1983

Movie Magic: Effects wizardry recognised
Even inside the film and television industry, many people will think of Britain most immediately as the home of great writers and performers – which of course it is. But there is another area of film and television production in which the UK is a world leader. For many years, Britain has been a key player in the craft of special effects (SFX) – those created whilst shooting - and visual effects (VFX) – those created by working on the film footage after shooting.

British VFX houses are a crucial part of the wider British movie industry and many of the most lavish Hollywood blockbusters actually rely on VFX created in Britain. The history of effects wizardry in Britain is a long one, dating back at least as far as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which wildly expanded the possibilities of VFX when it came out in 1969.

By 1983, the role of special and visual effects in sci-fi classics like Blade Runner, ET and Tron suggested a field scaling ever greater heights, and it came as no surprise when all three were nominated for the first BAFTA for Special Effects that year.

Image: John Richardson is known for his special and visual effects work on films such as Aliens (1986) and the Harry Potter series (2001-2011). This portrait is taken from the BAFTA commissioned exhibition: For the Love of Film, celebrating the craft of filmmaking.



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BAFTA Archive/Phil Fisk

Video: Jill Balcon presents the inaugural Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema to the special visual effects team for Superman in 1979 (Source: BBC Motion Gallery).