Forget directors, the real stars behind the likes of The Jungle Book and Star Wars are the VFX artists who build their digital worlds. We report from the cutting edge festival offering a glimpse into the secret life of cinema
So I need to know: Are you ready to be transformed? shouts Scott Ross to the 900-strong crowd in the auditorium. They respond with raucous applause. To them, Ross is a legend. He ran George Lucass visual effects company, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) in the 1980s, then founded his own Oscar-winning effects firm with James Cameron. His audience is largely made up of young people looking to follow in his footsteps: animators, video game designers, concept artists, illustrators and effects specialists. These are the people who build the digital worlds where were increasingly spending our leisure time in movies, games, and virtual reality. They are transforming culture and theyve come here to transform themselves, even if theyre not exactly sure what into.
Welcome to Trojan Horse Was a Unicorn. If the name sounds odd, that seems to be the idea. It takes place in Troia, Portugal, an idyllic peninsula just south of Lisbon. Its organisers describe it as Burning Man meets TED Talks, though its equally a spiritual retreat. Students and young professionals come here from across the world, as do big industry names looking to hire new talent, make connections and softly promote their brands brands such as Disney, DreamWorks, Pixar, Google, Oculus (the Facebook-owned VR company), King (the makers of Candy Crush Saga) and Unity (makers of the pre-eminent game engine).