State of Cinema: Edwin Catmull
Each year, SFFILM invites a visionary thinker to discuss the intersecting worlds of contemporary cinema and visual arts, culture and society, images and ideas. We are honored this year to welcome Dr. Ed Catmull of Pixar Animation Studios to explore the connections between technology and the arts, as well as the possibilities inherent to collaborations between artists, individuals and organizations from both fields.
Catmull is the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Previously, he was Vice President of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm, Ltd., where he managed development in the areas of computer graphics, video editing, video games and digital audio. Catmull has been honored with five Academy Awards—including two Oscars—for his work. He has been honored with the ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award for his lifetime contributions in the computer graphics field, the Progress Medal and the Fuji Gold Medal awards from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and the animation industry’s Ub Iwerks Award for technical advancements in the art or industry of animation.
Dr. Catmull founded three of the leading centers of computer graphics research – including the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd. and Pixar Animation Studios. He is one of the architects of the RenderMan rendering software, which has been used in over 90% of Academy Award winners for Visual Effects over the past 20 years. His book, the New York Times bestseller, CREATIVITY, INC.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, was published by Random House in 2014.
Dr. Catmull earned B.S. degrees in computer science and physics and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah. In 2005, the University of Utah presented him with an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Engineering, and in 2015 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Johns Hopkins University.
Following Catmull’s keynote, Pixar artists Alan Barillaro (Director), Lindsey Collins (Producer), Danielle Feinberg (Director of Photography – Lighting), and Gini Santos (Supervising Animator) will join him on stage for an extended conversation, which will be moderated by Robert Capps of WIRED.