Conference 5–9 August 2012
Exhibition 7–9 August 2012
Los Angeles Convention Center

SIGGRAPH Business Symposium

Registration Categories

The SIGGRAPH Business Symposium requires a separate admission fee and is not included in any other SIGGRAPH 2012 registration categories.


JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles L.A. LIVE, Diamond Ballroom
Sunday, 5 August 8 am - 5:30 pm


In its second year, the SIGGRAPH Business Symposium provides an intimate, interactive forum for discussion of the business of our business from a high-level, experiential vantage point. This full-day experience brings together leaders, creators, global business entrepreneurs, legal professionals, artists, financiers, producers, and executives from a broad spectrum of computer graphics, animation, education, motion pictures, gaming, and visual effects to explore the present and future of our industry and community.

The day provides a welcoming, neutral setting for open, frank conversations among the producers and executives who now design our direction. All the speakers have forged unique paths to their current roles. The morning session provides a foundation for the day, an opportunity to hear from leaders on the global stage just what they experience from their particular vantage points. The afternoon session is a look into newer business models from some of the people and companies defining the future. Two featured speakers, visionary leaders who influence the direction of our industry in vastly different manners, set the stage for the in-depth discussions. And throughout the entire experience, attendees will have plenty of opportunity to interact with their peers - the leaders and visionaries who guiding our community and our industry.

The SIGGRAPH Business Symposium requires a separate admission fee. It is not included in other SIGGRAPH 2012 registration categories. Attendance is very limited. Last year's symposium sold out before the conference.

The SIGGRAPH Business Symposium is closed to the news media.

SIGGRAPH Business Symposium Registration

Featured Speakers

Carl Rosendahl

Founder Pacific Data Images, Venture Capitalist, Co-Director, Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center-Silicon Valley

As an inventor and a visionary, Carl Rosendahl's kaleidoscopic journey has taken him from studio owner to venture capitalist to inspiring educator. In 1980, soon after earning his BSEE at Stanford University, Carl Rosendahl founded Pacific Data Images, which continues to be one of the pioneering and most highly innovative creators of computer animation for film and television. During his 20 years of leading the organization, PDI produced over 700 commercials, worked on visual effects for over 70 feature films and, in partnership with DreamWorks SKG, produced the hit animated film "Antz" and the Academy Award-winning "Shrek". He has received multiple Emmy Awards and in 1998 was recognized with a Technical Achievement Academy Award for PDI’s contributions to modern filmmaking. In early 2000, he sold PDI to DreamWorks SKG, and the company continues to develop and produce animated feature films, including the "Shrek" series and "Madagascar". As a Carnegie Mellon professor, he mentors and advises students working on their masters degrees in entertainment technology and teaches a course on entrepreneurship. Prior to joining Carnegie Mellon, he was the CEO and founder of Uth TV, a television and web outlet tapping into the exploding power of youth voice and digital storytelling. From 2000 through 2002, he was a managing director at Mobius Venture Capital (formerly Softbank Venture Capital), where he focused on investments in the technology and media space.

John Textor

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Digital Domain Media Group

John Textor has served as chairman of Digital Domain's board of directors since 2006 and as chief executive officer since January 2009. He is the founder of Wyndcrest Holdings, LLC, a Florida-based private holding company focused on technology-related opportunities in entertainment, telecommunications, and the internet, and has served as its (and its predecessor’s) president since 1997. He also served as chairman of BabyUniverse, Inc. from November 2002 and its chief executive officer from April 2005 until its sale in October 2007. Prior to that, he was employed in various merchant banking and investment banking capacities by Shearson Lehman Hutton and Paine Webber. He was also a founding director of Lydian Trust Company, a Florida-based diversified financial services company until 2004. He was formerly a director of Multicast Media Technologies, Inc., a global provider of internet-based broadcast media. He was previously chairman of Sims Snowboards, a prominent global snowboard brand. He holds a bachelor of arts in economics from Wesleyan University.

Symposium Schedule

Breakfast, collaborative activity, round tables, guided ice breaker

8:30 - 9:30 am


9:30 - 9:45 am

The Business of the Business: The State of the Union in 2011-2012

9:45 - 10:30 am
Leaders from the global community talk about feature and television production, unions, education, what's global, and what's local.

Will Cohen

Managing Director/Executive Producer for Mill Film and Mill TV

Will Cohen joined The Mill in July 2003 and now leads the film and TV divisions as Managing Director and VFX Executive Producer of Mill Film and TV. He recently led the visual effects team working on several feature films, including "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" for Disney, "Dredd" for DNA, and "Snow White and The Huntsman" for Universal. He was also executive producer of The Mill’s VFX work on 2010’s box office hit, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" for 20th Century Fox/Walden Media. Among his most noted recent television projects are "Merlin" for the BBC, which was awarded the 2011 BAFTA for Outstanding Visual Effects; "Doctor Who", which has earned the team BAFTA, VES, and RTS Awards for their visual effects work; the return of ITV/Watch’s "Primeval", and the BBC’s "Sherlock", recently nominated for a prestigious Emmy Award for visual effects.

Patrick Davenport

Vice President Creative Operations, Method Studios

Patrick Davenport oversees Method’s facilities in Los Angeles and New York. Prior to joining Method in 2010, Davenport served as Executive Producer at Image Metrics, where he worked on features such as "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and introduced the company’s proprietary performance-driven facial animation into VFX and animation markets globally. His VFX experience in the US began with Digital Domain, where he was initially hired as Director of Digital Operations before being promoted to Executive Producer of Digital Domain’s commercial division in 2001. He began his visual effects career at The Moving Picture Company in London, where he first joined the VFX department as a producer before being promoted to Director of VFX in 1995.

