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Jurassic Park, RoboCop and Star Wars: if you can include such titles in your filmography, you’ve undoubtedly left a mark in film history. Phil Tippett’s mark is both handmade and digital. He’s a master of visual effects whose work spans the last five decades of cinema history, and this August he will receive the 2021 Vision Award Ticinomoda, with which the Locarno Film Festival and Piazza Grande honor film personalities whose behind-the-scenes work contributed to the innovation of the cinematic landscape.
A visionary genius, Phil Tippett is as close as one can get to the idea of a “film artisan”. He literally imagines, plans and crafts the cinematic landscape, creating the visual references for entire generations. A two-time Oscar winner thanks to Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park, he also contributed to the worlds of Willow, RoboCop, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Dragonheart, Starship Troopers, The Twilight Saga and more. As part of a decades-long path that rewrote the history of visual effects, from woodwork to software, Tippett also successfully applied his genius and passion to new technologies, first as an inventor of the go-motion technique (a variant of stop motion animation), then as a virtuoso of computer graphics.
His career is a unique one, during which he also established the Tippett Studio, filled with different roles and dinosaurs: he served as director, inventor and go-motion animator on Prehistoric Beast (1984) and Dinosaur! (1985), Dinosaur Supervisor on Jurassic Park (1993) and Dinosaur Consultant on Jurassic World (2015) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018).
Giona A. Nazzaro, artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival: “In visual effects, there’s a pre- and a post-Phil Tippett. Ever since Star Wars, the whole of fantasy filmmaking has owed a lot to his creative genius. With the power of his imagination and his immense craftsmanship, he wove the legacy of Ray Harryhausen into the potential of state-of-the-art CGI, forging a visual armory capable of tackling the new challenges of filmic storytelling. As he also demonstrates in Mad God, a film that will have its World Premiere at the Locarno Film Festival, Tippett is not just a creator at the behest of the creative vision of others, but an auteur in his own right, innovative, visionary, capable of rethinking cinema in all its forms.”
The Vision Award Ticinomoda 2021 ceremony will take place on the evening of Thursday 5 August in Piazza Grande. During the 74th edition of the Festival there will be screenings of two landmark titles in his career in spectacular moviemaking:
On Friday, August 6, at 10.20 AM, Tippett will take part in a public conversation at the Forum @Rotonda by la Mobiliare. The Festival audience will also get to see the world premiere of Mad God, a project he has been working on for many years, experimenting with new techniques.