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Exhibit Teaches Tourists the Culture of ‘Avatar’

Themed attraction company GES and partners have produced a traveling educational exhibit based on the blockbuster film “Avatar.” GES’s partners on the project are 20th Century Fox, which released “Avatar”; Lightstorm Entertainment, the production company of director James Cameron; and Beast Kingdom Co. Ltd., a Taiwanese company. GES designed and built Avatar: Discover Pandora at its facility in Glendale. The firm is owned by global entertainment company Viad Corp. in Phoenix. Eddie Newquist, chief creative officer at GES, said that when the immersive exhibit was in the planning stages, it had been suggested to have the work done in Asia, Europe or even the East Coast. But the creative community in Glendale and the region sealed the deal to do it there, considering the talent available, he added. “I now look back and cannot even imagine trying to do this anywhere else,” Newquist said. Avatar: Discover Pandora opened at the Xinyi Theatre in Taipei, Taiwan in December and will stay there for three months. Other cities where the exhibit will stop have not been announced yet but it will eventually get to the U.S., Newquist said. “It is a world tour so we are already talking with partners we’ve worked with before in Europe and North America,” he said. GES has collaborated with Hollywood studios, including Burbank-based Warner Bros. Entertainment and Walt Disney Co., on other film-branded experiences, as well as museum exhibits, visitor centers and corporate events. The 13,000-square-foot “Avatar” exhibit gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about Pandora, the fictional planet where the film takes place. Displays feature the plants, animals, culture, language and music of the Na’vi, the humanoids indigenous to the planet. The design team took the approach of making the exhibit not only entertaining but educational as well about natural wonders of Earth, Newquist said. “You are going to be reminded that we have amazing bioluminescent creatures and organisms deep in the ocean, not too dissimilar to what is happening on Pandora,” he added. ‘VFX Voice’ Magazine The Visual Effects Society is launching in the spring a new print and digital magazine, “VFX Voice.” The first issue comes out in April and members of the Sherman Oaks trade organization will receive a copy as a benefit of membership. The content focuses on the work of visual effects artists in feature films, TV, commercials, video games, music videos and theme parks and will highlight the global membership of the society. Society Board Chairman Mike Chambers said that developing a magazine has been a longstanding goal of the group. “Extending our work to advance the profile and recognition of our industry, ‘VFX Voice’ will focus on the art, the craft and the people of the global visual effects community and the Visual Effects Society,” Chambers said in a prepared statement. Chambers has joined an advisory board to lend industry expertise to the publication. Among others named to the board are Eric Roth, executive director of the VES; Rob Bredow, chief technology officer at Lucasfilm Ltd.; Jim Morris of Pixar Animation Studios; and Dennis Muren, visual effects supervisor and creative director of Industrial Light & Magic. XBiz Award Penthouse Global Media Inc. Chief Executive Kelly Holland has won the Pioneer Award in the movies and production category given by adult entertainment industry publication XBiz. The Pioneer Award recognizes industry figures who have made a profound effect through their vision, innovation and courage. Holland has worked in the adult industry for more than 20 years and joined Penthouse, in Chatsworth, in 2006. She headed up the entertainment division, and later added the publishing, licensing and the clubs unit. Early last year, Holland bought the assets of Penthouse from FriendFinder Networks. In addition to her duties at the company, she is also the founder of an animal rescue nonprofit, Animal Rescue Alliance. The Pioneer Awards will be presented Jan. 12 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. “I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to work in a business that I love and that is its own reward, but I am honored and humbled that XBiz has recognized me,” Holland said in a statement. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or mmadler@sfvbj.com.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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