Voile Noir (Class of 2012 production) is officially in competition for a 2013 VES Awards within the ‘student project’ category. The prestigious VES Awards ceremony, considered the Oscars of the special effects world, will occur on February 5th in Los Angeles.
The film’s directors: Michael Balthazart, Raphaël Gaudin, Clément Granjon De Lepinay and Quentin Sauvinet, graduated in June 2012 and are now working in studios in Paris, London and (soon) Australia. In the following interview, they will talk to us about their nomination and their professional careers.


Voile Noir - Michael Balthazart, Raphaël Gaudin, Clément Granjon De Lepinay et Quentin Sauvinet


You have been nominated by the VES awards in Los Angeles: Congratulations! This is a very pleasant surprise, I imagine.


Michael : I learned of the nomination through my job at The Mill. I was looking at the list of nominees in the different categories and I first came across the nomination of Guiness : Cloud created by the current Lead at The Mill (Editor’s note: ‘Commercial or Broadcast Program’ category). So, I called him to congratulate him. We continued looking at the long list of nominees together and finally I discovered that Voile Noir was listed under the student category. It was a real surprise! Then, the Lead, followed by a few other colleagues, congratulated me. Seeing Voile Noir written on this immense list was truly gratifying. Based on the level of the competition, the actual award is far from being won, but the nomination alone is a real reward.VES Awards  © Visual Effects Society
Raphaël : I learned of the nomination while I was at work at MPC. A Production Coordinator asked me if I had worked on Voile Noir. I said, ‘Yes.’ and she congratulated me for the VES nomination. This is how I realized we had been nominated. Several colleagues and supervisors from my department also came to congratulate me. It was extremely satisfying. I had no idea such a surprise would be waiting for me when I woke up and left for work that morning!
Clément : Seeing our names among the four other student films nominated for the VES awards was a real treat. There are so many student films created each year; obtaining an international nomination is very encouraging and proves that the film really pleased the professionals in our field.
Quentin : Our VES nomination is a very gratifying and unexpected distinction. We never thought we would get it, so this is an extreme pleasure. As students, we dreamed of having our work recognized and promoted in this way.


Voile Noir was diffused during the 2012 graduation jury. Did this film have any influence on the beginning of your career?


Michael : Voile Noir definitely had an influence on my career. The film was deeply appreciated by The Mill, which was looking for a CG Generalist at that moment. My profile corresponded to their other needs as well, so they contacted me directly after the jury and offered me a job which I immediately accepted. I have always followed the work of this company so I couldn’t have hoped for more than to begin my career there! The online publication of Voile Noir didn’t stir up a lot of interest, at least not more than the other special effects films that were released around the same time. The subject that we deal with in this film speaks to a rather limited audience, so we weren’t very surprised. However, Voile Noir did help us find jobs and make our entrance into this professional world which, for me, is the most important thing.
Raphaël : Yes, Voile Noir had an influence on the start of my career since half of my demoreel is dedicated to the work that I did on this film.
Clément : I don’t think that Voile Noir had a specific influence on the start of my career, but it did help me choose an interesting and stable position.
Quentin : The film had a ‘spring-board’ effect which was different for each of us. The first couple of weeks, even the first couple of months, were very calm. For me, I began my career in a small company (Bandito VFX) based in Winchester, in the south of England. I worked for two months on a documentary recreating several historical battles, including some focused on the dogfights during World War II. So, Voile Noir directly influenced this project.
Voile Noir - ArtFx promotion 2012


It has been 6 months now since you’ve graduated. Where are you in your professional lives?


Michael : I am still working at The Mill in London as a CG Artist. I’ve worked on commercials for Honda, Kia, Johnny Walker and most recently Audi. I have therefore had the opportunity to work on very interesting projects surrounded by very talented artists. The working conditions at The Mill are ideal for me.
Raphaël : For the moment, I’m working at MPC as a Lighting TD and I’m very happy. I just finished 47 Ronin and I worked on the upcoming Gore Verbinski film, The Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger trailer is in theaters now.
Clément : I am currently working for Mécanique Générale as a Modeling/Texturing Artist. I have plenty of work and that pleases me.
Quentin : Right now, I am at WorldWideFX (who worked on the Expendables 2, among others) in Bulgaria where I’m creating smoke, debris, and spark effects on Olympus Has Fallen. In two weeks, I will head to Australia to work at Iloura (known in part for Ted) for a few months as an FX Artist. So, I think my career is continuing to move in the right direction and I’m thrilled about this. The projects are interesting and travelling has given me an opportunity to meet people and discover new techniques.


Thank you Michael, Raphaël, Clément and Quentin for this interview.


Voile Noir

Diffused for the 1st time during the 2012 graduation jury, Voile Noir tells the story of Allan and Yvan, two pilots who are on a mission to overthrow the establishment.


Directors of the film
Michael Balthazart : Project Lead, Modeling, Texturing/Lighting and Compositing (his website)
Raphaël Gaudin : Shading, Lighting and Compositing (his Vimeo page)
Clément Granjon De Lepinay : Modeling and Texturing(his website)
Quentin Sauvinet : FX and Animation (his website)


Student Freelancers associated with the film : Arnaud Boudon (Compositing/Matchmoving), Lucas Girault (Compositing/Matchmoving), Jérémy Flandrin (Mattepainting), Simon Alexis (Tool Programming) and Akriti Bacha (Animation).


Music / Sound Effects / Final Mix : Stéphane Dudzinski.


Voile Noir from ArtFx on Vimeo.

Making-Of Voile Noir from ArtFx on Vimeo.


VES Awards

The VES Awards are the Oscars of the special effects world. The Visual Effects Society (VES) brings together different players from within the special effects sector: supervisors, digital artists, designers, directors, producers, etc.
Each year the VES Awards recognizes the best visual effects produced for film, animation series, television, advertising, and video games.
The 11th edition of this ceremony will be held on February 5 in Los Angeles.
Consult the list of nominees (24 categories) on the Visual Effects Society website.



[small_button]English version by Danielle Harrell, English teacher for ArtFx[/small_button]