Cogswell College Alumni Play Major Role on Life of Pi VFX Team

SUNNYVALE, Calif., March 4, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cogswell College (, today announced that several alumni from its prestigious Project X animation and film production program were credited on the visual effects team in the Oscar-winning film, Life of Pi, including a supervising technical director.

"Cogswell graduates worked on many of the top-grossing films of 2012," says Michael Huber, a Hollywood industry veteran who directs Project X at Cogswell. "All nine graduates who worked on Life of Pi were Project X students. Our students are ready to work in the top VFX houses due to the rigors of this program."

Alumnus Chris Evart, who recently moved from the beleaguered Rhythm & Hues to a major Hollywood studio, served as technical animator on Life of Pi after completing work on Snow White and the Huntsman.

"I did the close-up interaction shot of Pi crying and petting the tiger's head," says Evart, "and the shot where the tiger comes out from under the tarp and roars at the camera." A recent blog photo shows Pi petting a blue tiger stand-in, a powerful testament to the artistry and level of production that created the CGI tiger moviegoers experienced.

"The level of technical expertise Chris contributed to this film is a testament to Project X," says Huber. "These former students all worked on Project X's student films The Offering or our current short, Worlds Apart."

The post-apocalyptic Worlds Apart has been on the film festival circuit for the last 18 months. It has garnered more than a dozen 'Best Animation' or '1st Place' awards at national and international festivals.

"The VFX industry is so integrated into Hollywood that without it there would be no Hollywood," says Huber. "With Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm (which includes Industrial Light and Magic (ILM),and Skywalker Sound), multiple new VFX projects that will require a slew of new hires are in planning stages." Huber notes that two Life of Pi VFX team members have moved on to Disney.

"Our Project X graduates are highly sought after and are often hired right out of the program," Huber ends. "Ninety-nine per cent of Hollywood films have some form of CGI; for those with the highest level of training, there will always be work."

About Cogswell College

Located in Sunnyvale, Calif., in the heart of the Silicon Valley, Cogswell College is an accredited four-year institution of higher education with a curriculum that fuses art, engineering and entrepreneurship ( ). As one of the Bay Area's premier colleges, its novel academic approach offers an integrated model that emulates the industry environment—a collaborative, project-based, learning approach that uses multidisciplinary teams to take projects from concept through the delivery pipeline.

CONTACT: Bonnie Phelps Cogswell College 408-498-5145 Kimberly Hathaway Gallagher Group Communications 415-994-1097Source:Cogswell College