The Visual Effects Society (VES) has appointed its 2021 board of directors, with Lisa Cooke being elected board chair. She is the first woman to occupy this role in the history of VES.
The five officers, who make up the executive committee of the VES board, were elected at the January 2021 board meeting. They embody the global makeup of VES, drawn from chapters in the United States, New Zealand and London.
“The Company is proud to have exceptional leadership represented on our executive committee,” said Eric Roth, CEO of VES. “This is a passionate and revered group of professionals with a vision for the future of the Company, especially in the midst of this time of dynamic change. We appreciate their commitment to serving our organization and our members around the world.
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“It is a great honor and privilege for me to chair this society of exceptional artists and innovators,” said Lisa Cooke, President of VES. “I am proud to be the first woman to hold this position and I am committed to uplifting our future leaders, so that I am not the last. I look forward to working with the Executive Committee and Board of Directors to support our members in these difficult times and move the work forward to propel the company and the industry forward.
The 2021 leaders of the VES Board of Directors and their biographies can be read below.
Lisa Cooke, President
Lisa Cooke has spent several decades in the entertainment industry as an Animation / FX Industry Producer, Story Consultant, Screenwriter and Actress. Firmly believing that effective science communication is vital to our world, she founded Green Ray Media and, for over ten years, has been producing animation and visual effects to create science, medical and environmental media for wide audiences.
Cooke has worked for entertainment clients such as Lucasfilm, Fox, Nickelodeon Films, ABC, CBS, Paramount and Universal and in the visual effects and animation industry for companies such as Pixar, Digital Animations Group and Tippett Studio . As a Senior Producer at Reardon Studios, she helped bring MOVA Contour Reality Capture to the film industry.
Cooke has also taught history structure at the SF Academy of Art, JFK University, and Ex’pression College, and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild. She served for six years on the Executive Committee of the VES Bay Area Board of Directors and as Chair, before joining the VES Board of Directors, where she is Chair of the Archives Committee. In 2019, she held the position of 2nd Vice President and was 1st Vice-president in 2020. She is honored to preside over the Visual Effects Society in 2021.
Emma Clifton Perry, 1st Vice President
Emma Clifton Perry has over 15 years of experience in feature films, long series / television, commercials and commercials.
Clifton Perry offers a truly global perspective, having lived everywhere from Saudi Arabia to Canada. She has worked both internally with FOX and in VFX installations around the world including WETA Digital, Framestore, MPC, Rising Sun Pictures, DrD, Method Studios and The Mill, among others, as an artist and in leadership roles. She is currently based in Wellington, New Zealand, and provides remote dialing and VFX counseling / conferencing services worldwide. She studied at NCCA, University of Bournemouth, UK.
This is Clifton Perry’s second consecutive term on the Executive Committee, as Second Vice President in 2020. Clifton Perry has served for four consecutive years on the Board of Directors and a cumulative eight years on the Board of Directors of New -Zeeland. She was the second president of the New Zealand branch, serving as president for three years and one year as secretary / treasurer.
David H. Tanaka, 2nd Vice-President
David H. Tanaka has worked in visual effects and animation for over 25 years. For 15 years he worked at Industrial Light & Magic in VFX Editorial on films such as jurassic park, Forrest Gump, and Star wars. He continued to work on Cars, Ratatouille, WALL • E, UP, and Toy story 3 as a Special Projects Editor at Pixar Animation Studios for the next 10 years.
In 2015, in addition to his freelance editing for studios, businesses and private clients, Tanaka served as an editor, VFX supervisor, post-production supervisor and co-executive producer of the independent feature film. Guitar man (currently in festival and awarded for Best Editing and Better image). Tanaka is also an Assistant Professor at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, specializing in editing, production and film history.
David H. Tanaka has been a proud member of the Visual Effects Society for nearly two decades. He served three terms as VES Bay Area Chapter President and one term as Co-Chair. Now in his third term on the VES Board of Directors, he has collaborated on projects ranging from educational outreach and VFX workplace code of conduct standards, to special tributes to VFX artists and the establishment of VFX best editorial practices for the VES Archives Committee.
Jeffrey A. Okun, VES Treasurer
Jeffrey A. Okun, VES, is known for creating ‘organic’ and invisible effects as well as spectacular ‘sprawling’ visual effects that blend seamlessly into the narrative aspect of the project, and has won the VES Award for Outstanding Supporting Visual. Effects for his work on The last Samourai. Okun has also produced various effects in award-winning films such as Alpha, Blood diamond, Stargate, Sphere, red planet, The deep blue sea, Lolita and The Last Starfighter and acclaimed television programs such as Cosmos: possible worlds for National Geographic and Fox TV.
Okun is a member of VES and a recipient of the Founder’s Award. He created and co-edited the VISUAL EFFECTS MANUAL, a Award-winning reference book covering all aspects of creating visual effects, techniques and practices. As chairman of the board of VES for seven years, Okun fostered a global community, focused his attention on the business and creative education of artists, installations and studios, and guided the company to help create a global anti-software piracy alliance with the U.S. government to ensure that all facilities have a level playing field when bidding. He created visual effects auctioning and tracking software widely used in the industry, as well as revolutionary visual effects techniques dubbed “the PeriWinkle effect” and “the pencil effect”.
Okun is a Fellow of the Visual Effects Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Academy of Television Arts and Science, and an Associate Fellow of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).
Gavin Graham, Secretary
Gavin Graham is the Managing Director of DNEG Montreal. He spent nearly 20 years of his 21-year career at DNEG, having also worked for MPC and Cinesite. Originally an FX artist, with a background in computer science, he also created tools and worked in development in the field of simulation and rendering. He has FX and CG Supervisor credits on projects such as Stardust, 2012, several films in the Harry potter franchise and Captain America: The First Avenger.
In 2011, he held a leadership role at DNEG, first as London Head of 3D, then as Global Head of CG, before moving to Montreal to take up his current role in 2019.
Graham joined the VES Board of Directors in 2019 and previously served as Secretary during his six years on the London Chapter Board.