The work of Douglas Trumbull on the legacy of visual effects in film is unmistakable, going all the way back to his work on “2001: A Space Odyssey.” He had a hand in such groundbreaking films as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Blade Runner” and also bridged the gap, becoming a director in his own right with films like “Silent Running” and “Brainstorm.”
This year Trumbull’s work is on full display in Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” which features a 20-odd minute analog effects sequence depicting the beginnings of the universe. He could well be recognized by his peers in the visual effects branch of the Academy for his work, and a tip of the hat by the Visual Effects Society is a good start.
The organization has tapped Trumbull as the recipient of this year’s Georges Méliès Award, which honors individuals who have “pioneered a significant and lasting contribution to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry by way of artistry, innovation and groundbreaking work,” according to the press release.
It is worth noting Méliès — the legendary French filmmaker — in a broader sense this year. A colorized print of the director’s classic film “A Trip to the Moon” has been making the festival rounds, being the most in-depth and expensive film preservation project of all time. Meanwhile, that restoration makes an appearance — as does Méliès (as a character) — in Martin Scorsese’s ode to film preservation, “Hugo.”
The award will be presented at the 10th annual VES Awards on February 7, 2012. Meanwhile, “The Tree of Life” is on DVD and Blu-ray as of today. Go out and get it!