The Mill has hired Aurelien Simon as executive producer for emerging technology in the Los Angeles studio. Simon’s arrival comes shortly after the relocation of Boo Wong, global director of emerging technology, from New York. The expansion of the team in Los Angeles takes effect as The Mill continues to expand in the interactive, immersive and experiential space, developing award-winning branded content and original IP with a dedicated group of strategists, creatives, producers and technologists worldwide.
With a background in business strategy, entertainment, and technology in digital and immersive media, Simon brings 10 years of experience to The Mill where he will further develop the studio’s positioning in the thriving West Coast market. He previously served as head of VR at UNIT9, followed by head of immersive at Digital Catapult where he worked with the British government to establish strategies and pipelines to support the acceleration of VR and AR in the UK.
“Los Angeles has always been at the global heart of entertainment. Now, it’s establishing itself as the hub where creative and technology meet,” said Simon. “For the past several years, the local market has seen a significant influx in technology companies and immersive, digital and experiential opportunities. As a firm believer in partnerships, I want to support this growing ecosystem by encouraging and driving The Mill’s relations with technology groups and startups, up-and-coming talent, brands and entertainment studios. I’m looking forward to leveraging our business offering and expertise for our clients and new ventures alike.”
Wong, who has been with The Mill for nine years, leads the in-house team dedicated to emerging technologies. They work to define and create cutting-edge content for clients while spearheading the development of IP and tools internally. Substantial growth and results include large-scale installations and partnerships with industry-leading entities at Epic Games, Facebook and Magic Leap, in addition to recent work that has garnered wins at Cannes Lions, SXSW, SIGGRAPH, AICP, Clio Awards, The One Show and The Webby Awards.
Wong commented, “The Mill has always invisibly used technology to create premium visual content, and today we’re making never-before-seen experiences using new platforms and spaces. Collaboration between creators and technologists is an essential part of what we do, and it is for this reason that we are incredibly excited to have Aurelien join our team. His deep expertise in the medium and strong sense of partnership will drive the strategic way in which we reach the core of any ask - addressing what the story is, who needs to experience it, and how we can deliver it to them in the most compelling way.”
With a nearly three-decade legacy in high-end visual effects and postproduction for branded content, The Mill has continued to expand upon these capabilities while pursuing, researching and developing solutions to offer the industry new and engaging means of storytelling. Upon the release of virtual reality short film HELP for Google Spotlight Stories in 2015, the studio picked up two Gold Lions in Cannes in addition to a SXSW Interactive Innovation Award for on-set production tool Mill Stitch. Soon after, The Mill progressed its longstanding history of creating photo-real CGI vehicles with the launch of The Mill Blackbird, the first fully-adjustable automotive rig that transforms into any car. Virtual toolkit Mill Cyclops was then introduced, allowing filmmakers to generate and place photo-real augmented reality CGI objects into shots on set, in real-time.
Most recently The Mill debuted Mill Mascot, an animation system that combines real-time animation and game engine technology with motion sensors, giving creatives the ability to “direct” CGI character performance live on set.
The Mill’s Rani Melendez, managing director in Los Angeles, said, “With Aurelien’s insightful view of the developing landscape and Boo’s dedicated leadership, we look forward to growing our global position in branded content, emerging technology and beyond.”