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SPARK VFX '08 Visual Effects Festival

Vancouver ACM SIGGRAPH and the Vancity Theatre are proud to present the SPARK VFX ?08 Film Festival. Featuring a selection of cinema's most influential visual effects (VFX) films, and film industry veteran speakers, SPARK celebrates the history of innovation in VFX. The films have been chosen from the "VES 50", a list of the 50 most influential and inspiring VFX films as selected by the Visual Effects Society.
SPARK begins on January 30th with the panel "Celebrating Innovation and Inspiration in Visual Effects." Larry Bafia (Mars Attacks) hosts a panel of VFX professionals including Academy Award winner Ed Jones (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Raiders of the Lost Ark).
More panels to be announced. Please check or for details.


January 31, 7:00pm
USA 1933 // Director: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack // 104 min // DVD
The original and classic film from RKO studios, King Kong is the story of a film crew's journey to the South Pacific where they discover a giant gorilla, who takes a shine to their leading lady. It's fuelled by groundbreaking stop-motion animation work by Willis O'Brien, a teacher and mentor of Ray Harryhausen's. We can still see his influence today in the age of computer animation, where Aardman entertainment has continued the stop-motion tradition.
Introduction by Ken Priebe, author of The Art of Stop-Motion Animation
January 31, 9:30pm
USA 1963 // Director: Don Chaffey // 104 min // 35mm
Ray Harryhausen's masterpiece, starring Todd Armstrong as the legendary Greek hero Jason as he leads his men on a quest for the golden fleece. The stop-motion technique dubbed "Dynamation" was created to allow stop-motion and live action characters to be combined in a single shot. This technique was a precursor of what is commonly done by computer today using compositing software, but in 1963 it was done manually using film projection and printing techniques mixed with painstaking labour.
Introduction by Ken Priebe, author of The Art of Stop-Motion Animation.


February 1, 7:00
USA 1982 // Director: Ridley Scott // 117 min // 35mm
Initially a box-office dud, Ridley Scott's sci-fi noir has gone on to become an enormous cult hit. As Decker, Harrison Ford tracks down androids who have escaped their own programming in an attempt to live a more human life. Syd Mead's designs were brought to life by a fabulous team of effects artists, and the resulting vision created a legacy of influence in cinema and video games alike
February 1, 9:15
USA 1977 // Director: Steven Spielberg // 135 min // 35mm
Although somewhat eclipsed by Star Wars, Spielberg's tale of UFOs, obsession and wonder helped to forever change visual effects. Roy Arbogast's on-set effects, coupled with Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich's use of lit models in smoke, created a new style of awe in the midst of an everyman's suburban crisis. The climactic appearance of the alien mothership over the real-life Devil's Tower never fails to astonish.


February 2, 7:00
USA 1982 // Director: Steven Lisberger // 96 min // 35mm
Steven Lisberger's video game inspired sci-fi adventure was one of the first films to use computer-generated effects. The story follows Kevin Flynn, a computer hacker who gets digitized and sucked into an enormous mainframe, where he meets other digital beings who band together to overthrow the evil "Master Control Program."
Introduced by animator and programmer Frank Vitz.
Sponsored by Black Box Studios, a division of Electronic Arts.
February 2, 9:15
USA 1999 // Directors: Andy and Larry Wachowski // 136 min // 35mm
The first and best of the Wachowskis' effects-fuelled dystopian epics. Among its many advances, The Matrix introduced the concept of bullet time, and pioneered some amazing environmental modelling and rendering techniques. As visually rich as any graphic novel, it won four Oscars including best visual and audio effects.
George Burshukov, who researched and developed bullet time, will introduce.
Sponsored by Black Box Studios, a division of Electronic Arts.


February 3, 7:00
USA 1981 // Director: Steven Spielberg // 115 min // 35mm
The return of the great adventure, Raiders was the first collaboration between George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, and a sign of things to come. ILM provided the effects work—almost all practical and optical, as Raiders was one of the last blockbusters produced with little digital input. Melting heads and flying spirits were all produced using practical effects.
Introduction by Ed Jones
February 3, 9:30
USA 1993 // Director: Steven Spielberg // 127 min // 35mm
In many ways, Jurassic Park is the child prodigy of King Kong. Stop-motion animation techniques, which used metal skeletons inside plasticine models, were the direct inspiration for the computer-based inverse kinematics skeletal animation system developed by Softimage and used to great effect by Phil Tippett and ILM to bring the dinosaurs to life. Tippett's team also went on to build a mechanical puppet armature called the "Dinosaur Input Device."


February 4, 7:00
USA 1968 // Director: Stanley Kubrick // 160 min // 35mm
Kubrick's poetic masterwork came out in the middle of the Cold War space race, one year before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Kubrick hired former NASA designers and futurists to help art direct the film, giving the design a realism and attention to function and form that stands the test of time. Groundbreaking effects included front projection techniques that were the precursor to modern green screening and Douglas Trumbull's "Slit Scan," creating the "Star Gate."

Official Vancouver Siggraph site:
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Tickets to the speakers and panels are available on-line at .
Call the Starbucks Hotline 604.683.FILM (3456) for the latest info and listings. Tickets can be purchased in advance on-line at or in person 30 minutes before showtime.
Adult tickets: $9.50
Student/Senior $7.50
Matinees $7.50
Bronze and above members receive a $2 discount on their tickets. (Double Bill - $10)
Silver and above members also receive a $2 discount for a guest ticket.
As a registered non-profit society, the VIFC screens films that have not always been seen by the BC Film Classification Board. Under BC law, any person wishing to see these unclassified films must belong to the VIFC Society and be 18 years or older. Valid for one year based on the date of purchase, the VIFC basic membership cost is $12, but includes the ticket price of your first film.
Please note that membership benefits and restrictions are valid for VIFC presentations only. They are not applicable to Vancity Theatre "Rental" presentations by other organizations.
For More Membership Information go to
Vancity Theatre is located at 1181 Seymour St. (at Davie)


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