VFX Supervisors Dottie Starling, Damien Hurgon, Ellen Poon and FA Head of Production Nathan Santell join to service growing slate of VFX and feature animation projects

Cinesite Montreal has welcomed three new visual effects supervisors; Dottie Starling, Damien Hurgon, Ellen Poon and a new Feature Animation Head of Production, Nathan Santell. Collectively they have a wide range of expertise spanning from pre-production planning, on set supervision, post-production visual effects, and pipeline development.

The hires come on the heels of a year of steady growth for the Montreal VFX division, which includes work on Respect (MGM), The North Water (AMC), and Tribes of Europa (Netflix) , as well as feature animation work on Space Jam: A New Legacy (Warner Bros) & Blazing Samurai (Aniventure & GFM Animation).

Graham Peddie, Cinesite Montreal COO, noted “While Cinesite has a strong track-record of promoting artists and staff from within, it’s often beneficial to bring in people from elsewhere. We know Nathan, Dottie, Ellen and Damien will each bring with them new experiences, techniques and inspiration to help Cinesite Montreal expand its creative palette and meet the growing demand for new high quality entertainment content.”

Dottie Starling is a highly experienced visual effects supervisor with more than 60 production credits across her 24-year career. From prime-time episodic series like Ozark to Academy award winning feature films such as 12 Years a Slave, Dottie is known for delivering stunning, photoreal visual effects.

Damien Hurgon’s experience ranges from delivering 250 VFX shots of Jake Gyllenhaal as a double above-the-knee amputee for Stronger to supervising a creative team of over 40 crew to bring Stephen King’s novel, Pet Sematary. He joins Cinesite with over 12 years experience having worked for Mikros and Mr. X in Paris and Montreal, respectively.

Ellen Poon is a world-renowned expert in visual effects and animation, with a career spanning more than 30 years, she is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Executive Committee. Ellen has worked on films such as Jurassic Park, Frozen, Zootopia, Moana, Raya and the Last Dragon just to name a few. Her impressive resume does not stop there, she is passionate about Chinese film projects, more recently having worked on one of the highest grossing movies in China, Monster Hunt.

Nathan Santell is an inspiring leader with a strong track record and clear vision. As Head of Production for the Feature Animation division, Nathan will lead the teams in creating efficiencies and continuous improvements to the production pipeline and workflows. His past credits include Mad Max: Fury Road, Gravity, Iron Man 3 and The Avengers to name a few.

Launched in 2014 with just a handful of artists & technicians, Cinesite’s Montreal office now boasts capacity for over 700 employees. The studio is currently recruiting across a range of departments and at various levels of seniority.

The company is headquartered in London with an additional studio in Vancouver, alongside group VFX brands Image Engine and TRIXTER. VFX projects currently in production across the Cinesite group include The Witcher S2 (Netflix), Matilda (Netflix), Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Sony) and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Marvel Studios), to name a few. Feature animation projects include The Addams Family 2 (MGM), Blazing Samurai (GFM Animation & Aniventure) and Hitpig (Aniventure).

About Cinesite

Established in 1991, Cinesite is one of the world’s most highly respected independent digital entertainment studios, producing award-winning animation and visual effects for film, broadcast and streaming media platforms. Alongside global VFX services, its feature animation business works with IP creators and filmmakers to create high-end animated features, based out of Cinesite’s London, Montreal and Vancouver facilities. Cinesite continues to forge new partnerships and collaborations with leading studios and filmmakers to deliver stories that resonate with a global audience.

Tanya Combrinck
Author: Tanya Combrinck

Tanya is a writer covering art, design, and visual effects. She has 15 years of experience as a magazine journalist and has written for publications including 3D World, 3D Artist, Computer Arts, net magazine, and Creative Bloq.