EXCLUSIVE: Oscar and BAFTA-winning VFX firm Framestore is consolidating its film and TV divisions in line with growing demand for episodic content.
Both departments at the UK firm will be brought under one banner, one pipeline and a new leadership structure. The company’s episodic work is being headed by recent BAFTA winner James Whitlam (His Dark Materials).
Whitlam is working alongside Michelle Martin, Head of Business Development, Episodic, and reports to Fiona Walkinshaw, Framestore’s Global Managing Director, Film. As they expand Framestore’s episodic offer, Whitlam and Martin will work closely with the company’s studios in London, Montreal, the U.S. and India, in a bid to give clients access to Framestore’s global talent pool as well as a range of national and regional tax incentives.
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Framestore has made two hires to its episodic division. VFX Supervisor Sean Mathiesen joins from Double Negative, where he oversaw the entire 4,000-shot production of Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Meanwhile, Andy Scrase returns to Framestore as VFX Supervisor, after a stint of on-set supervision for Britannia. As well as working on shows such as His Dark Materials and The Crown for Framestore, Scrase previously worked at One Of Us and Double Negative, where credits included Aladdin, Pacific Rim: Uprising and Mission: Impossible – Fallout. He is currently working as on-set supervisor for 1899, Netflix’s big-budget European drama from the creators of Dark. Framestore is handling visualisation, virtual production and VFX on the show.
Framestore’s recent and upcoming work across episodic includes 1899 (Netflix), His Dark Materials (HBO / BBC / Bad Wolf); Moon Knight (Disney ); The Crown (Netflix); Ms Marvel (Disney ) and WandaVision (Disney ).
Fiona Walkinshaw, Global Managing Director, Film, said: “You hear a lot about how the demand for content is changing and how the lines between film and episodic are blurring, but for us there are two key constants: great storytelling and the need for compelling, note-perfect VFX to support it. Shows like His Dark Materials are reshaping the industry in terms of scope and scale, but for us the drivers and demands remain the same – we want our work to help immerse audiences in whichever stories our clients are bringing to life.”
She continued: “James is the perfect person to drive this change forward. He has extensive experience steering ambitious, distinctive cross-site projects for Framestore including two BAFTA-winning seasons of the His Dark Materials, Paddington 2 and Oscar-nominated work on Christopher Robin and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. We’re currently teeing up a raft of exciting, high-end episodic titles for the world’s biggest studios, and we couldn’t be happier that he’s on board to lead the way.”
The move follows the launch of Framestore Pre-production Services (FPS), a division specializing in areas including previsualisation, techvis, postvis and virtual production.
Framestore has won Oscars for The Golden Compass, Gravity and Blade Runner 2049, as well as 14 Primetime Emmys.