Miramar companies earn 21 international nominations for 2013 movie achievements

Media release from Ideas Shop
A big production year for Wellington’s Miramar group of movie companies has generated a raft of international award nominations, technical awards and industry honours as the motion picture awards season begins.

Leading the way is the Academy Awards with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earning three nominations in visual effects (Weta Digital), sound mixing (Park Road Post Production) and sound editing. Iron Man 3, which Weta Digital worked on, is also nominated in the visual effects category. The Weta Digital visual effects team of Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds, are nominated for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; and their colleague Guy Williams is part of the team nominated for Iron Man 3.

The sound mixing team of Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson completed the mixing for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at Park Road Post Production in Miramar, as did Brent Burge and Chris Ward, who are in the running for the sound editing award. The Academy Awards will be held on March 2 in Los Angeles.

At the Academy ceremony for the Science and Technology branch on February 15, members of the Weta Digital team will receive technical achievement awards for two innovations. One recognises the work of Martin Hill, Jon Allitt and Nick McKenzie for the creation of a digital lighting system which has enhanced the ability of digital artists to quickly see the results of changing lights, materials and set layouts in digital environments. Their Weta Digital colleagues Dr Peter Hillman and Areito Echevarria will also be honoured with technical achievement awards for their work developing deep compositing which has supported advanced compositing workflows across the digital filmmaking industry.

Both The Hobbit and Iron Man 3 are also nominated in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, to be revealed on February 16 in London. The same visual effects team are up for the Special Visual Effects BAFTA. Weta Workshop founder and creative director Richard Taylor is part of the team nominated in the Make-Up and Hair category for their work on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He is nominated with Peter Swords King and Rick Findlater.

Richard Taylor is also nominated for the Costume Designers Guild Awards on February 22, together with Ann Maskrey and Bob Buck, for their work on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. They are short-listed in the Excellence in Fantasy Film category.

Production designer Dan Hennah has been nominated in the Art Directors Guild’s Excellence in Production Design Awards, with his work on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earning a nomination in the Fantasy Film category. The awards will be presented on February 8 in Los Angeles.

Weta Digital’s busy 2013 is recognised with a raft of other industry nominations and awards, including nine nominations at the Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards on Feburary 12 with the company’s work onThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earning five nominations, Iron Man 3 picking up three, and Man of Steel one.

Weta Digital is also up for three Annie (animated) Awards on February 1 for its work creating both Gollum and the Goblin King for the previous Hobbit instalment, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and animated effects on Man of Steel.

This follows earlier industry recognition for Weta Digital and two of its luminaries. Peter Jackson, Joe Letteri and Weta Digital were jointly awarded a Vanguard Award recognising achievements in new media and technology, at the Producers Guild of America Awards on Sunday. The award recognises their collective work and achievements on The Hobbit trilogy and other projects.

“Peter Jackson and Joe Letteri have created some of the most epic visionary fantasies in the history of filmmaking,” said PGA Awards Co-Chairs Lori McCreary and Michael De Luca. “Through the development of groundbreaking technology and software, Weta Digital has redefined the possibilities for producers to create living, breathing worlds to house even their most fantastic stories.”

Weta Digital General Manager Tom Greally said both the team at Digital and the wider group of companies appreciate the recognition that awards bring.

“These awards and nominations are a testament to the ability and capacity of the team here to deliver world-class work across a range of film projects. For all the nominees and winners it is the ultimate reward for their dedication and effort. It’s fantastic to see the artistic and technical capability here in Wellington recognized on the global stage.”

About Weta Digital: Weta Digital is one of the world’s premier visual effects companies. Led by Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri, Weta Digital is known for uncompromising creativity and commitment to developing innovative technology.

About Park Road Post Production: Park Road is a premier post production facility located in Wellington, New Zealand. Developed by filmmakers for filmmakers, Park Road offers a relaxing and inspiring environment for filmmakers to realise their vision.

About Weta Workshop: Weta Workshop is a multi-award winning conceptual design and physical manufacturing facility servicing the world’s entertainment and creative industries.

About Wingnut Films: Wingnut Films is the production company of award-winning film-makers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. The company’s film credits include Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, Braindead,The Frighteners, Heavenly Creatures, the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, King Kong, The Lovely Bones, Tintin and the documentaries West of Memphis and Forgotten Silver.

All four companies are part of a group of creative companies located in Miramar, Wellington, which also includes Stone Street Studios and Portsmouth Rentals.

September 11, 2013 –
Work completed at New Zealand’s Park Road Post Production and visual effects studio Weta Digital has been recognised in two international screen industry technical award events.

Park Road’s work on the High Frame Rate (HFR) technology developed for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has won a special Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation in Post Production from the Hollywood Post Alliance. The award will be presented at the HPA Awards on November 7 in Los Angeles.

At the same awards, Weta Digital’s visual effects teams have earned three of the five nominations in the Outstanding Visual Effects for Feature Film category. Visual effects developed for Man of Steel, Iron Man 3 and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be up against two other films for the top award.

The HPA Awards honours excellence in post production and brings recognition to the achievements of individuals and companies engaged in significant and revolutionary work in post production.

The nominations and special award follow similar recognition for both Weta Digital and Park Road by The International 3D & Advanced Imaging Society at the 2013 3D Technology Awards. Both companies will receive the Society’s Lumiere statuettes for Technology at an awards event at Paramount Studios in Hollywood on September 18th.

Weta Digital is being honored for its pioneering Stereo Pipeline developed for Avatar. This work is seen as the first large scale Stereo pipeline capable of handling CG and live action elements, helping James Cameron to deliver the landmark Stereo film of the modern era.

Park Road’s work in helping Peter Jackson deliver the world’s first High Frame Rate 3D film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey-­‐-­‐a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-­‐Goldwyn-­‐Mayer Pictures (MGM) released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM-­‐-­‐continues to receive accolades globally. The post production facility was involved from the very beginning of production -­‐ extracting the data from the 5K Red Epic cameras on set right through to final delivery and exhibition at cinemas around the world.

Park Road Post Production General Manager Cameron Harland said the awards represent recognition from the international post production community and is a great boost for the hard work and dedication of the Park Road team. It also acknowledges the cutting edge innovation provided by some of the world’s leading technology companies with whom they are privileged to partner.

“We are delighted to be recognised in both awards. The demands of completing any film are significant enough. The challenge of bringing The Hobbit; An Unexpected Journey to screen in 3D HFR was enormous, but one which the team took great pride in.”
General Manager Tom Greally said the dual recognition is appreciated by the teams at Weta Digital, who are currently working on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

“There is still immense pride in what was accomplished on Avatar and looking at this year, picking up three nominations in one category is extraordinary, and testament to the commitment of our people to delivering high-­‐quality work that audiences want to see.”


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