Vancouver Visual Effects Supervisor Thomas Schelesny wins Emmy for Outstanding Visual Effects

Press Release

Thomas Schelesny wins Emmy for Outstanding Visual Effects

Schelesny’s team at Image Engine helped create “The Bells,” one of the most terrifying episodes of the final season of Game of Thrones

September 16, 2019

Vancouver-based Visual Effects Supervisor Thomas Schelesny has won an Emmy Award for his work on one of the most momentous episodes of the final season of Game of Thrones.

“The Bells” is a pivotal episode, which sees Queen Daenerys Targaryen finally invade the capital, King’s Landing, only to be overcome by madness and rage.

As the vengeful queen flies over the city on her fire breathing dragon, Drogon, she burns every neighbourhood to the ground, killing thousands of soldiers and civilians.

Visual Effects Supervisor Schelesny, with his team of artists at Image Engine studio, created almost every animation of Drogon for this devastating episode.

After receiving the Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Schelesny said he is humbled by the experience.

“The final season of Game of Thrones pushed the limits of what is possible in TV visual effects, and it’s a special honour to accept this award on behalf of the entire team,” he said.

“I’m incredibly proud of how we all rose to the challenge and pushed the bar a little higher for future productions.”

For Shawn Walsh, Visual Effects Executive Producer and General Manager at Image Engine, the Emmy Award is “the icing on the cake” for the studio.

“As a representative of our entire crew that put their heart and soul into this impressive VFX work, I’m thrilled to see Thomas accept this recognition on behalf of our studio,” said Walsh.

“Thomas is a shining example of true creative leadership.”

As Walsh explains, creating the visual effects in “The Bells” also involved on-set practical effects crew, production side VFX supervision and management, and partner studios.

“Occasionally, we are a part of creating visual effects work that is truly more than the sum of its parts. ‘The Bells’ went well beyond expert execution, into a cumulative result which involved tremendous dedication,” said Walsh.

“Thomas was a key link in this chain, guiding our Image Engine team to deliver incredibly compelling animation.”

Schelesny has been in visual effects for more than 25 years, and this is his second Emmy, after being honoured in 2014 for his work on the Game of Thrones episode “The Children.”

On both occasions, Schelesny has shared the Emmy Award with colleagues from across the industry, who also contributed to the breathtaking visual effects in each episode.

About Image Engine

Image Engine was founded in Vancouver in 1995 and is now a world-class visual effects studio, specializing in creature animation and environment creation for film and TV.

In 2010, Image Engine was nominated for an Academy Award for its groundbreaking alien animations in Neill Blomkamp’s critically-acclaimed film District 9.

Since then, the studio has been nominated for multiple awards and created VFX for a huge range of projects, including Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Lost In Space.

In 2018, Image Engine won a Visual Effects Society (VES) Award for its outstanding animation of the dragon, Drogon, in the breathtaking loot train attack in Game of Thrones.

A full breakdown of Image Engine’s visual effects work on Game of Thrones Season 8 can be found on our case study page.


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