Society features

Pixar’s Pete Docter Among 2022 Visual Effects Society Honorees

VFX Educator Pam Hogarth and Pixar’s Pete Docter were among this year’s winners Visual Effects Company Honors Celebration.

The in-person ceremony took place Oct. 14 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, Calif., where VES members celebrated the accomplishments of their colleagues and the organization’s 25th anniversary.

Docter, Pixar’s chief creative officer best known for directing “Monsters, Inc.”, “Up,” “Inside Out” and “Soul,” was honored as this year’s honorary member.

“It was a dream of mine to join VES without having to pay,” Docter joked in his acceptance speech. “I had one overriding obsession: selling insurance. But instead, I found a job in animation… To everyone at Pixar, who would have dreamed that one day I would have the chance to work alongside hundreds of incredibly talented people using the latest cutting-edge technology – all to avoid dealing with real life.”

Docter also thanked Pixar President Jim Morris, who presented him with the honorary award.

“Jim taught me so much about storytelling, about running a studio,” Docter said of the founding president of VES. “He’s an incredible leader, a wonderful producer and always ready to step in to do whatever it takes.”

At the ceremony, Hogarth received a lifetime membership as well as this year’s Founders Award.

“The reason we are here is for the community. That’s what it all comes down to, and I think it always comes down to that,” Hogarth said. “We do this because we love the people around us in the Society. Only the community is much bigger now, and it continues to grow, which is wonderful to see.

While Hogarth praised the Society’s first-ever board to include all women, she added that the organization should always strive to increase diversity and inclusion.

“Looking around the room, it looks better. Not much better, but better,” she said. “As a society – that is, uppercase society and lowercase society – we can do better and we should for diversity; not just with gender, but in all areas.

In addition to Hogarth, 2022 Lifetime Membership recipients included Jeff Barnes, Patricia “Rose” Duignan, Toni Pace Carstensen, Eric Roth and David Tanaka.

Tanaka also became a new VES Fellow, along with Tony Clark, Jeff Kleiser, Gene Kozicki, and Rick Sayre. Visual effects veterans Mary Ellen Bute, Alice Guy-Blache, Grace Hopper, George Pal and Bill Kovacs have been inducted into the VES Hall of Fame.

In honor of Roth, the longtime executive director of VES who retired after 19 years at the helm, Board Chair Lisa Cooke announced the new Roth Virtual Museum of Visual Effects, which will “preserves the legacy of our industry for generations to come”.

“Under Eric’s leadership, the Society has grown from an organization of approximately 750 people – primarily located in California – to a thriving global community with approximately 4,500 members in 25 countries and 14 chapters worldwide,” said Cooke.

She added, “Eric leaves an indelible mark on our Company.”