The Locarno Film Festival will celebrate U.S. animator and visual effects artist Phil Tippett, winner of two Oscars for his work on “The Return of the Jedi” and “Jurassic Park,” with a lifetime achievement award.
Locarno’s upcoming edition will also host the world premiere of Tippett’s long gestating experimental stop-motion film “Mad God,” said to be set in a Miltonesque world of monsters, mad scientists and war pigs, and funded by fans through Kickstarter.
The prominent Swiss fest dedicated to international indie cinema is on track to hold its 74th edition as an in-person event Aug. 4-14, barring coronavirus complications.
Locarno will fete Tippett with its Vision Award Ticinomoda, which celebrates the achievements of creative artists whose work behind the scenes “has extended the horizons of filmic iconography,“ the fest said in a statement.
The plan is for Tippett to receive the prize on Thursday, Aug. 5, in a ceremony on Locarno’s large Piazza Grande open-air venue which on Aug. 6 will host the “Mad God” world premiere and screenings of two standout titles from his collaboration with director Paul Verhoeven “RoboCop” (1987) and “Starship Troopers” (1997).
In a career spanning more than four decades dedicated to creature design and character animation, Tippett besides two Oscars has won a BAFTA and two Emmys while gaining widespread acclaim for his crucial role in the advent of modern digital effects for motion pictures.
Tippett founded his namesake company, Tippett Studio, in 1984 after making his name as head of animation and creature design for George Lucas’ Star Wars films and company Industrial Light & Magic.
Tippett’s career covers nearly every major milestone in modern visual effects history. From the holographic chess scene and Cantina Band creatures of Star Wars, to the groundbreaking marriage of computer technology with stop motion (an invention he termed “go-motion”) on films such as “Robocop,” to the Oscar-winning “Jurassic Park” dinosaurs.
He more recently oversaw the design and creation of a multi-dimensional dark ride for Chinese Theme Park developer Wanda, called “The Monkey King: Havoc in the Heavens.”
“In visual effects, there’s a pre-and a post-Phil Tippett,” said Locarno’s artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro in the statement. “Ever since Star Wars, the whole of fantasy filmmaking has owed a lot to his creative genius,” he added. Nazzaro also praised Tippett calling him “not just a creator at the behest of the creative vision of others, but an auteur in his own right: innovative, visionary, and capable of rethinking cinema in all its forms.”