I was extremely impressed with the seriousness and intellect of the Slovenians. Their schools are very hard and it shows. Everybody I stopped to talk to in the streets, spoke at least three languages and could discuss any topic I offered up. But, they were not arrogant or pretentious about it. There was always a touch of humor involved. In terms of technological prowess, the Slovenians take the PAH prize so far. I'd love to have more Slovenians working for our PlasterCITY Digital Post Facility in Hollywood (that's saying a lot because we have an excellent team over there). The young whiz kid Slovenian techs solved every problem that came our way in terms of uploading miniPAH:Izola and they did it quickly and this is a country that doesn't have nearly the same resources as Hollywood. Both Damian and Zelda were blown away.
Let me introduce you to a young Slovenian CGI expert and independent filmmaker. He does all his work himself and he does so masterfully. His name is Sebastian Pelan. Below is a small sample of his work. To check out more of his work you can go to his 3DGE Studio web page.
Here's a nice e-mail Damian received once we got back to the States.
You should be back in the States now, I hope your back trip was an easy one and that you're already recovering from jetlag :)
I just wanted to tell you and Christopher a bit more about my work since you guys didn't really had much time while here. I've seen you were busy all the time and I really didn't want to bother you. I guess an e-mail is much better, you can read it when you have the time to.
So, I founded my company, 3DGE Studio in 2005. My grandmother left an apartment in Ljubljana (Slovenia's capital) to my father, he sold it and gave me everything he had to build myself a decent future. Or at least, he thought so, as I did. I kept reading all the time about big US studios that prefer to use effects studios overseas since they're cheaper, so I said: Hey! I can do that! I'll set up the first slovenian visual effects studio and I'll start earning big bucks (that from an US side of view is really not that much) in no time. Well, I have to admit it, I was a fool. Since I started my company, I didn't had a single VFX work. Slovenia's film industry is so small and keeps producing only social dramas with no VFX needs, and other clients want to see your previous work to even consider your existence. If you wanna work, you have to show what you did, and if no-one gives you work to do you're... well... you get my point. That's why I started to make my reel from random ideas I had. What you see on the CD I gave you is stuff that was never used in any project. It's just stuff I came up with, trying to get something to show. It's not much, since I had to keep doing other things to survive (literally) and couldn't afford to get all the time I needed to work on the pieces. That's why I'm trying to keep my company alive with web design, and even selling computers. Being a salesman is really painful for an artist like me, but there's still hope in me for a brighter (and more creative) future.
Christopher was the first person from the "real" film industry to see that stuff. When he said he liked it, I was really shocked. He gave me that dose of hope I needed so bad. Tell him that if he'll ever need any visual effects work, I'm here and ready to do anything "grin"J
And when he told me he liked my style after the projection and award ceremony, it was like winning 100 cell phones for me. That was the greatest prize I could ever dream of.
That's it for now, I guess. Please, if you can, forward this mail to Christopher too (so you don't have to tell him everything yourself J).
And, yeah, see you next year!
You definitely will see us next year, Sebastian. Three Cheers for the Slovenians!!!