Vancouver Enterprise Forum

The Changing Face of Vancouver's Film Industry - A Look at the Rapid Growth of Animation and Visual Effects Studios, October 23rd

  • 23 Oct 2012
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC)
  • 0


  • A $200 membership includes registration to 8 events during one year membership. Tickets are individual (holder only) and non-transferable.
    Guest tickets must be purchased separately.
Video now posted of this event:

Pre-registration now closed.  

Some tickets available on the door priced $50. Held at Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street.  Doors open 5pm, main presentation at 6pm.

Vancouver's film industry has long been associated with studio sets, location shoots and heavily staffed production crews. The new face of Vancouver's film industry is characterized by production studios in trendy neigbourhoods, where animation and visual effects artists create the dazzling imagery for Hollywood's biggest films.

In the past few years alone, most of Hollywood's major studios have either established a new office in Vancouver or grown their local footprint. Now home to studios who have produced such films as Transformers, Avatar, Harry Potter, Men in Black, Twilight and Spider-Man, Vancouver rivals London and Los Angeles as a global film hub.

Moderated by Bryant Pike, Senior Manager of Canadian Media and Entertainment at Ernst & Young, the discussion will feature answers to some of the following:

- How does Vancouver's talent measure up on a global scale?
- Are new graduates prepared for the workforce?
- What key technologies are used to create visual effects?
- Have budgets grown or shrunk over the past 5 years?
- How has local government helped or hindered growth?
- What can be done to keep things moving on an upward trend?

Panelists confirmed to date include:

Rick Mischel, Senior Vice-President of Satellite Production at Sony Pictures Imageworks
Jason Dowdeswell, Head of Production at Digital Domain
Anne Denman, Director HR & Recruitment at Nerd Corps Entertainment
Michelle Grady, Head of Film at MPC
Shawn Walsh, Visual Effects Executive Producer at Image Engine

Lightning Pitch Opportunities

We invite companies/individuals to apply for Lightning Pitches.  Ideal for early stage companies looking to raise funds or create visibility.  The places are strictly controlled, 100 second time slots at the beginning of the VEF presentation. Apply through our website:

Bryant Pike - Ernst & Young
Bryant returned to professional practise with Ernst & Young after spending seven years as a senior financial executive in the film/television and animation sectors in Vancouver.

He spent 4 years as CFO of Rainmaker Entertainment (listed on the TSX) in Vancouver where he oversaw the financial operations of the studio as it produced both theatrical and made for DVD computer generated (CG) animated films. 

Prior to that he was the CFO of a local live action film studio where he assisted in the production and financing of more 25 films and 2 televisions series. Bryant has extensive experience in the film finance field as well as operational experience relating to full service digital and production studios. In addition, he has extensive expertise with the various Canadian and Provincial production tax credit incentives.        
Rick Mischel - Sony Pictures Imageworks
 Rick Mischel is Senior Vice President, Satellite Production for Sony Pictures Imageworks. Mischel launched and now manages the animation/vfx facility for Sony Pictures Imageworks in Vancouver. The Vancouver facility has grown from an initial 60 Artists to over 200 Artists.  Sony Pictures Imageworks is the division of Sony Pictures Entertainment that produces Sony’s feature-length CGI animated motion pictures, e.g. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, as well as visual effects for feature films.  

Prior to his position at Sony, Mischel served as executive vice president of Technicolor, leading their Business Unit that specializes in the creation of digital assets for the gaming and the animation industry, as well as managing the overall joint venture with Dreamworks Animation in India. Mischel supervised both a Burbank-based team of artists and liaisoned with Technicolor’s India-based animation studio, Paprikaas.  With over 750 artists in Burbank and Bangalore, India, this business unit supplies animation and game services to clients like Activision, Konami, Nickelodeon, and Warner Brothers, including Audio, Localization, and Art & Animation content.

Prior to Technicolor, Mischel served as founder and president of REACH GAMES offering digital creation services to the games industry.

Previously, Mischel served as CEO of Mainframe Entertainment, a publicly-traded CGI animation studio specializing in television series, direct-to-video features, and gaming animation.  Before Mainframe, Mischel served as President and COO of The Harvey Entertainment Company, where he was in charge of managing the business and creative affairs for some of the most lucrative intellectual properties in the family entertainment world, including "Casper The Friendly Ghost" and "Richie Rich."  

