World-famous innovators recently came to BFX Festival at Bournemouth International Centre to inspire the next generation of animators and have roundly praised the event for the world-class talent it represents.
Now in its third year, it’s the first BFX Festival to win the support of global studios like Pixar, Iloura and Walt Disney Animation Studios and is testimony to the show’s significance in the VFX, animation and gaming industry.
The week began with the BFX Pro one-day conference, with panellists from Pixar, Walt Disney Animation, Microsoft, and more, inviting speakers and delegates to explore how issues such as the Cloud could impact the industry.
Bournemouth University alumni Dan Bethell flew in from Australia for Iloura, with a behind-the-scenes view of Mad Max: Fury Road, followed by a screening and Q&A session. He 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!”
There were more presentations from Aardman, Animal Logic, MPC and Industrial Light Magic studios, and a Careers Hub featuring Frontier, Framestore, Taylor James and others on the look-out for the next wave of talent.
Walt Disney Animation’s Head of Effects, Michael Kaschalk was over from California to explain how the stunning and captivating animated characters and sequences of Big Hero 6 were constructed and brought to life. “I’ve seen a pretty amazing set of talks related to the VFX industry, they’re presented by true professionals which makes this a first-class event,” he says.
He also told the Bournemouth Echo,”We’re impressed with what Bournemouth has – the level of both technical and creative artistry that’s been coming out of this school is definitely impressive. We’re always looking for new people and people that come with fresh ideas and are open to new technology and new ways of thinking and new ways of collaborating with different people.”
Workshops ran throughout the week, giving visitors the chance to get hands on and create their own VFX style. Eric Shaw, former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants, gave a masterclass in writing for animation, and anatomy expert Stuart Sumida, consultant for the likes of Disney, Dreamworks, Sony Imageworks and Pixar, explained techniques for creating natural movement and responses in animated characters.
The grand finale was the free Family Weekend with film screenings, workshops and lessons in creating bespoke animations. Saturday night was Fright Night with filmmaker and BU alumni, Paul Campion, using The Devil’s Rock as an example of how to shoot a low budget horror film in 15 days. Paul explained how to write to a budget, create blood and gore on set, and create and direct a first film.
Peter Truckel, Director of the VFX Hub and Co-Director of BFX Festival says: “We’ve covered every topic that there is in visual effects, animation and games. The events are full, it’s incredible, just amazing and I’m really chuffed.”
“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,” adds Sofronis Efstathiou, Director of BFX Festival.
“The talent of our students is fantastic and the speakers are really proud to be here.
“We’ve seen an increase of 30% in delegates and speakers and started attracting people like Disney, Pixar, ILM and MPC, giving us more to build on for the future,” says Sofronis Efstathiou.
 Bournemouth Echo, 2 October 2015