The 38th International Conference And Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques

SIGGRAPH Symposium


East Parkview Terrace 1-3
Sunday, 7 August 9 am - 5:30 pm

The SIGGRAPH Symposium is supported by Disney Research.
3ality Digital LLC


British Columbia Film

Digital Domain Vancouver

Electronic Arts Canada

Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design

Image Engine Design, Inc.

IVFX, Inc.

Mental Leap Software Design

Method Vancouver

MPC (Vancouver)

Pixar Canada

Radical Entertainment

Seven Group

Spectrum HR Law LLP

Ubisoft Vancouver

Vancouver Economic Development Council

Vancouver Effects Society - Vancouver Section

Vancouver Film School

Vancouver Institute of Media Arts

Vanedge Capital

#siggraph #symposium

Online Registration


The Business Think Tank

New this year: the SIGGRAPH Symposium: The Business Think Tank. This one-day event brings together the leaders who have contributed to the direction, production, and evolution of the computer graphics community, a powerful global presence whose members are interconnected and interrelated. Join us for a full day of frank and honest conversations, featured speakers, and interactive sessions designed to elucidate the elements of finance, strategy, culture, and creativity. 

In an intimate setting that will accommodate up to only 200, the Business Think Tank is designed for people in the business of the business, leaders of our global community, the visionaries who define the direction of our industry. 

The Business Think Tank requires a separate admission fee, and is not included in any other SIGGRAPH 2011 registration categories. Attendance for this event is very limited.

Welcome, Introductions

9 - 9:30 am


David Cohen

David S. Cohen is an author and journalist whose byline has appeared in publications around the world. He covers visual effects and post-production for Variety and has spearheaded the paper's expanded technology coverage. Before becoming a journalist, he worked in showbiz for more than 20 years, with credits ranging from off-off-Broadway director to writer for "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine". He is the author of two books, Screen Plays: How 25 Scripts Made It to a Theater Near You - For Better or Worse and The Ballad of Rango: The Art & Making of an Outlaw Film.

The Business of the Business

9:30 am - 12:15 pm

Featured Speaker

Gail Currey
Head of Studio, DreamWorks Animation

As Head of DreamWorks Animation's Redwood City Studio, Gail Currey is responsible for overseeing all productions and the company’s artistic development and training efforts at the Northern California campus. She joined the company in her current capacity in 2008. Under her leadership, the Redwood City studio has nearly doubled to over 600 employees. For three consecutive years, the studio has been named among the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune magazine.

Prior to joining DreamWorks Animation, she served as vice president and general manager of Lucasfilm Animation from 2004 to 2008. Prior to that, Ms. Currey served as vice president and executive in charge of production at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and chief operations officer at ILM. She holds a BA in liberal arts and an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.


Victoria Alonso
Executive Vice President, VFX and Post Production, Marvel Entertainment, LLC

Victoria Alonso served as co-producer on “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2” with director Jon Favreau, Kenneth Branagh’s “Thor”, Joe Johnston’s “Captain America: The First Avenger”, and is now co-producing "The Avengers” for writer/director Joss Whedon.  Her career began at the nascency of the visual effects industry, when she served as a commercial VFX producer.  From there, she VFX-produced numerous feature films, working with Ridley Scott (“Kingdom of Heaven”), Tim Burton (“Big Fish”), and Andrew Adamson (“Shrek”), to name a few. She is now co-producer on all the movies on Marvel’s slate.

Rory Armes
CEO, Gener8 Digital Media Corp.

Before joining Gener8 as CEO, Rory Armes served as general manager at Electronic Arts Canada, where he oversaw all three EA Canadian studios (EA Canada, EA Black Box, and EA Montréal) and 1,500 videogame developers, programmers, and artists. As EA Canada's GM, he guided development of new intellectual properties for many of EA's largest franchises, including Need for Speed, FIFA, and Harry Potter. He previously served as general manager of EA's UK studio, where he oversaw acquisition and integration of companies such as Dice, creator of the Battlefield game franchise, and Criterion, maker of the popular interactive game Burnout. In his earlier career, he served as a senior executive with Distinctive Software Interactive, one of Vancouver's early game companies, later acquired by Electronic Arts to become EA Canada.

Dan Glass
Executive Vice President, Senior VFX Supervisor, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Method Studios

Dan Glass joined Method in 2010 as senior creative director, overseeing both feature and commercial projects. Most recently, he served as senior VFX supervisor on Terrence Malick’s Palme D’Or Winner "The Tree of Life", and he has a long list of previous film credits as lead or senior VFX supervisor, including "Batman Begins", "Speed Racer", "V for Vendetta", and both "Matrix" sequels.

After completing a degree in architecture at University College London, he began his career at the Computer Film Company in London, where he learned from the ground up, starting first as a runner and projectionist, and then working as a CG artist, programmer, and compositor.

