Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) held a ceremony today marking the official opening of ILM London’s new building located in Central London and recognizing the new research and development initiatives the company will be undertaking in the London office. Participants at the ceremony included Chancellor George Osborne; The Hon Edward Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy; Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy; ILM President and General Manager, Lynwen Brennan; ILM Chief Creative Officer John Knoll and ILM London’s Director of Operations, Sue Lyster, Creative Director, Ben Morris and Animation Director Michael Eames.
The London studio is currently working on the highly anticipated sequels Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: Episode VII and will also service the U.K. market directly. The studio’s most recent addition is renowned Art Director and Concept Artist, Kevin Jenkins.
“London’s fantastic visual effects industry and rich talent pool made it an ideal location to expand our global footprint,” said Brennan. “Our clients have come to rely on us being able to provide not only top tier talent, but flexibility in determining how and where their effects work will be done. We’ve assembled a terrific leadership team in Ben, Mike and Sue and we are excited about the opportunities to not only grow the services we offer to our clientele but to develop exciting new technologies that we believe will be game changers in the realm of computer graphics for entertainment.”
Chancellor George Osborne said, “We set out with our long term economic plan to make the UK the best place in the world for the creative industries. So it is fantastic news that Industrial Light & Magic, one of the top global visual effects companies, is moving to London. This follows the announcement that the new Star Wars film, which they are also involved with, will be shot here. It shows that the decisions we have taken in government to make our tax reliefs more competitive and invest in skills and innovation are paying off.”
The CEO of the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, said “With consumers increasingly accessing digital content across a range of devices and platforms, our £15m competition for R&D funding, in which ILM participated is designed to sponsor innovation across platforms, including film and television, online video, animation and video games. Our funding will help UK companies to develop new market opportunities and win a greater share of this lucrative global market.”
Commenting on the opening Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company for London, said: "London is leading the world in terms of visual effects, with innovative companies generating ground-breaking work that is wowing audiences across the globe. The move by ILM - perhaps the most famous and important name in the sector - to come to London shows that what is happening here is truly exceptional, and will result in even more filmmakers looking to London to help produce the blockbusters of tomorrow."
Academy Award™ and BAFTA Award winner Ben Morris joins ILM from London-based Framestore where he served as a visual effects supervisor on such projects as War Horse, Lincoln, Golden Compass and Gravity. Earlier in his career, Morris worked at both MillFilm and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop contributing to the Academy Award® winning films Gladiator and Babe.
“The moment Lynwen and John approached me to head up ILM London I knew what my answer would be,” noted Morris. “Being given the opportunity to build a world class VFX studio in London and cut its teeth on a film series like Star Wars is a dream come true. Ever since I first experienced the opening shot of A New Hope, I have admired and been inspired by the incredible work created at ILM. I’m particularly excited about our new studio space and to continue ILM’s tradition of excellence within London’s community of visual effects film makers.”
Sue Lyster, also joins from Framestore where she was head of production. Lyster rose through the ranks at Framestore taking positions with increasing responsibilities from CG manager to senior producer and deputy head of production prior to taking on the role of head of production. Earlier in her career, Lyster was a producer at Richard Purdum Productions and senior producer in the commercial division of Hibbert Ralph Animation.
Michael Eames rejoins ILM (where he worked in the late 1990s) after serving 8-years as head of animation at Framestore and 2-years as animation supervisor at Prime Focus Film. Eames has twice been nominated for BAFTA awards and has contributed to films such as Children Of Men, Where The Wild Things Are, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and three of the Harry Potter films.
The R&D initiatives announced today are a continuance of ILM’s long-standing culture of innovation. Aimed at further revolutionizing how films are made, the R&D is being co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK and sees ILM collaborating with a range of partners in developing cutting-edge technologies that will further enhance ILM’s world leading visual effects capabilities and stimulate innovation across the UK’s digital media sector.
Notes to Editors
ABOUT INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC
Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd., has become synonymous with groundbreaking visual effects work and the company continues to be a recognized leader in the field. ILM, headquartered in San Francisco, also has operations in Singapore, Vancouver British Columbia and London – the facilities work hand in hand to produce cutting edge visual effects work for feature films and themed attractions. ILM has been awarded 15 Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects and 26 Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. To learn more, visit ILM online at http://www.ilm.com.
Lucasfilm Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Industrial Light & Magic, the ILM logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © 2013 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.
ABOUT INNOVATE UK
Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency. Taking a new idea to market is a challenge. Innovate UK funds, supports and connects innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth. For further information visit www.innovateuk.org
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