VFX Educator Pam Hogarth Calls for Diversity at Visual Effects Society Honors: ‘Not Just With Gender, But in All Areas’

VFX educator Pam Hogarth and Pixar’s Pete Docter were among the honorees at this year’s Visual Effects Society Honors Celebration.

The in-person ceremony took place on Oct. 14 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, Calif., where VES members celebrated their colleagues’ achievements and the organization’s 25th anniversary.

Docter, Pixar’s chief creative officer best known for directing “Monsters, Inc.,” “Up,” “Inside Out” and “Soul,” received this year’s Honorary Membership.

“It’s been a dream of mine to join VES without having to pay,” Docter said jokingly in his acceptance speech. “I had one overriding obsession: to sell insurance. But instead, I got a job in animation … To everyone at Pixar, who would’ve dreamt that someday I would be lucky enough to work alongside hundreds of amazingly talented people using the latest cutting-edge technology — all to avoid dealing with real life.”

Docter also acknowledged Pixar president Jim Morris, who presented the honorary award to him.

“Jim has taught me so much about storytelling, about running a studio,” Docter said about the founding chair of VES. “He’s an incredible leader, a wonderful producer and always ready to jump in to do whatever it takes.”

At the ceremony, Hogarth was awarded a Lifetime Membership as well as this year’s Founders Award.

“The reason we’re here is for the community. That’s what it all comes down to, and I think it’s always come down to that,” Hogarth said. “We do this because we love the people around us in the Society. Only the community is much larger now, and it’s still growing — which is wonderful to see.”

While Hogarth praised the Society’s first-ever executive board of directors to feature all women, she added that the organization should still strive to increase diversity and inclusion.

“Looking around the room, it looks like it’s better. Not a whole lot better, but better,” she said. “As a society — that’s capitalized Society and lowercase society — we can do better and should for diversity; not just with gender, but in all areas.”

In addition to Hogarth, the 2022 Lifetime Membership recipients included Jeff Barnes, Patricia “Rose” Duignan, Toni Pace Carstensen, Eric Roth and David Tanaka.

Tanaka also became a new VES Fellow, along with Tony Clark, Jeff Kleiser, Gene Kozicki and Rick Sayre. Visual effects veterans Mary Ellen Bute, Alice Guy-Blache, Grace Hopper, George Pal and Bill Kovacs were inducted into the VES Hall of Fame.

In honor of Roth, the longtime VES executive director who retired after 19 years at the helm, board chair Lisa Cooke announced the newly named Roth Virtual Museum of Visual Effects, which will “preserve the legacy of our industry for generations to come.”

“Under Eric’s watch, the Society grew from an organization of about 750 people — mostly situated in California — to a thriving global community with about 4,500 members in 25 countries and 14 sections worldwide,” Cooke said.

She added, “Eric leaves an indelible mark on our Society.”

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