Namit Malhotra
CEO, Prime Focus

Namit Malhotra is the founder and global CEO of Prime Focus. A compulsive entrepreneur, he hails from a family that has been part of the film business for three generations. As a "hands-on" promoter, he built Prime Focus from a one-room editing studio to become the leading visual entertainment services company in the world. The company currently employs over 3,000 people in Mumbai, London, Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, Hyderabad, Chennai, Goa, Bangalore, and Chandigarh.

Don McGowan
General Counsel, The Pokémon Company International

Don McGowan is responsible for all legal issues for the Pokémon brand outside of Japan, including animation, toys and trading cards, video games, and licensing. He is also responsible for protecting the brand from infringement and unauthorized use. He was the head lawyer for Microsoft Game Studios, and among his biggest accomplishments there was creating the Game Content Usage Rules, which granted to the Xbox community broad rights to create their own content using Microsoft-published properties and IP and made his job much easier. He also teaches entertainment law at the University of Washington, where he has caused his students to do things like examine the legal issues in creating a bad science-fiction movie, discuss the pros and cons of Birdemic, and assess whether Charlie Sheen is a role model for children.

Marc Weigert
Co-Founder, Uncharted Territory

Marc Weigert co-founded Uncharted Territory in 1999 with Volker Engel (Academy Award winner for visual effects on “Independence Day”). Recently, he finished Roland Emmerich’s “Anonymous” (to be released in early November 2011) as executive producer and visual effects supervisor for Sony Pictures. Prior to that, he was co-producer and visual effects supervisor on Roland Emmerich’s “2012”.

As the VFX project manager for "Independence Day", he created Digital Assistant for Visual Effects, a project-management program for managing, scheduling, and tracking thousands of VFX elements. His software has subsequently been sold to several major studios and used on many feature films.

He majored in film production at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg and produced several award-winning commercials and films in Germany.

Interactive Session: Delivering Creative Feedback - An Easy-to-Use Toolkit

1:15 - 2:30 pm

Evan Hirsch
Managing Partner, Engine Co. 4

Evan Hirsch is a creative executive who has worked with industry leaders throughout the US, Europe, and Asia for 25 years. In 2011, he founded Engine Co. 4 to provide strategic consulting services on immersive multi-platform user experiences, creative development, and tactical firefighting advice for large computer graphics projects.

Prior to founding Engine Co. 4, he served as vice president of creative development at THQ, where he was responsible for raising production values and creative processes at nine game studios. Before joining THQ, as creative director at Microsoft’s Live Labs and Surface teams, he played a lead role in defining the user experience for Surface, the first widely manufactured and distributed multi-touch computer. He also worked at Electronic Arts for six years in a variety of roles, culminating as head of visual development for EA Worldwide Studios, where he led EA’s content-creation strategy for the PS2/Xbox transition.

In 2008, he created the Interactive and Real-Time Live program for the SIGGRAPH conference, and he chaired the program from 2008 to 2010.   He is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center, a frequent lecturer at The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, and a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Visual Effects Society.

Featured Speaker: Coloring Outside the Lines

2:45 - 4 pm

Andy Hendrickson
Chief Technology Officer, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Andy Hendrickson is responsible for the technology strategy and direction used to create the fairytale worlds of Disney films. Prior to joining Disney, he was head of technology at PDI/DreamWorks, where he created the technology infrastructure required to produce and release release two major animated features per year. He has also served as senior technology officer for Industrial Light & Magic.

He began his career in the motion picture industry in 1990 as a digital design engineer at Skywalker Sound, a division of Lucasfilm, assisting in the transformation of the sound post-production industry from analog to digital formats. He holds a degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley and has been awarded several US Patents. He is a member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and active in technology areas for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Culture of the Business

4 - 5:30 pm

Steve Bocska
CEO, Pug Pharm Productions Inc.

Steve Bocska is the founding president of Pug Pharm Productions Inc., a startup in Vancouver that focuses on social-networking games. He has over 10 years of experience in the videogame industry, having worked for Disney Interactive, Black Box (EA), and Radical Entertainment as lead designer, producer, and executive producer. In 2006, he became the founding President and CEO of Hothead Games, winner of the Canadian New Media Association’s award for Most Promising New Company of 2007.

Steve has a BA (Honours), MA (Planning), and an MBA. (Entrepreneurship). He has spoken at a variety of videogame industry events, including the Game Developer’s Conference, South by Southwest, the Vancouver International Game Summit, VIDFEST, the Banff New Media Festival, GameON Finance, Merging+Media, the Game Developer’s Conference Canada, the Canada Games Conference, and several others.

Kim Davidson
Co-Founder, CEO, President, Side Effects Software Inc.

Kim Davidson entered the field of computer animation in 1985 when he joined Omnibus Computer Graphics. In 1987, he co-founded Side Effects Software Inc., and today the company is a world-leading innovator of advanced 3D animation and special effects. Before and after he co-founded Side Effects, he was both a programmer and animator, working on hundreds of commercials and industrial animations, and he was the executive producer of the TV series “Monster By Mistake”.

