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Meet Matt Jacques – the University’s new Oscar and BAFTA award-winning visual effects artist

Meet Matt Jacques – the University’s new Oscar and BAFTA award-winning visual effects artistHollywood visual effects artist Matt Jacques has worked on some of the biggest blockbusters of the last decade - and is now teaching a new generation of VFX stars at the University of Chichester.

Our newly-appointed senior lecturer is best known for his prized work on hit sci-fi films Interstellar and Inception, which have received Oscar and BAFTA awards. He also lists the Harry Potter franchise on his CV, alongside Marvel movie Thor: The Dark World, and the latest James Bond epic Spectre.

After more than ten years spent behind the scenes, bringing to life some of Hollywood’s highest-grossing films, he has turned his talents to teaching on the University’s new BA (Hons) in 3D animation and visual effects at its £35million Tech Park.

“I’ve always wanted to teach,” he says, “and am incredibly excited by the Tech Park’s unique ability to offer students an experience of working across all areas of filmmaking. I don’t know any other university that offers that in one place.”

Matt spent more than a decade developing feature films and television at the internationally-acclaimed VFX facility DNEG. It was here that he refined his craft and helped the British motion-picture company collect five Academy Awards and another five BAFTA awards.

An avid Tolkien reader as a boy, he says he always harboured ambitions of one day working with iconic visual directors, such as Peter Jackson. Matt adds: “There weren’t many opportunities in VFX in the early 2000s so, when I was 17, I did a traditional apprenticeship in film and cameras for Vogue magazine. My love of film and television art grew from there.”

Matt’s first role was a job with celebrated visual-effects company Framestore, where he designed the squirrels for Tim Burton’s 2005 reboot of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “It was ground-breaking work at the time because we were among the first to use CGI to create the animals.”

Soon after came his first big breakthrough: a senior role at DNEG, where he credits some of his proudest work on two films: Interstellar and Inception, both from acclaimed director Christopher Nolan. “Working with Chris Nolan is incredibly rewarding because he has such innovative ideas,” he adds, speaking about creating Interstellar’s famed tesseract scene, starring Matthew McConaughey’s journey through time and space, which won an Oscar.

“A lot of people think that visual effects are all done in the USA, but the reality is that the UK has a thriving VFX scene with the best artists in the world.”

Now teaching visual effects within our University’s department of Creative and Digital Technologies, Matt is situated in the state-of-the-art animation labs housed at the Tech Park. The new BA (Hons) in 3D animation and visual effects is designed in close-collaboration with industry professionals to prepare students for a career in one of the UK’s fastest-growing sectors.

Attracted by the proposition of developing the new course, Matt’s decision to leave Hollywood for the classroom wasn’t taken lightly. “I heard that there was something big going on the south coast – so I met up with Max Tyrie [Oscar-winning animator leading the degree programme] at the Tech Park to see for myself, and was astounded at its incredible facilities and opportunities to learn.”

Speaking of his approach to teaching his students, Matt adds: “We work on developing a range of technical craft skills, starting from the basics and working to high-level specialisms so that the students can enter the industry - whether that’s in film, television, or videogames – at a very high standard.”

For more about VFX artist Matt Jacques and the University’s new BA (Hons) in 3D animation and visual effects go to www.chi.ac.uk/cdt.

Matt’s Hollywood filmography includes:

  • Interstellar
  • Inception
  • Spectre, James Bond
  • Doctor Who
  • Harry Potter
  • Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Fast and Furious 6
  • Godzilla
  • Terminator Genisys
  • The League of Gentlemen
  • Emerald City
  • Agent Carter
  • Riviera