December 01, 2009

Tata Elxsi's Visual Computing Labs expands Hollywood presence

Adds Oscar-winner Joel Hynek, BAFTA nominee Tricia Ashford and industry veteran Treva Blue to team; sets up studio in Los Angeles

Mumbai: Tata Elxsi, part of India’s giant, the Tatas, today announced the addition of visual effects’ (VFX) industry veterans Joel Hynek, Tricia Ashford and Treva Blue to their team. The trio will operate the Los Angeles arm of the company’s division Visual Computing Labs (VCL), as part of its strategy to greatly expand its presence in Hollywood. The three will lead VFX production for VCL in the US and work in tandem with VCL’s studio in Mumbai.
VCL’s newly set up studio, located in Santa Monica, LA is designed for US based film and television production companies, specifically shaping its services to suit client needs through all stages of production. Significant economies for clients will be achieved via sharing of work between VCL’s Mumbai and US facilities.
Speaking about VCL’s new studio, Madhukar Dev, managing director, Tata Elxsi said, “It is yet another milestone for Tata Elxsi and a proud moment for us. The expansion of our presence in the US by setting up a full-fledged studio there is a big step in our efforts to become a truly globalised organisation. The entertainment industry, be it in India or the US, thrives on the quality of creative talent and it is our endeavour to leverage upon the best of both worlds and deliver world-class results in VFX and animation.”
S Nagarajan, chief operating officer of VCL, said, “Hollywood has long been envisioned as a key part of our global growth strategy. We are delighted to have added to our family three of visual effects field’s most accomplished professionals. The combined attributes of the trio and our large and talented team in India will help VCL offer the entertainment industry a truly unique package of high-end and cost-effective VFX service options.”
Pankaj Khandpur, creative director of VCL, said, “This relationship is a natural part of VCL’s evolution, as we climb up the value chain. Apart from the synergies that all of us will derive, we believe the Indian film industry will benefit too, with the credibility, experience and exposure that Joel, Tricia and Treva bring to the table. Truly, VCL’s whole will be much greater than the sum of its parts.”
Joel Hynek, one of the most accomplished visual effects supervisors in the industry, said, “With demand for high-end VFX ever increasing and budget constraints getting ever tighter, VCL is poised to provide an ideal solution. Tata Elxsi is a world-class organisation and I am proud to be part of the family.” Mr Hynek received an Academy Award as lead visual effects supervisor on What Dreams May Come and received a second Academy Award for scientific and technical achievement, honouring his optical printer design. He was also nominated for the Academy Award as VFX supervisor on Predator. His additional credits as visual effects supervisor include The Mummy: Tomb of the Emperor Dragon, Jumper, XXX, Stealth, Bless the Child, Eraser, Judge Dredd, Ladyhawke, Predator 1 and  2, Die Hard With a Vengeance and Zelig, for which he was nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award. He has served in senior production positions at VFX studios including Digital Domain, Manex, Mass Illusions, R/Greenberg Associates and The Trumbull Company. He is also a member of the visual effects executive committee at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and on the board of the Visual Effects Society.
Tricia Ashford, a vastly experienced visual effects producer/ supervisor with over 25 years standing said, “This strategy always made sense to me. After my time spent with VCL, at all levels, I am convinced that this is the ideal solution to the industry’s requirements. I am delighted to be part of VCL.” Ms Ashford was previously the head of production for R/Greenberg Associates (R/GA) Los Angeles’ VFX and design studios, where she worked with many of the industry’s best artists and supervisors, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Rygiel, Eric Allard, Gene Warren Junior, and Craig Barron. She has experience as both executive producer (head of production) at the facility side and as VFX producer/ supervisor for large projects including Vertical Limit, Independence Day, Braveheart and Mortal Kombat.. Ms Ashford has also received Best Visual Effects’ nominations for Independence Day and for Vertical Limit,  from BAFTA.
Treva Blue, a veteran of more than a decade within the motion picture trailer business and widely regarded as one of the true experts in the market, added, “I am thrilled to be part of an exceptional business group like Tata and their expansion plans in the visual effects space in the US.” Ms Blue has produced hundreds of trailers including Harry Potter 1 through 4, Ice Age, Star Wars episodes 1 through 3, Lord of the Rings 1 through 3, Poseidon and all three films in the Matrix trilogy. Earlier at Pacific Title, she built their digital trailer department from the ground up, and started DI operations thereby providing clients a one-stop shop capable of handling all facets of finishing feature film campaigns. During her career she has worked with some of Hollywood’s leading directors and cinematographers including Quentin Tarantino, Frank Darabont, Steven Spielberg and others, as well as studio marketing executives throughout the industry.

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