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Digital media under scrutiny at next fmx/08

Digital media change the way we perceive the world around us – next to film and television, interactive entertainment is playing an ever larger role. This can be seen and experienced at fmx/08 in Stuttgart, Germany. Everyone committed to the creation, production and distribution of animation, effects, games and other digital media will meet for the 13th year to instruct and learn, to discuss and listen, to see and be seen. Hundreds of speakers and thousands of visitors from all over the world will make Stuttgart the center of the digital world for four full days – and fmx/08 the most important event for digital entertainment in Europe.

Names with distinction, innovations with consequence

Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Aardman... renowned animation studios traditionally maintain close relations with FMX and this year is no different. fmx/08 will continue to allow technical and creative insight into the making of current and future blockbusters, including the Academy Award winner Ratatouille from Pixar. We'll also be presenting the winner of the Oscar for visual effects and both runner-ups (The Golden Compass, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Transformers) as well as two of the nominees for best animated short film (Même les Pigeons vont au Paradis and the Aardman production The Pearce Sisters).

This year's cooperation with the Visual Effects Society (VES) has created justified excitement, as Executive Director Eric Roth has co-curated a platinum line-up including: David Ebner (CafeFX) recreates the glory of old Kabul in Kite-Runner; VES chairman Jeff Barnes (ComputerCafe group) speaks of the many pitfalls in high-risk Hollywood; Double Negative and The Moving Picture Company report on their combined efforts in bringing Roland Emmerich's stone-age epic 10,000 BC to the screen. The success of CGI influences more than just the end-product film, and fmx/08 bears witness to such social and artistic impact with talks such as ”Cultural Responsibility and the Ethics of Visual Effects Manipulation” by Van Ling and Gene Kozicki (Rythm&Hues). In this regard, it is fitting that the keynote address ”30 years in CG – A Personal History of Computer Graphics” will be given by Glenn Entis, the equally astute and passionate CGI pioneer and Senior Vice-President of the world's largest games producer Electronic Arts.

Even more so than film, the games industry today sets the standards in animation and so its no surprise that they continue to play a central role in the program of FMX. fmx/08 will not only present specific productions, but also inspire fundamental discussion of games and the role they play. Joseph Olin, President of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, will speak of the games and the gamer of tomorrow – and has curated a full day's worth of inspired talks. Highlights include talks about BOOM BLOX, a cooperation between Steven Spielberg and Electronic Arts, the hotly anticipated sequel to Grand Theft Auto and its innovative character animation, the structure of experience in Assassin's Creed and behind- the-scenes presentations of Crysis, the game that's raised the bar for interactive visuals.

The series Digital Media casts light onto ground-breaking developments in distribution: Marc Petit (Autodesk) analyses the role of gaming as a stimulus for innovation. Neil Trevett (NVIDIA) describes the challenges involved in making mobile telephones truly fit for multi- media and the solutions which are now crystallizing. Steffen Ritter (Microsoft) talks about the key strategic role played by user experience and design. And the combined talk by Digital Domain and NVIDIA is sure to rouse fan interest: they report on their progress in high- performance rendering for Speed Racer, the latest film by the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix).

This year's series on Digital Cinema is committed to the merging of digital cinema and 3D. Stereoscopy has been experiencing a major renaissance among movie-goers over the last few years and is now seen as a key to the distribution of digital film. Among the talks sure to inspire: Debbie Denise and Rob Engle (Sony Pictures Imageworks) lay out their extensive knowledge in 3D production processes as won in film projects such as Polar Express, Open Season, Monster House and Beowulf. Christopher Townsend and Chris Harvey (Frantic Films) map out their ”Journey in Stereo” as they accompanied the 3D remake of Jules Verne's classic Trip to the Middle of the Earth. Alaric Hamacher (Virtual Experience) reflects upon the artistic consequences of 3D technologies and Charlotte Jones (Screen Digest) takes an exact look at the costs: how and why does the film industry profit from the investment in 3D?.

Thanks to the ever-increasing relevance of interactive applications and computer games, Echtzeit – our series on realtime animation – has advanced to a key event. The traditional separation of duties has made way for an experiment-happy community interested in exciting new ideas of how – and where – to apply cutting edge technologies. This goes beyond games to the visual smorgasbord of the VJ or innovative approaches to film. Robert Rose from the FH Augsburg has put an Echtzeit program together that opens a fascinating look at the worlds of Demo art and Machinima. It also presents new formats such as the audiovisual encyclopedia OVO which is committed to packaging entertaining documentaries for mobile and users and internet access.

Global players and the technological avant-garde

fmx/forum is both a training center and talent market. Talks, demos, masterclasses, seminars and the fmx/expo bring all the trends and technologies for digital content creation together in one place. And the program offers more than qualified specialist courses for professionals and experts, the diverse offerings are designed to help new talents to get their feet in the doors – with concrete opportunities and practical training. fmx/talents and fmx/recruiting extend a sincere invitation for upcoming pros to present to interested employers and gather valuable feedback on their reels. This year's line-up of big-name companies is as impressive as the engagement they bring to the events: Disney, Microsoft, Adobe, Softimage, NVIDIA, NaturalMotion, Luxulogy, weltenbauer., MAXON, Massive Software, Side Effects – and Quantel with its stereoscopy production systems for new, multimedia-enhanced television.

