Visual effects guru to receive Bonner Medal

Visual effects technologist Jonathan Erland will be presented with the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced Thursday.

Bonner will receive an honorary medallion at the Scientific and Technical Awards presentation on Feb. 11 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

After studying theater in England, Erland moved to Los Angeles and maintained dual careers in the entertainment and the industrial exhibit design fields. He joined the newly created Industrial Light & Magic to work on the visual effects for the 1977 film “Star Wars.” He continued in visual effects as director of research and development for Apogee Prods., where he received patents for a reverse bluescreen traveling matte process, the Blue-Max flux projector and a method for making front projection screens. The innovations, along with the development of a digital traveling matte system, also earned Academy Scientific and Technical Awards.

An Academy member since 1984, Erland was instrumental in establishing a separate visual effects Academy branch in 1995. He has served 11 years on the Academy’s board of governors and many years on the executive committees of both the visual effects branch and the Scientific and Technical Awards. He also is a founding member of the Academy’s Science and Technology Council.

Named in honor of the late director of special projects at Warner Hollywood Studios, the John A. Bonner Medal is awarded for “outstanding service and dedication in upholding the high standards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.”

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