The team of The Beauty brought home a VES Award in the "Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project" category. Aleksandra Todorovic, one of the two producers of The Beauty tells us how it feels to be on the stage of one of the film industry's most renowned awards shows.
This year's 18th Annual Visual Effects Awards, or VES Awards as they are also known in the industry, are among the world's most renowned awards ceremonies, honoring the year's best VFX creations. Alongside the major categories which regularly nominate many well-known Hollywood projects, it also offers a student project section. Our diploma project The Beauty was nominated together with three other student projects in this “Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project” category.
The awards ceremony took place on January 29, 2020 at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, a location famous for hosting the yearly Golden Globe Awards ceremony. Once again, the really big players of the visual effects scene met there. We were extremely happy when we discovered our film had been nominated, and five of us traveled to Hollywood. We could hardly wait to be part of this event!
The day of the ceremony was very exciting and full of impressions. The dress code was “black tie”, as seen in other red-carpet events: ladies in fascinating evening gowns and gents wearing tuxedos. Having arrived at the Beverly Hilton, we attended a reception at 5:30 pm and picked up the tickets booked in advance. The line leading to the photo wall was very long, but we couldn't resist the opportunity to have our picture taken (for eternity). Once everyone had their photos and selfies in the bag, we treated ourselves to a martini before being asked to take our seats in the hall. Around one of the big round tables, we immediately got into conversations with representatives of 21st Century Fox, Disney, and Autodesk while enjoying a delicious three-course meal.
The hall with it's classy decoration was very impressive. The awards ceremony started shortly after dinner and was hosted by no other than stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt (King of Queens). His jokes relaxed the atmosphere, and then the first category came up. With us in the fifth category, our nervous excitement slowly but steadily increased.
And then the time had come: Film clips of all four nominated projects were shown...
... “and the Award goes to … The Beauty!” We had our hearts in our mouths as we got up and made our way to the stage. What an honor to give an acceptance speech in front of the entire – or so it felt – VFX industry! We were much impressed to see our film among all the major Hollywood productions such as Star Wars, 1917, The Irishman, Game of Thrones, and Frozen 2. It was a moment we are not likely to forget. After we had accepted the prize, we were directly taken backstage for photo shootings and interviews. We were led from one room to the next and experienced the proceedings probably typical for major awards ceremonies.
What an honor to give an acceptance speech in front of the entire – or so it felt – VFX industry!Aleksandra Todorovic
On top of the award, each of us received an individual winner certificate with the respective name on it. After the hustle and bustle had somewhat abated, we returned to our table which was directly in front of the stage. The rest of the evening was just as exciting, with prizes for many great projects as well as honor awards for Martin Scorsese, Roland Emmerich, and Sheena Duggal. The spectacle was over after about three hours. It had been really interesting to find out about the proceedings at an awards ceremony in the film metropolis and get a whiff of Hollywood. After the ceremony, we were approached by many people who congratulated us and praised the film. There were plenty of opportunities to establish contacts, speak with the big players one-on-one, and – as mere minnows – for once feel really big in the wide ocean of the film industry.
Our film had often been awarded for the way it deals with plastic pollution, thus it was a great honor for us to now receive an award for the way the film was made – and at the the animation and VFX industry's probably most distinguished event, to boot.
And it is, of course, always a pleasure to present the film to a big, international audience. We ended the evening with relaxed conversation in the foyer and by raising our glasses to the nomination and to winning.
Invited by VES, on the following day we took a tour of Fonco Studios headed by Fon Davis. It became famous in the 70s for its extraordinary models which can be found in many Hollywood movies such as Star Wars, Interstellar, The Matrix, etc. The studio is a highly creative and playful place – a hobby room for grown-ups in love with film. It topped of this exceptional event.
The trip was a great success and we will always remember it.