• Wednesday, Jun. 12, 2019
People on the Move
DNEG adds to global VFX animation team with key hires
Emile Ghorayeb (l) and Keith Roberts
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Visual effects, animation and stereo conversion company DNEG has strengthened its VFX animation team across North America and the United Kingdom, with a series of strategic appointments.  

Emile Ghorayeb joins DNEG as head of animation for its London studio, having previously been animation supervisor for Weta Digital on films including Alita: Battle Angel and War for the Planet of the Apes, for which he won an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in a Live Action Production. Ghorayeb has 20 years of experience as an animator across film, TV, games and feature animation, and other standout projects on his animation credit list include Avengers: Endgame, Jurassic World, Transformers 2, 3 & 4, Halo 3, Shrek 2 & 3 and the Madagascar movies.

Also joining the team in London is VFX veteran and creature animation specialist Keith Roberts, as animation director. Most recently, Roberts has made a significant contribution to Marvel’s cinematic universe, having been animation director on Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: Civil War, Ant-Man, Thor: The Dark World and both Guardians of the Galaxy films, for which he brought to life to Baby Groot and Rocket Raccoon. Earlier in his career, Roberts supervised the animation of a number of furry and feathery creatures in family favorites such as Garfield, The Cat in the Hat, Scooby-Doo, Aliens in the Attic and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.

The global team also saw the recent appointment of animation director Spencer Cook. Based in Montréal, Cook boasts an illustrious career spanning more than 30 years, from stop-motion animation for TV commercials through to digital animation on some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, including Alien: Covenant, Beauty and the Beast, Men in Black 3, The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, and Spider-Man 1, 2 & 3. As a life-long monster movie fan, Cook joined DNEG after completing work on Godzilla: King of the Monsters as animation director. He was a key member of the Sony Pictures Imageworks character animation department in Los Angeles for 14 years, and was nominated for a BAFTA Award, a Saturn Award and two VES Awards for his work as animation director on Spider-Man 3.

The trio joins an animation team already rich in experience, including Aaron Gilman, who was recently promoted to head of animation for DNEG’s Vancouver studio. Gilman, who is currently supervising DNEG’s animation work on the upcoming Disney true-life adventure movie Togo, was animation director on Pacific Rim Uprising, one of the biggest projects in DNEG’s history. Gilman’s career achievements to date include several award nominations for his work on Hollywood blockbusters, culminating in an Annie Award nomination for his leadership of the animation of Azog, the fearsome King of the Orcs in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Under the leadership of global head of animation Robyn Luckham, DNEG’s talented VFX animation team has grown substantially in recent years, delivering work on projects such as Avengers: Endgame, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and the upcoming Men In Black: International.

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