We're mixing up the format this time round and bringing you two jam-packed days full of inspiring and educational information from an amazing line-up of internationally renowned speakers!

AnimfxNZ 2014 is made up of the following inspirational and interactive days.



Exclusive Song of the Sea New Zealand Premiere

Song of the Sea is a 2014 animated Irish fantasy film by Cartoon Saloon directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Tomm Moore. Our keynote speaker Fabian Erlinghauser was the Animation Supervisor and 1st Assistant Director of the film and has provided us the opportunity to host the New Zealand Premiere. More information

18.30 and Nyuk Nyuk Games Standoff launch party

Join Nyuk Nyuk Games and at the launch celebration for their new game Standoff . The new game pits two players against each other on the same iPad. Beginning with methodical strategy, each game promises to devolve into panicked taps on the screen, endless rematches and the occasional broken friendship… or iPad. More information




Registration opens at The Paramount Theatre in Wellington. Check out location details here


Conference Opening

Official conference welcome by Kevin Lavery, CEO of Wellington City Council


Mario Wynands (NZ) - Managing Director and Co-founder, Sidhe and PikPok

Topic: Misadventures in Building an Enduring Game Studio

Mario will recount the journey of PikPok, from its establishment to present day. He will look at the many events and decisions that shaped that company and helped establish it as an enduring success in the region and globally.  In exploring the good, the bad, and the ugly, he exposes both business and personal lessons and practical takeaways that may apply to other new and established companies on their own path. 

More information about Mario here


Fabian Erlinghauser (UK) - Animation Supervisor, Cartoon Saloon

Topic: The making of Song Of The Sea

A behind-the-scenes look at the inspiration for and production of Cartoon Saloon's new feature film Song Of The Sea. As the film was produced in five different countries over 18 months, Cartoon Saloon's unique creative methods made sure the production ran as smooth as possible. Assistant Director and Head of Animation, Fabian Erlinghauser explains how it all came together.

More information about Fabian here


Morning tea


Michael Polis (USA) - President, Atomic Toybox Entertainment Inc.

Topic: Opportunities and Pitfalls of Producing Kids Content in Hollywood

Michael Polis, principal at Atomic Toybox Entertainment and leading kids development for Pukeko Pictures will take you through his path taken to get into kids entertainment in Hollywood and will showcase a selection of projects and properties that made the cut, some that didn’t and some that were inexplicably successful.

More information about Michael here


Stephan Schütze (Australia) - Founder and Sound Composer, Sound Librarian

Topic: Dynamic Audio within Games

Games by their definition are very different to linear media formats such as film and TV. Games often require a far more flexible or dynamic method of implementation for the audio to both respond to situations controlled by the player and support a narrative that is often constantly changing.

This presentation will demonstrate a complex music system that is being developed for a current game project and explore some of the possibilities of direct instant control over usic that is being generated in real time. Complex themes and motifs underscore the action, but can shift at a moments notice to highlight the narrative.

This session will introduce and explore many concepts of dynamic audio, but will also move beyond game projects to suggest ways in which these techniques may be useful to traditional film and television practitioners. Come and explore an ambitious project concept and discuss the potential for future media development.

More information about Stephan here




Animation Panel - New platforms vs old platforms

Speakers - Michael Polis, Fabian Erlinghauser, Andrew Smith and Chrissy Metge
Facilitator - Dave Gougé

What kind of influence do Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have on current TV production and what does the future landscape look like? Speculate with some TV executives!


Gaming Panel - Death & the Maiden

Speakers - Stephan Schütze, Tara Brannigan, Theo Baynton and Laura Dubuk
Facilitator - Alan Bell

Death has been seen as the principle currency in game development for almost the entire history of the industry. It has become a lazy fall back on how we provide challenge and longevity for far too many games.

The Maiden is in complete contrast to death. While our games are saturated with death and violence they barely manage to depict female elements in any way beyond titillation or trivial love interests. Or worse, the threat to, or death of a female is the main driving force for the narrative.


