"The Story of Computer Graphics" to Premiere at SIGGRAPH 99
For immediate release
13 May 1999
For further information:
Sheila Hoffmeyer/Ann Kilhoffer
ACM SIGGRAPH premieres its new feature length documentary, "The Story of Computer Graphics," on Sunday, 8 August, from 8:30-10 pm at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles to kick-off the SIGGRAPH 99 conference. SIGGRAPH 99 takes place 8-13 August 1999 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Seating for the premiere is open to all badged attendees on a first availability basis.
The film, shot entirely on state-of-the-art High-Definition Video, follows the 45-year evolution of digital technology to show how everything from weather patterns, flight simulations and surgery to the awe-inspiring animated effects found in classic feature films such as "Jurassic Park," "Terminator II," and "Tron" were produced.
"The history of computer graphics is a rich tapestry, filled with wonderful stories that can inspire us all," said Director Frank Foster. "The documentary spotlights the challenges that have been faced by the technicians, artisans, visionaries, and studios in creating the hardware and software that have literally changed how we visualize the world."
"Our paramount mission -- portraying an accurate historical record and producing a film that would appeal to the broadest possible audience -- has been accomplished," continued Producer Steve Silas. "In movies today almost everything can be created using visual effects, but we wanted to give the average person a perspective on how the technology evolved."
Silas is founder of 213 TV Production and FRESH Video Portfolio, a group of computer animation companies. Foster is a technology specialist at Sony Pictures Imageworks whose film credits include "Jumanj," "Contact," and "Wings of Courage." The documentary was written by Judson Rosebush, founder of Digital Effects Inc. and the Judson Rosebush Co.
The story opens in 1954 when the government first used graphics on a radar screen to identify incoming aircraft into U.S. airspace. It follows the evolution of technology from college campus labs and research centers to industry and the studios of Hollywood. The documentary will use computer footage from the 1950s, some of which has never been shown publicly.
To add the human element to the astounding graphics and visual elements, the film features behind-the-scene interviews with over 50 pioneers in the industry. "These interviews show the intense determination, the mind-bending challenges, and the intrinsic thrill the graphics and animation pioneers experienced bringing digital technology into our lives," said Silas.
"It's an intensely inspiring story."
Among those interviewed for the film are "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, Bell Lab's Ken Knowlton, Pixar's Ed Catmull, Jim Morris from ILM, early scientific visualization researcher Jim Blinn, television computer graphics pioneer Robert Abel, and early film animator Richard Taylor.
The documentary was mastered in High-Definition Video in anticipation of the upcoming broadcast of HDTV. From the HD master, SIGGRAPH producers will have the maximum flexibility for the film's release in various formats, including 35mm, NTSC, and DVD.
In addition to ACM SIGGRAPH, sponsors are Adobe Systems Incorporated, Alias|wavefront, The Art Institutes International, AVW Audio Visual, Be, Inc., Computer Graphics Pioneers, The Computer Museum, Cinesite Visual Effects, Cogswell Polytechnical College, Computer Graphics World, ELSA, Inc., Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation, Fraunhofer IGD and Center for Research in Computer Graphics, Freeman Decorating Company, GW Hannaway & Assoc., Hewlett-Packard Company, Industrial Light & Magic, Intel, Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company, KLiK Animation, Lucent Technologies Bell Labs, Microsoft Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric Research, National Computer Graphics Association, Pinnacle Systems, Pixar Animation Studios, PixelFusion Ltd., Q LTD, Rhythm & Hues, Inc., SONY Pictures Imageworks, SONY High Definition Center, SQUARE USA, and The Walt Disney Company
"The Story of Computer Graphics"
Carl Machover, Executive Producer
Carl Machover serves as co-executive producer of the documentary. Machover, president of the computer graphics consulting firm, Machover Associates Corporation, chairs the documentary's content committee.
John Hart, Executive Producer
John Hart is the executive producer for SIGGRAPH Studios. Hart serves on the SIGGRAPH Executive Committee as Director of Communications and his responsibilities include SIGGRAPH's public image. Hart is an associate professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Washington State University.
Steve Silas, Producer
Steve Silas, founder of 213TV Productions, is an ACE-nominated television producer and director and has created a wide variety of programming for broadcast, cable, and home video. In 1989 he founded FRESH Electronic Publishing and created FRESH Video Portfolio, a video directory of computer graphic animation companies that became a standard industry reference for specialty broadcast CGI buyers. He has recently completed projects for 20th Century Fox, Universal Television, and Hallmark Entertainment.
Frank Foster, Director
Frank Foster is a technology specialist at Sony Pictures Imageworks and has provided consistent leadership in the expanding role of PC and Windows NT multimedia production. His SPI credits include "Striking Distance," "Jumanj," "Wings of Courage," "Speed," and "Contact." Recently he also has created new Internet-based content including an online version of the game show "Jeopardy" and a 3D game based on the film "Starship Troopers."
Joan Collins, Co-Producer
Joan Collins serves as co-producer. A veteran visual effects producer, she has worked on "Starship Troopers," "The Ghost and the Darkness," "Nightmare on Elmstreet," and the 7-part PBS series, "The Astronomers." A long-time SIGGRAPH member, Collins created CG for the OmniMax film "The Magic Egg."
Judson Rosebush, Writer
Judson Rosebush is a director and producer of multimedia projects and computer animation, as well as an author, artist, and media theorist. He founded Digital Effects Inc. in New York (1978-1985), the company that introduced computer animation to the commercial marketplace. His TV credits include directing over 1,000 commercials and logos for major advertising agencies and networks worldwide. Rosebush has served as the American editor of Pixel Vision Magazine and a columnist for CD-ROM Professional.