Conference Managing Change Social Impact
Tuesday, May 04, ROOM F brought to you by FOUNDRY, 14:15

Build back better: three key areas for VFX and feature animation studios in post-pandemic recovery

2020 saw a major shake-up in VFX, due to the global pandemic.  Members of Access VFX will talk about its impact across the board and how studios and individuals can collectively come together to use what we've learned to advance our industry for the benefit of us all.

Access VFX, a non-profit, cross-company initiative promotes diversity and inclusion in the VFX industry.  VFX companies, educational organisations and bodies work together to raise awareness and champion the important issues to bring about change.

The panel will discuss:

1. Following the educational repercussions of Covid how we can invest in education and skills at all ages, with a particular focus on improving outcomes for disadvantaged students, which will help to ‘level up’ opportunities and regions. 

2. Practical ways studios can increase minority inclusion

3. Mental health - have we improved our duty of care as a result of WFH?  Do we listen more?

Neil Hatton, Chief Executive, UK Screen Alliance

Neil Hatton is Chief Executive of the UK Screen Alliance, the trade association representing over 100 companies working in Visual Effects, Animation, Audio & Video Post-Production.

The UK Screen Alliance’s primary function is advocacy and much of Neil’s role is dedicated to lobbying the UK government and its agencies to improve and optimise the business environment for its VFX and animation members. This centres around optimising the relevant UK screen sector tax incentives, access to international talent, home-grown talent development at all levels of education as well as in work.

Neil chairs the Creative Industries Council subgroup on apprenticeships and technical education. He is a founder member and non-executive director of Access:VFX, the global movement to champion inclusion in VFX, animation and games.

Mark Flanagan, EMEA Education Partner Manager, Epic Games

Mark started his professional life as an architect in Ireland, in the last Millenium.

His interest in art and technology led him on a winding career path.

Returning to study animation, he moved to the UK to work with Codemasters games. A move to Australia led from a role as a Technical Art Manager with Transmission Games, then becoming a lecturer in Melbourne’s leading universities including RMIT, Kangan, NMT, and Victoria University.

A meeting at GDC inspired him to become an industry trainer. In recent years he has contributed materials to Pixar’s RenderMan group and Pluralsight.

He moved to Vancouver as a trainer with DNeg, on projects such as Bladerunner 2049. Then back to the UK for a similar role in ILM, on projects including Star Wars and Marvel Franchises.

His Education Partner Manager role at Epic allows him to bring together his previous experience in empowering educators to prepare their students for the future of interactive media.  

Philipp Wolf, Executive-in-Charge, Corporate Strategy, DNEG

Philipp Wolf is Executive-In-Charge, Corporate Strategy at DNEG based in Montreal with a decade of industry experience. As an Executive Producer, Philipp has contributed to an illustrious line-up of projects including Denis Villeneuve’s highly-anticipated ‘Dune’, ‘Men in Black: International’, ‘Fast & Furious 9’ and ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ among others. 

After earning a VES Award nomination for his early work producing short films, Philipp rose the ranks from an Associate VFX Producer ('Game of Thrones') to VFX Producer on feature-length projects such as 'The Predator', 'The Mummy’, and ‘Godzilla: King of Monsters'. 

Philipp is currently a Member of the VES Board of Directors, Chair of the VES Montreal Section and Co-Chair of the VES Health & Wellbeing committee. At the Producers Guild of America, Philipp co-leads the BIPOC in Animation and VFX working group. He also serves as a Board Member of Access: VFX Montreal.

Chris Kiser, Chief Operating Officer, Glassworks Amsterdam

Chris is the Amsterdam-based COO of Glassworks (www.glassworksvfx.com), a world-renowned creative content studio founded in London in 1995. He has been working in the animation and VFX industry for nearly 20 years across advertising, film, and episodic productions after getting his start as a PA on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron. As Producer and EP, Chris has helped lead teams of talented artists at studios such as LAIKA, Psyop, and The Mill on projects ranging from star-studded Super Bowl commercials to the Coen Brothers' feature film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Recent work for Glassworks includes a trio of character-based projects for Coca-Cola, Penny Supermarket, and the "Pelota" music video for indie band Khruangbin.

Krystina Wilson, Managing Director at Framestore Chicago, Framestore

Krystina Wilson is the Managing Director and one of the founding members of Framestore’s Chicago studio where she leads a team of dedicated producers and creatives who service clients throughout the Midwest. She is also part of Framestore’s Executive Board, driving global strategy for the Integrated Advertising division. 

With over 15 years of industry experience, Krystina has worked across New York, Los Angeles and Chicago spanning commercial VFX, live action production, and features. 

Starting in the industry as a receptionist at The Mill, Krystina worked her way up to Commercials Producer in a short amount of time. Eager to experience all facets of the industry, she joined Digital Domain in 2011 to work in features, where she led the animation team on VFX Oscar-nominated film Real Steel. 

Heading back to commercials, Krystina worked as Executive Producer of Method Studios where she received a VES award in partnership with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for the Chevy Silverado ‘2012’ Super Bowl spot, and an AICP Award in Animation for Grey’s ‘Troll’ campaign for DirectTV. She also launched Beast / Method / CO3’s Chicago studio in 2013. 

Prior to Framestore, Krystina spent time at The Mill Chicago as part of their senior leadership, bringing in a host of projects for notable brand clients and driving the studio's strategy. Under her leadership, the team experienced exponential growth from a 12 to 75 person operation in just three years. 

Leader, wife and proud mother of 2 daughters, Krystina is also involved in a host of nationwide groups including the March of Dimes, Moms Demand Action, and is an active Paid Family Leave advocate. Her work in this arena saw her as a subject in the 2017 documentary Zero Weeks, and she also spearheaded an initiative which inspired Framestore to pass a company-wide Paid Leave policy in 2019.