Two weeks ago, Diana Nikitina (4VFX ), Jehiel Abel (4Anim) and Nicolas Lourme (4CG) headed to Stuttgart, Germany to represent ArtFx at the 2016 FMX conference.



On the road : Distorting Reality



We ran into Anthony Mimoz (3D) at the airport and after a little encouragement from the ever-persuasive Diana, he started showing us a few magic tricks.  Using the art of distraction and some impressive English skills he succeeded in helping us (and some people sitting nearby) pleasantly pass the time as we waited to board the flight to Paris.



Separate Realities

In slight contrast to the FMX 2016 theme, Jehiel, Diana and Nicolas spent their time exploring technological developments in the industry while I went ‘behind-the-scenes’ to meet with VFX studio recruiters and digital art school representatives.  Below is a summary of my experiences.  See Hellblade: Creating Virtual Human and Virtual Reality in Film making for the techy-oriented highlights!



A cold, hard reality

Stuttgart was unseasonably cold this year.  Gone were the days of previous years when I sat outside eating lunch and soaking in my daily dose of vitamin D between meetings.  Instead, I spent my first night trying to sleep in a 10°C AirBnB apartment.  For me, this one night without heat was one night too many.  So, I split my second day in Germany between resolving this issue and visiting the Filmakademie School campus.

There I am, all bundled up and still cold from the previous night, at the start of the tour.


Crédit photo : Dominique Brewing and Peter Hacker


Fortunately, after the tour was over, I was able to dash back to Stuttgart and meet with the apartment manager.  He had to do fair bit of tinkering, but eventually he fixed the heater.  Next time, I’ll be sure to check that as soon as I arrive.



Expanding Reality : “Massive Inspiration…that’s why we come to FMX.” 

Tony Smith, Plymouth College of Art


As part of FMX 2016, the 2nd annual Animation Schools Exchange meeting was held on the morning of Thursday, April 28th.  There were over 30 of us in the room, representing schools like The Animation Workshop, Les Gobelins, Plymouth College of Art, ESMA, etc.  Each of us took turns echoing our school’s desire to create eye-opening and perspective broadening experiences for our students.


The Animation Schools Exchange was established to help schools build ongoing and mutually beneficial exchanges.  However, the development of connections, across various borders and educational structures has raised practical questions like, ‘How can we facilitate communications among schools?’, ‘How can we determine which programs are compatible?’ and ‘What types of meaningful exchanges can we develop outside of ERASMUS?’.  Despite these complications, the goal of establishing moments of massive inspiration keeps us motivated to work towards finding solutions.


At the close of this year’s three-hour meeting, everyone agreed to focus on 2-week to 2-month teacher exchange opportunities as a preliminary step.  Our Filmakademie hosts also accepted the responsibility of establishing a group email to facilitate the announcement of these exchange offers and requests.


Crédit photo Dominique Brewing and Peter Hacker


After the official meeting, I caught up with Anja Perl, 3rd year production supervisor at The Animation Workshop.  Anja is basically The Animation Workshop’s equivalent of Sandrine Hauducoeur.  And similar Sandrine, she’s a people person with a warm personality and an unparalleled amount of energy.

I first met Anja in February 2015 during a visit of The Animation Workshop’s campus.




Since then, she and I have chatted during and around the FMX conferences about our respective programs and possible future collaborations.  This year, Anja also introduced me to The Animation Workshop’s General Director, Morten Thorning.  After a brief, but enthusiastic conversation, it was decided that Morten and his Department Director, Tim Leborgne, would come visit ArtFx in the fall.


Wrapping up & heading back to reality

While milling around the conference stands and events, we had the nice surprise of crossing paths with ArtFx alums Stephane Lugiery (class of 2015) and Olivier Desmonds (class of 2013).


As a final treat, over a Swabian lunch of Kaiserspaetzle and Maultaschen, Yohann Gouraud (class of 2014) chatted with us about his experiences at The Mill, working on the Chemical Bros. music video and life in London.  After lunch, we made a mad dash to the airport and boarded the plane mere minutes before take-off.