Michelle Dickinson (New Zealand) - Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland 

Michelle will give Animfxers an intro to nanotechnology and some recent advances in the field including quantum computing for large image processing for animators. She will also discuss the techniques she uses to study tiny surface features in skin to help animators to render more realistic light reflection algorithms.

Michelle will touch a little on her gaming background and discuss how as an introvert she often pretends her life is a game to succeed at presenting at events like TedX and shows like Firstline New Zealand and the Paul Henry Show. 

Finally Michelle will touch on the hot topic of big data. 

More information about Michelle here


Afternoon Tea


Dean DeBlois (Canada) - Writer and Director, Dreamworks

Dean DeBlois (writer, director, and executive producer of How To Train Your Dragon 2) will present an overview of the challenges involved in crafting the epic second installment of the trilogy. From lofty first ambitions to the three year journey of putting them on the screen, this look behind the scenes at the year's top grossing animated film will shed light on the big studio process, and the specific storytelling approach of its writer/director.

More information about Dean here


The Great PIPI Pitch

Be inspired by new ideas as Massey and Victoria University PIPI graduates pitch their Game and TV show concepts. PIPI is a charitable trust (registration pending) established with support from Grow Wellington, Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University, Pukeko Pictures, Gamefroot and Chapman Tripp.


Networking drinks hosted by Pukeko Pictures


PikPok Party Time

Head on over to RedSquare and join your fellow Animfxer's at the notorious PikPok party for more networking and celebrations. 


Weta Digital presents the many facets of modern visual effects, including an insiders look at Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, held at the Roxy Cinema.



Registration opens at The Roxy Cinema in Miramar. Check our location details here.



Welcome and introduction by Weta Digital Head of Marketing, Dave Gouge


Richard Frances-Moore - Head of Department: Animation

Topic: The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Invent it

As the Head of the Animation Department, Richard ensures Weta Digital has the best animation tools and the best animators in the world. He is responsible for looking ahead and driving developments that will advance the field of animation and keep Weta Digital amongst the best in the business far into the future. Richard delves through Weta's star-studded history to bring you the past, present and future of Animation.


Beck Veitch - Compositor 

Topic: Compositing - Getting in it and Getting it Together

Ten years ago, Beck Veitch was not your typical Compositing Intern. She'll share some ways to get into the industry and what it's like once you get there.  She will then present her work on Marvel's Iron Man 3 to illustrate how the "compers" put it all together, and manipulate the final imagery in various subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways to realize the director's vision. 


Jamie Beard - Animation Director

Topic: Film-Making in the Digital Age - Ideas and their Journeys

A look into the world of digital film-making and how companies like Weta Digital are more and more involved in the creative film-making process long before and also long after the traditional film unit has wrapped. Jamie explains the creative journey taken by an idea and how it will endure, change or fall by the way-side as it makes it's way to your cinema screens.


Morning Tea


Areito Echevarria - Head of FX

Topic: Film-making in the Digital Age - Balancing Fantasy and Reality in FX Animation.

This talk explores the two opposing goals faced in FX animation; the creation of physically based systems that behave realistically, and the need to direct the performance of FX animation. In FX animation we are asked to create realistic physical phenomena, such as fire, water or destruction, with the requirement that the dynamics must be not only realistic, but also directable or be driven by existing motion (animated characters or live action events). This creates a creative tension, as these two objectives often lie in opposing directions.


Thrain Shadbolt - Digital Effects Supervisor

Topic: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Digital apes again take center-stage in this action-packed sequel. Weta's on-set performance capture helped artists bring the amazing performances the actors delivered on the film set through to the digital characters in the finished picture. Thrain will explain how Weta's team has taken performance capture to on-location film sets, blending live action and digital production in the process. He also discusses advances in their fur system and how Weta created a startling post-virus San Francisco.


Lunch hosted by Weta Digital