Mischel began his career as an entertainment attorney with O'Melveny & Myers in 1987.  Two years later, Mischel joined Electric Pictures Corporation as a vice president and was responsible for the development of feature film projects.  From 1993 to 1997, Mischel served as the senior vice president of Live Entertainment, responsible for the acquisition, development and production of all completed feature films, co-productions and co-financing film projects, as well as all animated direct-to-video features, television specials and other Family Home Entertainment (FHE) branded children's programs.

Jason Dowdeswell - Digital Domain
 Jason Dowdeswell is known for his major contributions on blockbuster hits such as The Thing, Battleship, Twilight, Salt and Night at the Museum. He has worked in many studios including Image Engine, Rainmaker, Boss Film, Sony ImageWorks and ILM and has had a diverse career in the film industry. 

He is currently the Head of Production Digital Domain Vancouver and actively involved in the Visual Effects community, both locally and abroad.

Anne Denman, Nerd Corps Entertainment
 As the Director of HR & Recruitment for Nerd Corps Entertainment, Anne has made it her mission to build-up the company’s ranks with the best and brightest talent in the industry. To support Nerd Corps’ position as a 360-degree IP creation and management house, the top priority lies in building a solid storytelling foundation, and unique and innovative execution for every new property.  Anne takes a unique “creative first” approach to recruitment where knowing the artistsundefinedtheir blue-sky dreams, their skills and strengthsundefinedaids in finding the best talent to develop Nerd Corps’ slate of award winning series from inception through production, interactive development, marketing and licensing.

Anne has an extensive background in the animation industry that spans over two decades. Most recently, she led the HR and Recruitment team at DHX Media Vancouver (formerly Studio B Productions) for four years. Her roster of credits includes Kid vs Kat, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Martha Speaks, Littlest Pet Shop and Badly Drawn Roy. 

Prior to that, she managed the Vancouver Film School Classical Animation Department for seven years and worked on the inaugural Platform International Animation Festival in Oregon. Anne cut her teeth at one of Vancouver’s earliest animation houses, International Rocketship Limited, where she worked on numerous Indie productions such as the award-winning animated short film, Gary Larson’s Tales from the Far Side.

Michelle Grady, MPC
Michelle's career has evolved over the years, mirroring the expansion and progress of the Vancouver film industry.

Throughout the years, Michelle has worked at various facilities  involved in a broad range of  television and feature film projects. Michelle joined Technicolor in 2004 where she went on to become VP of Technicolor’s full service post production facility overseeing a 35mm film laboratory, digital post production and DI facility, as well as a VFX division.

In 2007, Michelle joined MPC to open their Vancouver location. The facility began with 35 artists and, 5 years later, the work force is 250 strong.
MPC’s credits include Watchmen, Sucker Punch, Jack The Giant Killer, Fast Five, Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows, Life Of Pi, and Man Of Steel.

Membership: consider becoming a VEF Member, attend 8 events at no extra charge for an annual fee of $200. VEF also offers Corporate Memberships, all details featured on our website: VEF.

Shawn Walsh, Image Engine
 As Visual Effects Executive Producer and Partner, Shawn’s expertise lies in the crucial areas of creative production, maintaining the company’s excellent client relations and producing winning bids.

Originating as a 3D character animator in 1996, Shawn brings many years experience in the visual effects and animation industry, including several years abroad where he honed his skills as a Senior Lighting Technical Director and Compositor at Rhythm and Hues, The Moving Picture Company and ESC Entertainment. During this time his credits include The Matrix: Revolutions; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Kingdom of Heaven and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

He joined Image Engine in 2005 and has since built up an impressive roster of credits including The Incredible Hulk; District 9; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Immortals and is currently working on Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium as the Visual Effects Producer. A ‘hands on’ producer, he employs his broad creative knowledge to enhance projects throughout their life span at the studio.

Shawn plays an instrumental role in leading new business opportunities in feature film, developing new production methodologies and managing the global marketing of Image Engine's film division. Shawn has had a crucial role in securing projects from a diverse range of clientele including Marvel Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures, 20th Century Fox, WingNut Films, Summit Entertainment and Media Rights Capital.

Shawn also dedicates his time to cultivating Vancouver’s emerging VFX talent and regularly passes on his expertise in guest-speaking sessions at the Vancouver Film School.

The Vancouver Enterprise Forum (VEF) is the premier networking forum for technology entrepreneurs. The VEF holds eight events each year - usually on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Participation at a VEF event provides attendees with personal connections, assistance with the identification of industry partnerships, academic faculty, management talent, financial agencies/investors and educational resources for developing and growing enterprises in British Columbia.  

Pre-registration tickets are $45.00 each, door registration tickets are $50.00 (if available).

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