paint Artist

Nice work!

 

Film Production Grad Finds Motivation in Murder

As staff writer on the CTV series MotiveFilm Production grad Thomas Pound spends his days thinking about all the ways you could kill someone. Not surprising for a guy who started writing Quentin Tarantino-inspired screenplays as a young teen. We spoke with Thomas about pursuing a life in the entertainment industry, his year at VFS, and writing for a hit TV series.

Did you always know you wanted to work in the entertainment industry?

Thomas: I was fortunate to realize I wanted to work in entertainment at a young age. I was writing since the age of fourteen, starting with one act plays and horrible screenplays which were poor imitations of a Quentin Tarantino script. I wasn’t sure how I would get there, but I knew I wanted to work in film – the pursuit of television came later.

What were you doing before coming to VFS?

Thomas: Before coming to VFS, I was in high school. While other friends were pursuing an education in medicine, law, or anything else sensible, I leaped at the chance to study filmmaking. Coming straight out of high school, I still had enough youthful innocence to not worry about what life would be like after VFS. In retrospect, I think I would have cowered at the uncertainty following, had I decided to study film older in my life. But, that’s just me.

Tell us about your experience in the Film Production program.

Thomas: The Film Production program gave me the hands on experience and insight into every facet of making a movie. It’s obviously on a micro scale compared to feature films or even television sets, but the principals and roles are the same. A set works like a rube Goldberg machine, every piece essential for the whole to work. The Film Production program gave me the chance to try every role on set. The challenges obviously came with the positions I wasn’t as skilled in. The greatest highlight I took away were the relationships I made. I remain close with many of the friends I made in the program, and we have all helped each other create our own films, scripts, and projects. That’s what it’s all about.

You are now a writer on the CTV series Motive – how did you get involved in screenwriting?

Thomas: I have been writing since I was a teenager. Even when my professional pursuit more geared towards producing or directing, I always wrote. I reached a crossroads where my writing was getting more attention than my producing or directing and I had discovered a passion in television. In Canada, I found all the major opportunities to write for TV were in Toronto. So, I took a leap of faith, packed up my truck and moved from Vancouver to Toronto. Then it was two and a half years of writing, building my material, showing it to anyone who would read it, and networking with everyone working in TV. If you politely bang on enough doors, you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to give you ten minutes. All of those ten minutes built the opportunities which led to Motive.

Tell us about your role on the show and a typical work day.

Thomas: As one of the staff writers on Motive, our typical day is spent pontificating all the different ways we could murder someone. As our show is grounded in average people pushed to the point of killing, we spend a great deal of our time turning over the elements which bring out the worst in people and how it may cause someone to snap. If we are not plotting a murder, we may be breaking an episode together. We break down the episode into specific beats, laying out an detailed map of how the story will be told. Because our show is simultaneously telling three different stories including flashbacks, the storytelling can get complex and confusing. We wade through the confusion so what the audience gets is a complex and entertaining murder mystery.

Any advice for those who want to break into the world of writing for television?

Thomas: The biggest advice for breaking into writing for television is to start writing today. You can network with the top television executive, but you’re going to need material to show what you can do. Watch all the television you can get your hands on. New series, old series, foreign series, even series you wouldn’t normally watch. Absorb it all and see what it inspires in you. People want to work with creators, leap into a world from your imagination and put it on paper. The difference maker between getting your opportunity to write for television or not is perseverance. You’re going to be told “no” more often than you’ll be told “yes”. Persevere. If you do, a “yes” will come, and it’ll make every “no” worthwhile.

Thanks for speaking with us, Thomas!

Read more about the writing team behind Motive, which also includes VFS Writing for Film & Television grad Julie Puckrin. Over half a dozen VFS grads from Film Production, Writing for Film & Television, and Foundation Visual Art & Design work behind the scenes on the Vancouver-filmed series, including Executive Producer Erin Haskett and Producer John G. Lenic.

Season two is filming now and is set to air later this year in both Canada and the US.

Lone Survivor in Theatres Today

One of the first new films of the year is Lone Survivor, an action-drama starring Mark Wahlberg. Lone Survivor tells the story of a real-life 2005 Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan and is based on Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10, a memoir written by former United States Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell.

In theatres today, the film features the work of grads from 3D Animation & Visual Effects, Film Production, and Foundation Visual Art & Design, including:

Muhammad Marri, Texture Artist
Freddy Chavez Olmos, Senior Visual Effects Compositor
Jani Viitanen, Technical Assistant
Derek Stevenson, Senior Matchmover
Luke Spence Byrd, Matchmover
Chung-Ping Chao, Compositor
Corey Coates, Compositor

Great work, all!

