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It’s Not ALL Smoke and Mirrors: Going to the Movies With Visual Effects Pros

If you’ve ever wondered—perhaps even out loud, in the middle of a rather intense scene, in an exceedingly crowded movie theater—how the production crew pulled off a particularly visually stunning effect, now is your chance to ask without getting “shhhhhshhhed.” As part of Animation Capture and Effects Lab’s film series, visual effects professionals—the magicians behind the movies—are actually joining theaters full of fans to watch some of their best work…and yes, they’ll even take questions.

This week, the film series feature is Ridley Scott’s 2000 hit, “Gladiator.” Prior to the screening, the audience will be joined (video link) by John Nelson, who won an Academy Award as the visual effects supervisor of the film.

The ACE Lab screens about three films per term. And, while the schedule is perpetually in flux—in order to connect with some of the industry’s best—the latest, movie/moviemaker event is typically announced about a week or so in advance.

Over the last few years, audiences have been treated to insider experiences with John Berton, a professor in Westphal’s Digital Media program who was the visual effects supervisor of “The Mummy” and “I, Robot”; “The Lego Movie” animation director, Rob Coleman, and CGI supervisor, Miles Green; Nick Jushchyshyn, program director of Westphal’s Digital Media program and the technical director of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”; visual effects supervisor for “Interstellar,” Jeff Jasper; and Jeremy Fernsler, a digital media professor and digital effects artist for “The Road.”

The screenings are held in Drexel’s URBN Center, and they are free and open to the Drexel community with ID. Thursday Nov. 12’s Gladiator event will begin at 7 p.m.

Rumor has it that some of the next film/filmmaker features could be “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Ted,” “Life of Pi,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “Ratatouille.” But keep an eye on and follow @drexelwestphal on Twitter to get the scoop.

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