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“Bringing the Virtual to Reality”

Visual effects artist Joe Letteri, who has received four Academy Awards for his pioneering work on such films as Avatar, King Kong and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, will speak on the Furman University campus Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m. in McAlister Auditorium.

His talk, “Bringing the Virtual to Reality: Creating the VFX Image,” is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Academic Dean’s office at Furman.

Letteri will give a visual presentation about his work in films, answer questions from the audience and be available to sign movie posters and DVDs.

In addition to winning Academy Awards® for Best Visual Effects on Avatar, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and King Kong, he has received four other Oscar nominations. He has also received the Academy’s Technical Achievement Award for co-developing the subsurface scattering technique that brought Gollum to life in the Lord of the Rings films.

Letteri joined Weta Digital as Visual Effects Supervisor on The Two Towers and, over the last 11 years, he has led Weta Digital to become one of the world’s premiere visual effects studios.

He developed many techniques that have become standards for bringing photographic quality to digital visual effects. He specializes in the creation of compellingly realistic creatures, from the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, to Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, the 25-foot gorilla in King Kong, the Na’vi in Avatar, and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

As Senior Visual Effects Supervisor on Avatar, Letteri oversaw a program of research and development over four years that produced shots larger and more complex than ever attempted before. This involved shooting on a virtual stage with a new camera system, along with the development a full pipeline of tools effectively launching a new approach to filmmaking called virtual production.

Most recently, Letteri led the team at Weta Digital back into Middle-earth for The Hobbit trilogy and guided the studio’s work on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Furious Seven.  He has also been involved in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic The BFG and Luc Besson’s new sci-fi epic, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

Last updated April 22, 2016
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director