Chad Costen Foundation Visual Art & Design Scholarship – Call for Entries

We are excited to announce a new scholarship opportunity for incoming students! VFS is currently accepting applications for the 2014 Chad Costen Foundation Visual Art & Design Scholarship – a $2,500 award that will be offered to a new student in the Foundation Visual Art & Design program.

The scholarship is named in honour of Chad Costen, an instructor with the Foundation department. Chad’s talents vary from costume design and creature effects to puppetry and art production, but his true interest lies in visual storytelling. The desire to share thoughtful work with the world and combine his other interests into a single career has led him to pursue a life of independent filmmaking. Chad is also a graduate of the VFS Film Production program

The scholarship is open to all incoming students registered in the Foundation Visual Art & Design program, beginning January 8, March 3, May 5, or June 30, 2014, provided they have not previously taken any professional program at Vancouver Film School, have an undergraduate or graduate degree, and can provide a reference letter.

The deadline to apply to the Chad Costen Foundation Visual Art & Design Scholarship is 16:30 PST December 2, 2013. Download the application form or speak with an advisor to learn more.

Ender’s Game in Theatres Today

The highly anticipated sci-fi action/adventure film, Ender’s Game, is in theatres today! With the human race threatened by an alien attack, brilliant young Ender Wiggin is recruited by the Interntional Military to lead the battle that will determine the future of Earth and the survival of the human race.

The film features the work of nearly two dozen grads from 3D Animation & Visual Effects, Classical Animation, Film Production, Foundation Visual Art & Design, and Writing for Film & Television, including:

Abdullah Ecirli, Lead Compositor
Adam Tate
, Visual Effects Production Assistant
Alex Gabriel
, Effects Artist
Ali Aboud Al Ghifari
, Digital Compositing Lead
Anna Tonrungroj
, Digital Compositor
Chelsea Whittet
, Effects Artist
Daniel Lorenzo Alvarez
, Rigger
Eric Zhang
, Texture Artist
Inki Jo
, Lighting Artist
Jody Wilson
, Associate Production Manager
Jorge Gonzalez de Cossio, Modeler
Kenji Kosugi
, Junior Effects Artist
Marc Roth, Senior Visual Effects Artist
Nathan Budarick, Rigger
Oliver Seemann
, Matt Painter
Ricardo Bonisoli

Samson Wong, Lighting
Stephanie Warner, Layout Coordinator
Wanda Kwok, Roto/Paint Artist

Check out the trailer:

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!

VFS Instructors and Alumni Team Up and Strip Down

A group of VFS instructors and alumni have teamed up for the ABCs of Death Search for the 26th Director Competition! “M” is for Messiah was created by Borrowtime Films, an independent production company formed by VFS grads (and current VFS instructors) Bob Woolsey (Writing for Film & Television) and Darren Borrowman (Film Production).

“This is the kind of thing you can only do as an alumni project,” says Nicholas Humphries, who directed much of the film while also playing a naked cult member. “Luckily, I knew we had access to all the right people from my time at VFS as an instructor.”

Other grads on the project include Lindsey Mann (Entertainment Business Management), Sarah Elizabeth (Makeup Design for Film & Television), Jesse Hill (Sound Design for Visual Media), Amanda Roop (Foundation Visual Art & Design and 3D Animation & Visual Effects), Victor Matanawi (Foundation Visual Art & Design & Film Production), Mark Hogan (Film Production), and Michelle Ferguson, Romuald Hivert, and Mayumi Yoshida (all from Acting for Film & Television).

In total, that’s 11 VFS grads from eight programs!

“M” is for Messiah is currently in sixth place based on audience votes. If the film maintains a top six placing through the end of voting on November 14, it could be included in the final anthology feature film, The ABCs of Death 2, and receive international distribution courtesy of Magnet Releasing. M is for Messiah was shot overnight on location in Chilliwack, BC and is currently the only submission in the competition from Vancouver.

We warn you, the film is for mature audiences only – complete with cult sacrifice, mass suicide, and full frontal nudity. You can watch and vote for the film here.

Best of luck, guys!

Update: January 8, 2014M Is For Messiah has been announced as one of the shorts being showcased in the ABCs of Death 1.5 lineup, a spin-off of the competition that features the producers’ favourite submissions. Read more on Fangoria and Bloody Disgusting. Great work, everyone!