To the VIEW conference Director Dr. Maria Elena Gutierrez, the reality of the online migration from VIEW 2020 was particularly difficult as for her the meeting itself brought together industry giants to not only present but also spend time with attendees and speakers – many of whom were great just for these interactions Distances are covered – is a unique and integral part of what makes the event so special. It's branded exactly into the brand. But when she was confronted with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, her dismay and pause were short-lived as she moved forward quickly and decisively without fear, using her limitless energy to create her largest and most comprehensive program of all Build times. Then put it online.
The digital media and entertainment industry has been hard hit by the pandemic, with some segments such as the motion picture business and the down-ticket feature film business VFX being particularly hard hit. But Dr. Gutierrez accepted the challenge of building a VIEW virtual conference with her usual limitless determination, dare I say optimism. Speaking to her earlier this year, she humbly shared her amazement at the overwhelming support she had received from people she asked to participate. Didn't surprise me in the least.
Every year the VIEW conference celebrates the remarkable achievements of a dizzying number of extraordinary people. In this turbulent year, this array is especially dizzying … and inspiring. Dr. Gutierrez told AWN, “Earlier this year, when the reality of the pandemic became clear, I wondered how we could possibly compose a conference for 2020 that would bring the same value and sense of excitement as in previous years. When we turned to our extensive VIEW family, however, the response was overwhelmingly positive. I am very proud that we have put together a program that goes beyond anything I could have imagined. "
"It's been a year of so much bad news," she continues, "and it was exciting to share some great news for a change as we just made the unprecedented decision to make this year's conference completely free!" This is a fantastic opportunity for us to expand the VIEW community and welcome people who cannot travel to Turin or buy a pass. VIEW 2020 will be innovative, insightful, inspiring and free for everyone. I couldn't be more excited! "
With free conference registration, VIEW 2020 gives online attendees access to every meeting. Anyone can participate anywhere. This unprecedented access to the conference program's exceptional talent depth is a big deal.
In addition, this year's program was created with an even greater view of artistic and cultural diversity. Dr. Gutierrez: “I am particularly proud of the variety of topics and speakers that we have put together this year. 43 of our speakers are women, including studio heads, animation directors, producers, VFX artists and game developers. I am also extremely pleased with the number of relevant discussions and panels planned, focusing on manufacturing challenges and strategies during the Covid-19 pandemic. "
VIEW conversations are usually great not just because of the speaker's expertise. That's because of the apparent joy that permeates their presentations, the ease with which they share cool insider tidbits or funky things that have happened on major productions. For an hour or two, they open a window into what they love about what they do and invite us to relax and enjoy the view. It is an opportunity to learn about what they have dedicated in their life or get poetic for an equally passionate audience.
Most of all, the VIEW conference helps humanize what for many artists is a level of creative excellence that they want to achieve in companies and on projects that fuel their career goals. This is the stuff of their dreams, the reason they work so hard day in and day out, knowing that most likely they will never achieve this level of creative success. However, when they learn from an Oscar winner or VFX supervisor that it is feasible that they too started at the bottom of the food chain, it is of tremendous importance. You were just like me once.
It is easy to miss, but quite right to emphasize, that animation and VFX are inherently mentor-based industries where talent, regardless of education or professional background, creates talent, and anyone … literally everyone who works on it, that talent to develop and improve, and can skillfully demonstrate it has a chance for success. VIEW is more than just a repository for a multitude of presentations on many of the major media projects that audiences have drawn over the past year. It is a conference based on the exchange of ideas, perspectives, knowledge and above all energy. Animation is tough, often boring, and demanding in all its forms. Sharing the joy of browsing projects brings with it a great sense of community, which is crucial today when virtually everyone works and lives in bunkers.
This year's VIEW 2020 lineup is far too extensive to cover properly here. However, we will provide some highlights. Pixar co-founder, former president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios and computer graphics visionary Ed Catmull will give a keynote speech, as will nine-time Oscar winner Dennis Muren, creative director at Industrial Light & Magic; and Phil Tippett, director, producer, visual effects supervisor, founder of Tippett Studio and winner of two Academy Awards. Anyone who's seen Tippett's brilliant acceptance speech for the Winsor McCay Award 2014 at the ASIFA Hollywood Annies knows that his speech alone is worth the price of admission. Which is free now.
Another Pixar co-founder, Alvy Ray Smith, a visionary of computer graphics, speaks as does PDI co-founders Carl Rosendahl, Richard Chuang, and Glenn Entis. Sharon Calahan, the great Pixar DP on Onward, and Kendal Cronkhite, the equally great production designer on DreamWorks Animation's Trolls and Trolls World Tour, present themselves. Hal Hickel will speak about all animation on The Mandalorian. And VFX Supervisor Andrew Jackson will close the conference with a presentation on the visual effects of Christopher Nolan's latest stunning image Tenet.
More than 30 studio heads and chief creative officers take part. Mireille Soria, President of Paramount Animation, joins a Women in the Animation Industry panel with Osnat Shurer of Disney, producer of Raya and The Last Dragon and Moana, and Maureen Fan, co-founder and CEO of Baobab Studios. A panel on diversity and inclusion in animation features Ramsey Naito, President of Nickelodeon Animation, who will also host a special Nickelodeon session showcasing the work of Miguel Puga (The Casagrandes) and Niki Lopez (Santiago of the Seas) .
Meanwhile, Rob Bredow, head of ILM, ponders no less than the future of entertainment itself. And if you don't hear Mr. Bredow talk lovingly and tenderly about the latest virtual production technology, you'll be delighted.
VIEW 2020 also brings together 30 animation, short, and cartoon series directors including Kris Pearn (The Willoughbys), Sergio Pablos (Klaus), Kyle Balda (Minions) and Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-). Vers), Walt Dohrn (Trolls World Tour), Joel Crawford (The Croods), Conrad Vernon (The Addams Family), Eric Darnell (Madagascar) and Jeff Rowe (Nickelodeon's upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). In a special panel, directors Jorge R. Gutierrez (The Book of Life), Tony Bancroft (Animal Crackers) and Cartoon Saloon co-founder Tomm Moore (Wolfwalkers co-director with Ross Stewart) will discuss the future of cinema.
Take some time to your schedule, register, and join the family.
The international VIEW conference, Italy's first event for computer graphics, interactive and immersive media, animation, visual effects, games, real-time rendering, virtual production, AI, VR, AR and mixed reality, brings top professionals from these fields to the world beautiful baroque city of Turin, Italy for a week with lectures, presentations and workshops.
The 2020 VIEW Conference will take place virtually in Turin's state-of-the-art OGR venue from October 18-23. The VIEW 2020 conference is made possible thanks to the support of the Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, the CRT Fondazione, the Piemonte region, Città di Torino and the OGR.
Registration is now open. Additional information can be found at the event website.
Dan Sarto is the Editor and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.