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Following are excerpts from the acceptance speeches delivered by this year’s distinguished VES Honorees.

Guillermo del Toro, Recipient of the 2022 VES Award for Creative Excellence

What magic and beautiful collaboration it is when we jive together to create a moment a sleight-of-hand trick in which we use every physical resource at our disposal. When we combine set design, physical effects and acting and make the audience buy into ‘that which would not be.’

The digital effects craft has inherited a multidisciplinary tradition: painting, sculpting, perspective, animation and optical effects. It is a beautiful, expressive and powerful art and one that more and more fuses with character animation and points to roads full of promise in our narrative future. We are heading towards a moment in which we will, indeed, one day tell stories that were impossible at any other moment in history.

And it is very important that we do it together.

Yes, we are all in this storytelling business together. We always have felt, and feel today, a great and disciplined kinship with what the VFX world has to offer.

I have partnered with many of you and have possibly bankrupted a couple of you. So it is with gratitude and enormous joy that I receive this honor. We must stand together in these times and reaffirm that what we have is an intimate partnership in telling a story and that we do it all together on a leveled ground, and that we honor each other when the time comes. This is that time and I salute you all. May we meet on the road many more times.

Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. (Image courtesy of Netflix)

Lynwen Brennan, Executive Vice President/General Manager at Lucasfilm, Recipient of the 2022 VES Lif time Achievement Award

I have always seen it as my job to provide a safe place to take risks, experiment and innovate and to encourage a culture of trust where we look out for each other as family. We have needed that in the past two years more than ever, and I have been in awe of how ILM and the whole visual effects industry has been able to pivot on a dime and completely overhaul our entire process to work remotely and not only survive, but come out stronger.

If these last two years have shown us anything, it has shown us how fast we can change. Standing still has never been a trait of the visual effects industry so why then is it taking us so long to make progress in increasing diversity in our ranks?

We can do better. Yes, we need to improve the pipeline into the industry and that takes some time, but the drop-off up the levels both to VFX supervisor and VFX producer is severe and can be addressed more immediately if we are intentional about it.

That doesn’t mean giving opportunity if not earned no one wants that. But we tend to be creatures of habit and it is an industry built on relationships. We tend to give opportunities to people we know and who we have worked with before.

We are in the midst of a true boom in the industry where there is simply not enough visual effects talent in the world to satisfy the demand. Let’s use this moment to give some people chances based on their abilities, not just their resume like my colleagues took a chance on me so many times. It will take each of us to make that commitment on the productions, the studios and the VFX studios.

VES Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Lynwen Brennan with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy.

VES Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Lynwen Brennan with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy.

Lynwen Brennan and her family.

Lynwen Brennan and her family.

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