Program 2018



Student Panel: Insider’s Tips for breaking into the VFX Industry

Sarah Leavitt (Foundry), Hugo Guerra (fire without smoke), Deb Stone (Blue Sky Studios), Julie Kubbillun (Rodeo FX), Matthew Smith (DNEG)

Looking to break into the VFX industry? Don’t miss this panel, hosted by Foundry Education Manager Sarah Leavitt, with Deb Stone, Director, Recruiting and Talent Development at Blue Sky Studios, Hugo Guerra Director and VFX Supervisor at Fire Without Smoke… and even more expert panellists to be confirmed!

They’ll discuss the key skills recruiters are looking for, what students can do to stand out and get hired, what makes a great showreel, where the industry is headed for the future, and much more.

This discussion will be 45 minutes long, followed by 45 minutes for students to ask the panel questions. The Panel will be held during lunch, but don’t worry… we’re providing bagels!

Sarah Leavitt

Sarah Leavitt, Education Manager, Foundry,

As Foundry's Education Manager, Sarah oversees the strategy, design and implementation of Foundry's education offerings among both educators and students. Her passion is in fast growth technologies, where she brings experience from numerous high growth consumer tech firms.

Foundry designs creative software technologies used to deliver award-winning visual effects and 3D content for the design, visualization and entertainment industries. Our software advances the art and technology of visual experience in partnership with creative leaders across the globe.


Foundry enables clients like Pixar, Mercedes-Benz, Google, ILM, Weta Digital, The Moving Picture Company and Sony Pictures Imageworks to turn incredible ideas into reality, by solving complex creative challenges.

Established in 1996, Foundry is headquartered in London, with offices in Manchester and Austin.

Hugo Guerra

Hugo Guerra , Director & VFX Supervisor, fire without smoke,

Hugo is an award-winning Director and VFX Supervisor working in the industry since 1998.

After finishing his Fine Arts degree in Portugal he worked as a freelancer in Sweden and London. in 2010 he joined The Mill as a VFX Supervisor and Head of the Nuke compositing Department. Over that time Hugo has a Lead Artist and Onset Supervisor managing large teams in more than 100 productions including the VES awarded "Audi Hummingbird", the "Call of Duty Ghosts" in-game cinematics, The BBC Music “God Only Knows” to name a few.  

Since 2014, Hugo has been working with Fire Without Smoke as a Director and Visual Effects Supervisor working in games trailers for triple-A. He has directed and supervised trailers for Activision, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Sony, Deep Silver, CCP among others.  

Hugo is also a member of the Visual Effects Society and part of the advisory board for both the NFTS and Escape Studios. He’s been very active as teacher and lecturer of Visual Effects, making many talks, tutorials and keynotes for Fire Without Smoke, The Mill, FXPHD, The Foundry, NFTS, Campus i12, Animation Workshop, BenQ and Escape Studios all over the world.  

Hugo also runs the YouTube channel Hugo's Desk where he makes free tutorials and videos about VFX, gaming, and tech.

Check out his work at

Deb Stone

Deb Stone, Director of Recruiting and Talent Development, Blue Sky Studios,

Deb Stone is the Director of Recruiting and Talent Development at Blue Sky Studios. With a wealth of experience finding and hiring CG artists for companies like Walt Disney and Blue Sky Studios, she knows a thing or two about what VFX Supervisors are looking for in a candidate.

Julie Kubbillun

Julie Kubbillun, VFX Producer, Rodeo FX,

A graduate in television production, Julie Kubbillun made her first steps in the film industry directly on film sets, working with major television channels in Europe. She's since worked at studios including Germany's Constantin Film, Scaline, and is now VFX Producer at the Rodeo FX studio in Munich. Throughout her career, she has been involved in producing visual effects for major productions, including Arrival, Deadpool, and the Game of Thrones series.

Rodeo FX is renowned for its groundbreaking and award winning visual imagery for Feature Films, Television Series and Commercials. Our state of the art facilities in Montreal, Quebec, Los Angeles and Munich house a collective of world-class VFX artists who combine their talent, imagination and technological innovation to create outstanding Visual Effects.    Since its inception in 2006, our team strive to discover new and innovative ways to deliver inspiring work. With experienced artistry, we take great pride in working collaboratively in order to help convey a director's vision. Our passionate team of nearly 400 artists are looking to exceed expectations and to always let our clients freedom to dream big.    At Rodeo FX, we do it all. In support of artistic endeavor, our innovative pipeline team meticulously strive to refine our pipeline so our artists can do what they do best – create and inspire with astonishing visuals.    Our workplace culture is conducive to creativity. We embrace professional development and continually strive to foster a positive working environment that inspires our artists to flourish. Our bilingual French/English collective attract and welcome the best local artists and international talent from all over the world. Here, innovation and creativity go hand in hand with fun and community. At Rodeo FX teamwork is integral to our success.    To believe is to achieve and every day at Rodeo FX we achieve the extraordinary. With our outstanding technical support and production teams coupled with an army of world class VFX artists, At Rodeo FX we are creating imagination.   The company has delivered award-winning visual effects for over 100 feature films, including the Academy Award®-winning Blade Runner 2049 (Best visual effects) and Birdman, IT, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, The Fate of the Furious, Kong: Skull Island, Arrival and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.   In 2017, Rodeo FX won three VES Awards for episode 9 of Game of Thrones Season 6. VES Awards recognized the studio’s VFX work on Game of Thrones (2016) and Birdman (2015). Emmy® honors include three awards for Game of Thrones (2014, 2015, 2016). More recently, Rodeo FX has won an Animago Award in Munich for Best Visual Effects for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as a Hollywood Professional Association Award for Black Sails. Rodeo FX won a VES Award in 2018 for Outstanding Effects Simulations in Game of Thrones Season 7.


Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith, Global Head of Lighting, DNEG, DNEG,

Matthew Smith is Global Head of Lighting, DNEG. Matthew began his career at DNEG 12 years ago as a Matchmover after graduating with a degree in Computer Visualisation & Animation from Bournemouth University in the UK.  Matthew has worked on shows including; ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’, ’Thor:The Dark World’, ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’, and ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’.

We are DNEG, one of the world's leading visual effects, animation and stereo conversion companies for feature film and television, with studios in London, Vancouver, Mumbai, Los Angeles, Chennai and Montréal.

Since the opening of our first studio in London in 1998 we’ve always focused on building close working relationships with filmmakers. We thrive on the collaboration and the creative energy this provides, and we are dedicated to delivering excellence on every project we are involved with.

We’ve brought home the Oscar for ‘Best VFX’ for three out of the last four years. In total, we’ve been honoured with 4 Academy Award wins, 4 BAFTA Awards and 8 Visual Effects Society Awards for our visual effects work on shows like ‘Blade Runner 2049’, ‘Dunkirk’, ‘Ex Machina’, ‘Interstellar’, ‘Inception’ and ‘Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2’. 

FMX is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the City of Stuttgart and MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, taking place in cooperation with the VES Visual Effects Society and ACM SIGGRAPH. FMX is an event by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by Animationsinstitut, hosting the Animation Production Days (APD), a joint venture with the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS).

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