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Academy to Explore the Technological Evolution of Production Design


Beverly Hills, CA — Exploring the creation of physical and virtual space through the use of traditional, new and emerging tools and technologies, the Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present “The Art, Science and Psychology of Production Design” on Friday, May 16, at 8 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Hosted by Science and Technology Council member Bill Kroyer, the evening will feature onstage presentations by production designers Alex McDowell (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Minority Report”), Doug Chiang (“Beowulf,” “The Polar Express”) and Ralph Eggleston (“The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo”). It will also present a real-time pre-visualization demonstration by pre-visualization director Daniel Gregoire (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “The Spiderwick Chronicles”) and a review of new technologies by art director Daniel Jennings (“G-Force,” “Matchstick Men”).

The program will examine how new technologies and shifting collaborations are changing the way motion picture production designers approach their work. With the advent of file sharing, computer-generated imagery and a variety of hardware and software tools, designers now have the ability to preview sets and coordinate with other creative departments more quickly and accurately than ever before.

To illustrate how the fundamental creative role of the production designer has remained unchanged despite the evolution of tools and processes, the program will also include a brief history of production design under the studio system, featuring an onstage conversation with legendary production designer Robert Boyle. Boyle earned Academy Award® nominations for “North by Northwest,” “Gaily, Gaily,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Shootist,” and was the recipient of this year’s Honorary Award (an Oscar® statuette).

Joining Boyle onstage will be Oscar-nominated production designer and Academy governor Jeannine Oppewall (“The Good Shepherd,” “L.A. Confidential”).

The presentations will be augmented with clips from such movies as “The Little Foxes” (1941), “Rear Window” (1954), “Cleopatra” (1963), “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (1999) and “War of the Worlds” (2005).

Kroyer received an Academy Award nomination for his 1988 short film “Technological Threat,” which pioneered the technique of combining hand-drawn and computer animation. He directed the animated feature film “FernGully: The Last Rainforest” and is currently senior animation director at Rhythm & Hues Studios in Los Angeles.

Established in 2003 by the Academy’s Board of Governors, the Science and Technology Council provides a forum for the exchange of information, promotes cooperation among diverse technological interests within the industry, sponsors publications, fosters educational activities and preserves the history of science and technology of motion pictures.

Tickets to “The Art, Science and Psychology of Production Design” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Tickets are available for purchase by mail, at the Academy box office, or online at Doors open at 7 p.m. All seating is unreserved.

The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit


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