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VES Festival Attracts Minneapolis College Students

Students trek to Visual Effects Society's VES Festival in Northern California. (June 08, 2004)

An intrepid group of students from Minneapolis will be trekking to Northern California to attend the Visual Effects Society's VES Festival this June. This will be the third year in a row that the aspiring visual effects artists and animators from The Art Institutes International Minnesota (Ai Minnesota) will attend the festival, accompanied by faculty member Michael Heagle, an instructor of Visual Effects and Motion Graphics. The 11 students regard the VES Festival as a crucial element of their education and have all funded their trips to the west coast independently.

VES 2004, the Visual Effects Society's sixth annual Festival of Visual Effects, will be held June 18-20 in San Rafael, California. The three-day event features presentations and panels headed by visual effects supervisors and their teams with a focus on visual effects and how they enhance the storytelling process.

"For us, being off the coasts makes staying industry-connected an electronic affair: we read Cinefex, scour the web, study DVD bonus tracks. Whatever sense of disconnect we have is quickly forgotten when we attend the VES Festivals," explains Heagle. "The Festival is an intimate opportunity to see the best VFX work on the planet, get face to face with and ask questions of the talented people who created it. From an education standpoint, it's like having a high level tutorial downloaded straight into your brain. From an industry and placement standpoint, it's a rare chance for students to establish contact with future coworkers and employers, which, for our future film effects artists, doesn't happen in the Midwest."

Eric Roth, VES Executive Director, said, "We're thrilled to know that not only are the world's best visual effects artists coming to this event, but also, the next generation of artists as well. We look forward to one day having some of the Minnesota students leading our panels at a future VES Festival."

Amanda Kirchner, an Ai Minnesota student who attended the VES Festival in Los Angeles last year, observes "The VES Festival is a wonderful opportunity to hear how visual effects are done straight from the people who do them and to shake hands with the masters of effects. I'd rather see these guys when I go to Hollywood than any actor."

Students at The Art Institutes International Minnesota begin the Media Arts & Animation and the Visual Effects & Motion Graphics bachelor programs with a foundation in drawing, color, design, video production, and computer applications. From this foundation, students develop advanced skills in various aspects of computer graphics and animation. Students learn to use the tools of today's high-tech animation profession, ranging from computer operating systems to three-dimensional modeling to desktop video production. These tools enhance students' flexibility and creativity, and enable them to produce an individualized digital portfolio that demonstrates their practical and technical abilities to potential employers.

"In past years at the VES Festival we have seen some absolutely amazing sights," continues Heagle. "From the stunning intergalactic worlds of "Star Wars" to the incredible leap forward of universal capture for the Matrix sequels, we have watched breathlessly. We've witnessed the storytelling and artistry of Pixar's "Finding Nemo" and "Monsters Inc." and we've had the thrill of seeing the FX crews of "Bladerunner" and "Tron" reassembled before our eyes and hearing them recall the struggles of bringing these movie legends to life. To hear these artists explain what it is really like to love a film and filmmaking -- that's worth so much to an emerging artist. These guys love their work and it is infectious."

About VES
The Visual Effects Society, founded in 1997, is comprised of distinguished visual effects artists and technologists who are professionally committed to the specialized industry of visual effects. The society provides its members with a platform for communication, education, and recognition of the current and future state of the visual effects industry. Society headquarters are located in Los Angeles, CA, with approximately 1000 global members. For more information about VES, please visit or call 310-822-9181.

For information on VES 2004, a Festival of Visual Effects, please visit

About The Art Institutes International Minnesota
Founded in 1964 as Lowthian College, The Art Institutes International Minnesota is a diverse, dynamic institution of higher education whose mission is to educate students for creative careers. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) to award the bachelor of science, and the associate in applied science degree. Bachelor's degrees are offered in culinary management, advertising, graphic design, interior design, media arts & animation, photography, multimedia & Web design, and visual effects & motion graphics. Associate's degree programs are offered in culinary arts, graphic design, interior design, and multimedia & Web design. As of fall 2003, approximately 1160 students attend The Art Institutes International Minnesota, of whom nearly 94 percent are from Minnesota, with the remaining students representing 15 states and 8 foreign countries. The Art Institutes International Minnesota's Web site is located at

The Art Institutes International Minnesota is one of The Art Institutes (, with 30 education institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. The parent company of The Art Institutes, Education Management Corporation ( ) is among the largest providers of private post-secondary education in North America, based on student enrollment and revenue. Student enrollment exceeded 58,000 as of fall 2003. EDMC has 66 primary campus locations in 24 states and two Canadian provinces. EDMC's education institutions offer a broad range of academic programs concentrated in the media arts, design, fashion, culinary arts, behavioral sciences, health sciences, education, information technology and business fields, culminating in the award of associate's through doctoral degrees. EDMC has provided career-oriented education for over 40 years, and its education institutions have more than 150,000 alumni.


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Related Keywords:VES Festival, Visual Effects Society, visual effects, Art Institutes International Minnesota, Ai Minnesota, VFX, Eric Roth,

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