VFX Interview: Maria Elena Guttierez, Director, VIEW Conference
September 14, 2019 – Maria Elena Guttierez has a Ph.D. from Stanford University . She is interested in CG, science tech, VFX, Games, animation, VR and International relations. Today, Maria Elena Guttierez spoke to VFX Online about her work experience of VFX and Animation industry also talked about VIEW Conference.
VIEW Conference is the premiere international event in Italy on Computer Graphics, Interactive Techniques, Digital Cinema, 2D/3D Animation, VR and AR, Gaming and VFX. VIEW 2019 will continue to focus on exploring the increasingly fluid boundary between real and digital worlds. Through lectures, meetings, tributes, exhibits, screenings and demo presentations VIEW will reveal the new digital frontier sweeping from cinema to architecture, from automotive design to advertisement, from medicine to videogames.
// From Maria Elena Guttierez, Director, VIEW Conference
How do you describe yourself professionally?
I am a community builder. If you look at the VIEW Conference community that has grown over the years – the amazing artists, technical wizards, visionaries who have come together, made their own lifelong connections at VIEW, and come back year-after-year, you see what I am most proud of helping to create.
What sparked your interest in visual effects? How would you describe in visual effects?
Visual effects is reliable magic – a steady supply of delight and seeming impossible feats. And I’ve met so many wonderful and talented people who create those effects – its hard not to get hooked.
How different was the industry when you first started? How did it make you feel?
I never worked directly in special effects, but from my position in VIEW I can see how the field continues to grow and shift. There are so many effects houses all over the world now, as well as so many different types of projects – films, games, TV series, apps – all of which take top level talent.
What made you choose visual effects, what was the primary inspiration, and how long did it take before you finally ‘made it’ to the big league?
This question is of course meant for someone working on effects, but in the case of VIEW, visual effects was an easy choice. The combination of science, artistry, the eye-popping accessibility to a wide audience, and the appetite of our audience in Torino, Italy, and beyond make visual effects and animation a compelling center of gravity for VIEW Conference.
What is the current state for women in the industry?
This has always been a male dominated industry, but at least the dialogue is changing. At VIEW, we’ve always sought out and promoted strong female role models. It is so important for young girls growing up to see strong women doing great things. And so many of those incredible women have become lifelong supporters of the VIEW Conference community.
What was the impetus for creating VIEW Conference? How was the response been to VIEW Conference so far?
The city of Torino and surrounding region have far-sighted long-term goal of jump-starting the opportunities for young people – students and professionals alike – to get inspirational exposure to the best talent in the world. The world-class talent we bring to VIEW each year would not normally make it to this part of Italy, so the VIEW conference is first and foremost looked at as a way to fuel the local and regional digital communities. But it has become so much more than that, and I’d say that VIEW has had a lot of influence beyond the local region by creating this long-standing, world-wide community.
Share something about VIEW Conference 2019? What’s your future plan about VIEW Conference?
VIEW 2019 is our second year in our new venue the OGR. That space is bigger and has more variety than our previous venue, and it allows us to add more programs, and to mix up the kinds of programs we offer. Every year I say this, but it is always true – this year will be our best edition yet!
Which is your favourite film in VFX and Animation and why?
Call me old-school, but my favorite visual effects film is the original Jurassic Park. Special effects have come a long way since the 90’s, but that the experience of seeing those dinosaurs seemingly brought to life was jaw-dropping and special. I will never forget that giddy feeling of awe I had throughout the experience.
What’s your special achievements in VFX and Animation Industry?
I am a networker and community builder. I don’t make films, I grow a community of people who make films (and games, TV series, apps and scientific projects). If you look at the list of VIEW speakers and participants over the years, that community, and the countless new friendships and professional collaborations that have grown out of that community, is my most special achievement in the field. For me, this is personal – I feel so lucky to have built long-term personal friendships with so many people on the list.
Whose work (both past and present) do you really admire and why?
Look at the list of VIEW speakers over the years – I admire them all. I admire talent, but what I really adore is the person who is a world-class talent, but also a kind, generous, fun-to-be-with human being who adds to the spirit of the VIEW community. Those special people – their warmth, intelligence and passion – are the magic ingredient that’s shaped everything that is special about VIEW Conference over the years.
Which women vfx artists/animators are your favourite and why?
Rather than singling out anyone in particular, I will just say that any woman who has made her mark in this field automatically earns my respect for fortitude and grit. This is not an easy business in the best of circumstances, and it is especially challenging when you are also fighting tradition and, at least in some places, workplace habits and culture that still need to change.
How do you think the industry could improve in those areas?
More role models, more opportunities for women to lead, more special effects projects that appeal especially to women.
How was the support from various VFX and Animation Studios for VIEW Conference?
Each year after every VIEW conference, I ask myself “how are we going to top this next year?” And we always do. That is because of the wonderful support I have gotten from VFX and Animation Studios all over the world. They send their best because they know that they will come back happy and enriched. It is win-win situation.
Which direction would you like to take your career in the near future?
VIEW makes a big splash in Torino every year. With our new home at OGR, I would like to explore how we can capture some of the energy that comes together at a VIEW Conference, and find ways to contribute the other 51 weeks of the year.
Any advice or tip for the young struggling artist to enter the industry?
It’s a challenging business. But don’t forget that even when you are just starting out, you have plenty of opportunities to be generous to others – with your help, your support, or even just a sincere smile or encouraging word. Find heroes in the field that inspire you, and ask what it would take to be more like them. And where can you find heroes and heroines worthy of your attention? At VIEW! My advice is to come to VIEW Conference!
This year’s conference takes place from October 21 to 25. Registration is now open. Please join us!
For more information, visit at VIEW Conference.