The special Pixar suite is bound to unleash some extra excitement as well... Introductory courses for the Pixar software Renderman are on the plan, as well as the opportunity to slip into ”Pixar Career Gears” and talk to colleagues from one of the hottest animation companies in the world. Global leader Autodesk is engaged in numerous ways – with no less than 4 masterclasses, an Autodesk suite, numerous workshops and an exhibition booth. Top speakers also promise inspired insight into Autodesk products: Frank Gladstone presents ”The History and Future of Animation: Where We've Come from. Where We are Going” and VES founding member R. T. Taylor talks about ”Special and Digital Visual Effects: The past, present, and future in a Digital World”.

The continuously growing educational offerings will be honored and analyzed with a special panel of experts in the Education Summit. What does the industry need in its future employees? What do ambitious schools need to be doing today? Who determines quality standards, and when? What are the most promising educational strategies in light of a market based on rapidly changing technologies? The role of education in a culturally relevant market-driven industry promises to remain interesting.

That remote learning isn't suited for such a dynamic work place is obvious, and the role of exchange and parallel learning is underscored by the annual growth of custom talent offerings at FMX. fmx/talents places the particularly talented students in the limelight, while School Offerings allows schools from all over Europe, Asia and the USA to present themselves to potential students. The Eyes & Ears Junior Showcase, presented by the design association Eyes & Ears of Europe, gives young talents the chance to present their award-winning projects. Last but not least, the Sessions encourage analysis and discussion of the career conditions confronting the digital industry.

Of all the various parts of FMX that have been able to garner growing interest over the years, none has done so as vigorously as fmx/recruiting. FMX has become one of the most respected job markets for the animation industry in Europe. This success is a result in part of fmx/recruiting's two-fold structure: on the one hand, companies introduce themselves, their needs and their projects in open presentations. On the other, applicants can talk with potential employers face-to-face at the Recruiting Desks. 30 companies – more than ever before – will be looking for talent at fmx/08. And this milestone becomes more impressive with a closer look at the list: the caliber is revealed by names such as Pixar, Disney, Aardman, Animal Logic, Crytek, Double Negative, DreamWorks, electronic Arts, Glassworks, LucasArts, Pixomondo, ScanlineVFX, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Ubisoft.

fmx/artek – a glimpse of future playthings

Digital animation is progressing at a dizzying rate. And the many innovations are perhaps most inspirational when they are in that garage-lab phase of pre-market prototype. fmx/artek hunts down those ripening products, projects and installations – a hot-spot of things that might come in forms that already inspire. Participants include the University of Southern California, FH Augsburg, University of Constance, the Technical College of Zurich and the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg. fmx/artek and the exhibition Into the Pixel are open daily from 10 am to 7 pm open to the public without charge.

A Region goes Global: VFX Cluster Baden-Wuerttemberg

The know-how is already here: four service professionals in Baden-Wuerttemberg have laid the ground stone for the foundation a ”virtual VFX major”. Elektrofilm, Pixomondo, Black Mountain and M.A.R.K13 present their mutual vision and project concept at fmx/08.

MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg and FMX – trusted partners

None of our numerous partners have supported FMX longer or with more commitment than the Medien- and Filmgesellschaft Baden-Wuerttemberg, with both the Public Film Fund and the Public Innovation Agency for Information Technology and Media. At fmx/08, the MFG is hosting the Visual Computing Cluster, and – as a true premiere – the G.A.M.E. Regio Summit, highlighting the new government subsidies for computer games and games- development and encouraging exchange between various funding organizations. The MFG Public Film Fund will once again host the panel Writing for Animation.

The Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film – the ideal match

The Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film (or ITFS) takes place from the 1st to the 6th of May and is counted among the most renowned international festivals for animation. The festival shares two days with FMX, which continues back-to-back on the calendar. Combi-tickets make it easy and affordable for interested visitors to make the best of both events. The mutually organized Animation Production Day is another potent sign of cooperation, bringing European producers and financiers together to talk business.

Journalists beware! Complimentary accreditation is only available until April 28, 2008.

The number of last-minute accreditations at last year's fmx/07 was overwhelming. In order to prepare for all the journalists visiting fmx/08, we request you to apply for accreditation before the 28th of April. To do so, please go to After the 28th we will have to charge a processing fee of €15. We thank you in advance for your understanding.

fmx/08 is an event by Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg in collaboration with VES - Visual Effects Society, Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film and ACM Siggraph.

fmx/08 is organized by the Institute of Animation, Visual Effects and Digital Postproduction of Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg and NX Publishing.

fmx/08 is funded by the Ministry of State Baden-Wuerttemberg, Ministry of Economic Affairs Baden-Wuerttemberg, MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg Public Film Fund, MFG Baden- Wuerttemberg Public Innovation Agency for Information Technology and Media and the FFA German Federal Film Board.

Program partners of fmx/08 are AIAS – Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, HdM –Stuttgart Media University, Gobelins – l’école de l’image and the University of Applied Sciences Augsburg.

The event partners of fmx/08 include the Animation Production Day, Cluster Visual Computing, G.A.M.E, MFG Innovation Agency for Media and IT, MFG Public Film Fund, Deutsche Telekom, Design Center Stuttgart, AIAS – Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, flashconference and Eyes & Ears of Europe.

Furthermore, fxm/08 is supported by numerous partners from the industry, particularly Adobe Systems, Autodesk, Microsoft and NVIDIA as well as Sony and TVD.


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