Introducing the real stars behind your favourite movies

When it comes to films like Star Wars, The Jungle Book, and Lord of the Rings, the real heroes of the making of the films are not the directors. The reality is, the VFX (visual effects) artists are the real stars of the shows. And the recent Cutting Edge Festival brought many of them to the forefront.

Followers of legends aspire to be great

Scott Ross is a legend. Former manager of the George Lucas visual effects company, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) back in the eighties, he went on to open up his own Oscar-winning company, in collaboration with actor James Cameron. Also, he has a massive following of animators, video game designers, concept artists, effects specialists, and illustrators who want to follow in his footsteps. These followers are the people who will, in the future, transform the real world into one of virtual reality, both in the movies and in games.

Cutting Edge is the start of many careers

In the film, “Trojan Horse was a Unicorn”, which was shot in an idyllic location in Portugal, the whole concept of the movie first took shape inside the heads of the VFX artists. Described variously as “Burning man meets TED talks”, and a “spiritual retreat for the soul”, many of the illustrators and young professionals started their journey into VFX from the Cutting Edge Festival, attending in the hopes of finding big industry names who will hire them, and look to meet fresh new talent. Big industry names such as Pixar, Google, Oculus, DreamWorks, and even Disney attend the festival ready for the next big idea person to come along.

Now in its fifth year of festivals

The festival is not a fair, nor a conference, nor even really a festival. It has been described by the organizers as an “experience”, and where you come to change your life in the world of films and VFX. The event was launched in 2012, by Andre Luis, the force behind the creative THU. Initially, it was intended to help Portuguese students get a foot into the global market, and has increased by more than 600 percent since the first year, in terms of attendance.

A big percentage of a movie is digital

Much of what is shown in movies now is digital, or digitally enhanced, even in those that look to be what is known as “live action”. Originally, the art of VFX was the concern of Hollywood films, but with the adaptation of the J.K. Rowling’s books, the Harry Potter series, into movies, the United Kingdom became one of the world’s centres of VFX, employing more than 6,000 people in the industry. The London office of ILM was responsible for the supervision of the blockbuster hit movies, Jurassic World 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

VFX artists are highly regarded

With much of the effects on the screens of big movies being digital, these VFX artists are becoming increasingly sought after in the world of big-budget movies, with artists now being able to render digital images that are indistinguishable from the real thing. One prime example of that is the photorealistic Jungle Book, where the animals looked and moved exactly like their real-world counterparts.

h/t: The Guardian
Also available on