I sat down with Larry Bafia, Sly Provencher, and Dennis Hoffman of Spark Animation and Spark FX, to find out more about their organization and there connections with SIGGRAPH. The Spark CG Society is a group from Vancouver that is dedicated to being a nucleus of community building in the Vancouver Animation and VFX arena.
Among the many events they sponsor there are two important conferences - Spark Animation and Spark FX, which bring people together from schools and production companies in the Vancouver area for several days to attend talks by industry professionals, artists, and educators. The talks and presentations are first and foremost educational - sometimes discussing specific techniques and concepts, but also bringing in industry luminaries to share their thoughts on the creative process.
They have recently entered into an official three year partnership with the SIGGRAPH organization to cooperate on conference organization. In fact the Spark CG organization grew out of the Vancouver SIGGRAPH chapter recognized as their most active chapter in the world. They were instrumental in bringing SIGGRAPH to Vancouver in 2011 - the first time the conference was held outside of the US. This was so succesful that SIGGRAPH is going back to Vancouver in 2014.
this years conference, Sept 11-15, will feature lectures, presentations and screenings along with an "Anijam" where the audience will be asked to actively contribute to the making of an animation during a session. The theme is "Story and Storytelling" and there will be a special screening of a Disney animation "Get a Horse", which was started by Walt Disney over 80 years ago, but just recently taken back up and finished by current Disney animators. It made its debut at Annecy earlier this year, and this will be only it's second public screening.
Spark is committed to making their conferences affordable, and rather than selling a single non-tranferable pass, they sell a set of tickets to each event. Attendees unable to see a particular session are actively encouraged to give those tickets to colleagues who can.
During the year they sponser numerous other events including guest lectures, educational events, and special screenings that try to keep the history of animation and cinema alive. They have a commitment to keeping the Vancouver Animation, Game and VFX industry an informed and coherent communities.