Against the picturesque backdrop of the Alps, the View Conference will celebrate its 20th year in Turin, Italy, with its fullest program ever, featuring top creatives from around the world in film, television and games and more who will give keynote talks and present masterclasses at the weeklong event, Oct. 21-25.
This edition boasts director of DreamWorks Animation’s hit “Abominable” Jill Culton; Brad Bird, director of last year’s “Incredibles 2”; Peter Ramsey, co-director of Oscar-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”; “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” director Dean DeBlois; composer Michael Giacchino; “The Lion King” VFX supervisor Rob Legato; “The Addams Family” co-director Conrad Vernon; Industrial Light & Magic’s Rob Bredow; Emmy-winning Baobab Studios’ Eric Darnell and Maureen Fan; and Sergio Pablos, director of Netflix’s first original animated film “Klaus.” A recent addition is “Frozen II” VFX supervisor Steve Goldberg, who will present a preview of the much anticipated film at the conference. All told, creatives from 16 feature films will be on hand.
From TV, Image Engine visual effects supervisor Thomas Schelesny and animation supervisor Jason Snyman will talk to View attendees about how they created Daenerys’ dragons for the final season of HBO’s epic series “Game of Thrones.”
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There is a full slate of speakers and attendees from the gaming world as well, including PUBG Corp. CEO CH Kim, Guerrilla Games’ Jan-Bart van Beek, Insomniac Games’ Robert Coddington and Electronic Arts’ Henry LaBounta.
View, which stands for Virtual Interactive Emerging World, has continually attracted a who’s-who of luminaries in visual effects, animation, gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality to the conference.
When conference director Maria Elena Gutierrez took it over 15 years ago, it was a much smaller event, but she’s focused on making it more of a creative community rather than a conference, and it seems to be working. Speakers stay for the entire week, attend each other’s talks, network and soak up the ambiance.
Pablos is a newcomer to View, but he’s heard of its reputation. “Over the years, I keep seeing the event growing and presenting an ever-growing roster of impressive talent,” he says. “I finally get to experience it first-hand. Having a chance to hear what other creators and animation professionals have to say will be an absolute treat.”
He says he’s looking forward to telling attendees about his commitment to making “Klaus” in traditional 2D animation. “I’ll do my best to describe the journey that making Klaus was, from its origins to completion, with all the challenges that we had to face along the way. Making a traditionally animated film in this day an age was an unique experience filled with surprises and discoveries, and I can’t wait to share some of it with the conference’s attendants. I’ll also be sharing some behind-the-scenes footage and clips from the actual film.”
Another first-timer is “Incredibles 2” director Bird. “My dear friends and colleagues Michael Giacchino and Ralph Eggleston brought the View Conference to my attention. Maria Elena is heading up a wonderful program this year and I look forward to joining the 2019 Conference, and to be able to spend time in Italy whenever possible.”
Bird will give a keynote address as well as teach a masterclass. “My keynote will address the art of the movie ‘opening’. I will compare and contrast the opening minutes of both classic and contemporary films and discuss the elements that make them both successful and memorable.”
Eggleston, who is being honored with the View Conference’s Visionary Award, is a longtime fan of the event. “It’s a great gathering place for creative minds and meaningful discussion, and it attracts some of the top professionals in the industry. So for me to receive their Visionary Award is and incredible honor. To be recognized before colleagues whose work I’ve long admired is truly humbling.”
Composer Giacchino first went to the View Conference a decade ago and gave a concert there. He’ll be doing that again this time. “The View Conference is important because it not only focuses on the technology and advances in visual effects, but it also advocates for the advancement of our ability to tell good stories and being good storytellers is at the heart of what we all do in every department of filmmaking.”
This is also a return to trip to Turin for Vernon. “I am looking forward to attending the VIEW conference again. Not only because it has some really talented and interesting speakers involved, but because it is a unique and more personal conference than many others I’ve been to in my opinion. You have time to get to know the other speakers at dinners and gatherings, get to know face to face the students and other professionals that attend and aren’t too busy to enjoy the lovely sights of Turin while there,” he says.
Baobab’s Darnell echoes those sentiments: “One of the things that makes the View Conference such a great event for all participants is that the majority of the speakers and audience members are in attendance for the entire duration of the conference. This, combined with the social atmosphere that Maria Elena fosters, makes it easy for participants to meet, spend time together and get to know one another.”
Pacific Data Images co-founder Glenn Entis will be back for the ninth year. “I keep coming back, as do many of my colleagues from around the world, because of the wonderful sense of community that Maria Elena fosters. I’ve been to countless conferences around the world, but View is unique in creating this blend of high-energy presentation from top creative talent with a warm, inviting spirit of community and Italian hospitality.”
ILM’s Rob Bredow was a keynote speaker at last year’s View Conference, but he couldn’t wait to come back again. “Just in the last 12 months, there has been so much innovation at ILM and I am thrilled that we are able to attend and share some of the latest techniques and technologies. It’s great to be able to present that new work against the context of the 40-plus years of innovation on the ‘Star Wars’ films. I’m really looking forward to the conference again this year.”
Despite its continued growth, the View Conference strives to maintain its unique nature.
“I just love this conference,” says Guerrilla Games’ van Beek. “It’s not as big as GDC (Game Developers Conference) or SIGGRAPH. Those big conferences can be overwhelming and quite impersonal. View, on the other hand, has a much more intimate setting. You actually have time to talk with the people attending and also the speakers. It’s a great mix, with speakers from film, games, but also scientists giving talks on how the mix of technology and arts are helping us be more creative. It gives us a better understanding how our craft can help all of mankind.”
Many speakers sing the praises of conference director Gutierrez. “Maria Elena is a visionary who embraced our innovation in interactive narrative, before many others,” says Baobab’s Maureen Fan. “She is a step ahead of the curve. She smartly co-opts those she feels can provide thought leadership and involves us even more in the conference. She invited us to join her advisory board to help shape View Conference’s strategic direction and programming. I love being a part of such a high caliber group of creative leaders.”
For Gutierrez, building the community is what’s most important “The community is created by the amazing people attending the conference. Attracting the top talent in the entertainment industry creates that community. These people are really talented, passionate, driven. They’re making such beautiful work. And they care so, so much about where we’re going, where the industry’s going, and making a difference in the world.”