Bournemouth University graduate and Oscar-winner Mark Ardington was back in Bournemouth to share his experiences of working on Ex Machina.
Visual effects artist Mark, who completed a BA in Computer Animation & Visualisation at BU in 1997, was visual effects supervisor on the film, which won the 2016 Oscar for visual effects.
Mark spoke about his work on Ex Machina and the challenges faced by the team, as part of the BFX Festival which is currently taking place at Bournemouth International Centre and promotes the visual effects and animation industry.
“I hope that people enjoy it and it shows them a little bit of the behind the scenes about the process,” Mark said.
“We didn’t do anything particularly clever – we just did a lot of simple things very well and it was the creative choices that were the important part in my opinion.”
Mark was one of four visual effects supervisors from the film who attended the Academy Awards to collect the Oscar, and brought his statuette with him to the BFX Festival.
“The four of us that went up on stage were the lucky ones that steered the project but there were a hundred people who worked on it and it’s their work that was rewarded up on that stage and so they should all feel so, so proud,” said Mark.
“We didn’t expect to win – we thought just being nominated was absolutely incredible, for such a small independent movie with the sort of budget that we had.”
The film was Mark’s first project with visual effects company Double Negative, where he works as a Creature Technical Director.
He has previously worked at Aardman and Cinesite, among others, on projects including TV shows and commercials – and believes his degree from BU set him up for success in the industry.
He said: “When I started the BA course in 1994, it was the only degree course in Computer Animation at the time.
“So it has a long history and a solid foundation – the students that they produce just go into the industry so easily because they seem to be very well prepared and industry-ready.
“What Bournemouth teaches you is that you use the tools that are there and you use your artistry, but when something doesn’t work, they teach you problem-solving skills to be able to find another way around the problem.
“I didn’t know it at the time but that was the underlying thing that they taught me and it’s been absolutely wonderful for my career.”
Mark also took part in a Q&A following a screening of Ex Machina at the BFX Festival, which runs throughout the week with a range of industry speakers and family-friendly activities.
“It’s really nice to be back in Bournemouth,” he said.
“It’s really good and it’s nice to come along to a festival like this and to be able to talk and inspire other people who are perhaps on the same journey.”
To find out more about the BFX Festival visit www.bfxfestival.com