The third BFX Festival, Bournemouth’s VFX, animation and gaming festival was a whirlwind of world-renowned talent featuring the biggest names in the industry inspiring the next generation of animators.
The week began with BFX Pro, a one-day conference aimed at professionals, which featured panellists from Pixar, Walt Disney Animation, Microsoft and more. The future and issues within the VFX industry like trusting The Cloud were discussed and debated by the speakers, audience and delegates.
It’s the first year that global studios like Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios have visited BFX Festival and conveys how much it’s growing, year on year.
The start of BFX Core began with the keynote speaker, Global MD of MPC Mark Benson who emphasised the point that anything is possible, branded as a truly inspiring start to BFX Core by the students.
BU alumni, Dan Bethell flew in from Australia for VFX Company, Iloura. He presented a behind-the-scenes for the movie Mad Max: Fury Road, the audience were captivated by the scope and time-scale of this movie and then enjoyed a screening followed by a Q&A.
Dan said that students from the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), the UK’s leading centre for teaching visual effects, are recognised all over the world: “Students at Bournemouth have a great opportunity, it’s a first-class visual effects training facility. It’s great to be back here and the BFX Festival is fantastic!”
A host of other presentations from studios such as Aardman, Animal Logic, MPC and Industrial Light Magic took place throughout the week, all of who were impressed with the standard of BU talent. The Careers Hub featured studios including Frontier, Framestore, Taylor James and others from across the globe that sought to Bournemouth to recruit the next wave of talent.
A real highlight of the week was Walt Disney Animation’s Head of Effects, Michael Kaschalk, who works in California. He broke down some of the most memorable scenes in the blockbuster, Big Hero 6 and after a screening of the film answered questions from the audience.
Michael said: “I’ve seen a pretty amazing set of talks related to the VFX industry, they’re presented by true professionals which brings this into a first-class event.”
Workshops throughout the Festival allowed attendants to engage hands on with their passion, Eric Shaw, former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants, delivered a master class in writing for animation. Stuart Sumida gave an insight into creating animal movement accurately in visual effects and explaining how the science behind the screen.
The team behind the Festival pulled off a show stopping event, Peter Truckel, Director of the VFX Hub and Co-Director of BFX Festival said: “We’ve covered every topic that is visual effects, animation and games. The events are full, it’s incredible, just amazing and I’m really chuffed.”
Sofronis Efstathiou, Co-Director of BFX Festival said: “This year we have introduced so much more, there’s BFX Pro, we’ve had some of the best people in the world come over and speak to us about VFX. Each day has been themed and it’s longer than ever before. The talent from our student’s is fantastic and the speakers are really proud to be here.
The festival has gone from strength to strength each year; we’ve seen an increase of 30% in delegates and speakers. We’ve started attracting people like Disney, Pixar, ILM and MPC and this is hopefully something we can build on for the future as well.”
A special event was filmmaker and BU alumni, Paul Campion’s Fright Night. ‘The Devil’s Rock – Shooting a low budget horror film in 15 days’ followed by the film itself had the audience gripped with the expertise behind pulling off the production. Paul explained how to write to the budget and how to create blood and gore on set; he then gave an insight into the film industry and how to create and direct your first film.
The final bang of BFX Festival was the Family Weekend, both Saturday and Sunday were full of families who were fully engaged in the events such as film screenings, free workshops and learning to create bespoke animations.
For more information about BFX visit www.bfxfestival.com.