As Side Effects grew, he helped to build a dynamic and enduring company focused on delivering the most innovative software to the entertainment industry. Side Effects clients include Electronic Arts, Guerilla, Double Negative, Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues, and Sony Pictures Imageworks among others.

He has been awarded the Technical Achievement and the Scientific and Engineering Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his work in developing PRISMS 3D software, and the J. Wesley Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation from the University of Waterloo. He received a bachelor of engineering in pre-professional architecture and a bachelor of mathematics in computer science from the University of Waterloo.

Warren Franklin
CEO, Rainmaker Entertainment Inc.

Warren Franklin oversees one of North America's leading digital animation studios. Since joining Rainmaker in 2005, he has re-focused the company to take advantage of the dynamic CG animation industry by acquiring Mainframe Entertainment in 2006, and in early 2008, selling its visual effects and post businesses to industry giant Deluxe Entertainment Services Group.

The company currently has over 300 employees, and it is in production on its first theatrical animated feature, "Escape From Planet Earth". with The Weinstein Company. Rainmaker is also in the process of developing a slate of family-oriented animated feature films in a variety of genres.

He has over 20 years experience in studio management and digital production at such industry leaders as Lucasfilm and Colossal Pictures. He was a key member of George Lucas’ creative and management team for more than a decade and managed six divisions, including Industrial Light & Magic, LucasArts Games, and Skywalker Sound.

Jenny Fulle
Founder, Visual Effects Producer, The Creative-Cartel, Inc.

With over 30 years experience in the visual effects and animation industry, Jenny Fulle is a leader in producing and providing high-quality visual effects and production management to filmmakers and studios. Her exceptional relationships with visual effects and animation companies, and with individual artists both domestic and International, are unparalleled and enable her to build creative teams for any size production.

With this knowledge and experience, she recently founded The Creative-Cartel, Inc., a Los Angeles-based production company specializing in assembling teams tailored specifically for the visual effects and animation needs of individual productions. The company recently completed production of the visual effects and 3D conversion of "Priest", Screen Gems' largest film to date. The Creative-Cartel oversaw all 10 facilities working on this project. The Creative-Cartel is also currently overseeing the visual effects for "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" and the visual effects and animation for Seth MacFarlane’s feature directorial debut, "Ted". Both films are due for release in 2012.

Before forming The Creative-Cartel, she worked as executive vice president for Sony Pictures Imageworks, which during her tenure, grew from a company of 300 to over 1,200 employees. She also supervised development of a pipeline to successfully manage both animated and live-action visual effects films within one facility – a first in the industry.

Marianne O'Reilly
Head of Animation and Visual Effects, Vancouver Film School

Marianne O’Reilly has excelled in entertainment and visual effects management for over 20 years. She joined the Vancouver Film School in May of 2011 as head of animation and visual effects, overseeing three programs: 3D Animation and Visual Effects, Digital Character Animation, and Classical Animation.

As President of Rainmaker Visual Effects, she was instrumental in the sale of Rainmaker’s Vancouver and London facilities to Deluxe Entertainment and the CIS Visual Effects Group in early 2008. She continued as president of CIS Vancouver through the company’s transition in 2008 before relocating to the East Coast, where she was an executive consultant focusing on strategic business initiatives for several global visual effects companies.

Prior to Rainmaker, she held executive positions and was a sports entertainment producer for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, where she served as the director of game presentation and special events. While with the Vancouver Canucks, she was manager of game presentation, and during her tenure with the CFL’s BC Lions, Marianne was the director of advertising and promotions and was presented with a Grey Cup championship ring in 1994. She attended the British Columbia Institute of Technology, graduating Magna Cum Laude in Broadcast Communications for Television. From 2007 to 2009, she served as a board member for the Visual Effects Society.

Jason Dowdeswell
Head of Studio, Image Engine Design Inc.

As Head of Studio, Jason Dowdeswell is responsible for fostering the advancement of Image Engine’s creative and technical growth, drawing on his own creative background and proven expertise in facility management.

With nearly 20 years in the visual effects industry, he has held various positions and witnessed many “firsts” in the business. After starting in LA at Boss Film in 1993, as the company migrated to digital solutions for visual effects, he participated in the rapid growth of Sony Pictures Imageworks before moving to San Francisco to join Industrial Light & Magic. In 2002, he returned to his hometown to help Rainmaker expand its visual effects division. His film credits include: "True Lies", Starship Troopers," Stuart Little," Star Wars: Episode II," The Davinci Code," Angels & Demons," Zombieland," Invictus", and "Salt".

He is dedicated to improving industry workplace practices as well as driving creative and technical advancement, as exemplified by his many speaking engagements and membership in The Visual Effects Society. As a committed advocate for the Vancouver visual effects industry, Jason is also active in local technology organizations in Vancouver, such as DigiBC and ACM SIGGRAPH.


5:30 - 6 pm