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VFX: THE REVENANT Bear Bests Chappie, the Hulk & Maz at the Visual Effects Society Awards

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The Revenant Bear is killing it, winning outstanding animated performance last night at the Visual Effects Society Awards over The Avengers’ Hulk, Chappie, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens’s Maz. Industrial Light and Magic animators Matt Shumway, Gaelle Morand, Karin Cooper and Leandro Estebecorena took home the trophy.


The Bear attack also won outstanding compositing in a photoreal feature for Industrial Light and Magic compositors Donny Rausch, Alan Travis, Charles Lai and TC Harrison over teams from Mad Max: Fury Road, San Andreas, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Tomorrowland.

The Revenant picked up an overall award for outstanding supporting visual effects in a photoreal feature for its VFX team — Industrial Light and Magic’s Rich McBride, Ivy Agregan, Jason Smith, Nicolas Chevallier and Cameron Waldbauer, special effects supervisor at Objects Inc. and his 40-person team in Vancouver.  

Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) wearing the bear’s pelt.

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Helmed by Oscar-winning Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu and lensed by Oscar-winning Birdman/Gravity cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, the Alberta-and-BC-filmed feature is the true-ish story of an 1820s fur trapper Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) bent on revenge after a mercenary (Tom Hardy) kilsl his son and leaves him for dead  following a bear attack.

Several BC crew (now sporting Revenant hoodies) worked on the production which filmed mainly in Alberta — on and off for a year from September 2014 to September 2015 — with a small shoot in the Squamish Valley in late 2014 marred by torrential rains. The Revenant’s  famous bear attack was done without any real bears in a small area of first growth timber on the Squamish River known as the “Derringer Forest’ with Leonardo DiCaprio on a harness yanked around and smashing into prop rubber trees so he wouldn’t be hurt. And local stuntman Glenn Ennis playing the bear, added in post production.

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Le Revenant stunt department rehearsed for months in Vancouver before going to the Squamish set.

Glenn Ennis.

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Related: Rodeo FX’s VFX for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.

The Revenant has grossed almost $300 million worldwide in theatres so far.

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