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Cinesite Senior FX Supervisor Honored with an Image Award

(October 15, 2001)
Cinesite Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Michael Fink was honored with an Image Award at the Premio Immagine Gala in Milan, Italy, on October 6. The prestigious award is given annually by the organizers of the International Audio, Video, Broadcasting, Motion Picture and Telecommunications Show (IBTS) to an individual whose body of work has made a significant contribution to the art and technology of special and digital effects.
IBTS is an international event, focusing on leading-edge interactive digital communications for information or entertainment. The Premio Imaggine Awards were inaugurated in 1991. Prior Image Award winners include Eric Daniels, Scott Anderson, Rob Legato, Laura di Biagio, Marl Dippe, Scott Johnston, Michael Wahrmann, Bill Kroyer, Yoichiro Kawaguchi and Nadia Thalmann.

?It is a real honor to see my name along side the previous recipients of this prestigious award, says Fink. ?We usually work behind the scenes, making our work as transparent as possible to the audience. It is nice knowing my peers appreciate my work. Finks visual effects supervisor credits span the transition from optical to digital technology, beginning with War Games in 1982, and including such notable films as The Seventh Sign, Braveheart and Lethal Weapon 4. In 1993, he earned an Oscar nomination for Batman Returns, and has been widely recognized for his innovative work on X-Men.

Fink is a native Californian who studied at the Art Institute of San Francisco and the California Institute of Arts in Los Angeles. In 1977, Fink was working in Los Angeles as a photographer and artist, when a former classmate brought him onto the crew for The China Syndrome.

He earned his first visual effects supervisor credit on War Games in 1982. Fink was responsible for creating more than 50,000 feet of computer-generated images (used as process plates) on that film. He subsequently worked on Buckaroo Bonzai and Project X, and earned dual credits as second unit director and visual effects supervisor on The Seventh Sign.

Fink led a start-up venture, Warner Digital Studios, for Warner Bros. in 1995. The full service visual effects shop had a 150 staff at its peak. Warner Digital created visual effects for Batman and Robin, Eraser, Mars Attacks, Conspiracy Theory and Contact as well as for commercials and special venue projects.

?Filmmaking used to be like playing jazz, he says. ?There was a clearly defined structure, enlivened by improvisation. Now, it is more like creating contemporary music where even the structure is improvised. Digital technology has given us a lot more freedom. We have extended the creative process much deeper into postproduction. But, you still have to understand photography and lighting, so effects shots can nestle seamlessly with live-action film. You still have to be true to the look.

Fink is currently completing work on the upcoming films 13 Ghosts, Clockstoppers and Babys in Black.
With facilities in Hollywood and London, Cinesite provides a wide range of visual and physical effects, digital film mastering, digital film restoration, scanning and recording, preservation and DVD services. Cinesite is a Kodak subsidiary and part of the company's Entertainment Imaging division.

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