Mark Driscoll

President, Executive Producer and Co-Founder, Look Effects Inc.

Mark Driscoll is responsible for Look's management and long-term strategic planning, and he serves as executive producer for all of the company’s key projects. Recent and current projects include "The Dictator", "Moonrise Kingdom", "Underworld Awakening", "The Muppets", "Limitless", "Black Swan", "The Finder", "Lost", "Bones", "Step up 3D", "Fast Five", and "The King’s Speech". Driscoll is a graduate of MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering and architecture. He worked in the technology and financial industries in Boston until he moved to Los Angeles to start his career in film. He worked for Digital Domain, producing live-action projects and digital postproduction. He also served as digital effects production manager at Blue Sky/VIFX before launching Look in 1997.

Hael Kobayashi

Executive Director, Creative Innovation, University of Technology, Sydney

Hael Kobayashi leads the University of Technology, Sydney's creative industries strategy across research, teaching and learning, and external engagement. He has been a senior executive and producer for several of the world’s leading film and entertainment studios: Executive for Production Strategy at Omnilab Media Group, Australia and New Zealand’s largest, independently owned, vertically integrated media company;  Group Head of Production and Associate Producer on the Oscar-winning, digitally animated feature film "Happy Feet" for Animal Logic; Director of Digital Artists Production for Industrial Light & Magic, where he managed digital artists and operations in creature development, animation, and visual effects; and PDI DreamWorks in several production-management roles.  Since 2003, he has been a member of leadership teams working with economic development groups, regional planners, and leaders in education to create strategies for developing digital and emerging media as part of sustainable economic growth in  the USA,  Singapore, and Australia, where he was a member of the Digital Content Industry Action Agenda task force.  He is a Senior Adviser for Denmark’s INDEX: Design to Improve Life and a member of the DesignSingapore Advisory Board.  Most recently, he addressed the creative economy at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII) in Doha, Qatar.

Lee Berger

President, Rhythm & Hues' Film Division and CEO, East Grand Films

Lee Berger is the senior executive for Rhythm & Hues’ Film division, the Academy Award-winning visual effects and animation studio whose work is featured in more than 140 Hollywood movies. He has spearheaded the studio’s efforts to augment its traditional effects and animation-service business model by negotiating partnerships with major movie distributors. Rhythm & Hues’ first entry into this arena was with Warner Bros. Pictures on “Yogi Bear". To date, that co-venture has grossed over US$200 million worldwide. He is also the chief executive officer of East Grand Films, a film investment fund created, sponsored and managed by R&H to co-finance and co-produce major Hollywood featurec films for the global market. After early jobs with John Dykstra’s Apogee Productions and commercial director Bruce Dorn, he became a freelance visual effects producer in 1993 on “Batman Forever", followed by assignments on “Titanic” and “Volcano". In 1997, he joined VIFX as vice president of production, and when the company merged with Rhythm & Hues in 1999, he was appointed executive producer of the R&H Film Division, a position he held for eight years before being named president of the division in 2006. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Radio, TV and Film program.

Habib Zargarpour

Creative Director, Microsoft Studios

Habib Zargarpour, a creative director at Microsoft Studios since 2010, has over 12 years of experience in visual effects for film and 10 years in the games industry. Nominated for two Academy Awards and winner of two BAFTAs in Visual Effects for his work on "Twister" and "The Perfect Storm" while at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), his other film projects include two Star Trek films, "Spawn", "Star Wars Episode I", "The Bourne Identity", and "Signs".  He served as a senior art director at Electronic Arts (EA), 2002-2009, where he worked on Need for Speed Underground, 007 Bond Everything or Nothing, and Need for Speed Most Wanted, which received a Visual Effects Society (VES) Award in 2006. He combines his film and game experience to bridge the gap between the two to develop transmedia projects and discover new ways of storytelling using their combined technologies. He is an active member of AMPAS and BAFTA, and a founding member of the Visual Effects Society.

Networking Break

10:30 am

Featured Speaker

11 am - noon

Carl Rosendahl

Founder Pacific Data Images, Venture Capitalist, Co-Director, Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center-Silicon Valley


Networking Lunch

12 - 12:45 pm

Workshop: Breaking the Box
Operating creatively in a business-oriented universe

1 - 2 pm

Featured Speaker

2:15 - 3:15 pm

John Textor

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Digital Domain Media Group


Networking Break

3:15 - 3:45 pm

Show Me the Money!

3:45 - 4:30 pm
The legalities, technicalities, and particulars of international transmedia finance

Jonathan Garson

Vice President, Worldwide Marketing & Franchise, Pixar Animation Studios

Jonathan Garson oversees all marketing, franchise, and brand-management activities for Pixar Animation Studios,. He joined Pixar in his current capacity in 2010.  Prior to joining PIxar, he spent 16 years in a variety of business, marketing, and production posts at Disney.  He holds a BA in business from Arizona State University and an MBA from California State University, Northridge.

Shannon Blake Gans

Co-founder and CEO, New Deal Studios

As co-founder and CEO of New Deal Studios, Shannon Blake Gans is the organizational spice of the most dynamic young company in motion picture visual effects. Raised in a family of entrepreneurs, she entered the work force at an early age and dreamed of leading her own company. In 1992, she moved from Florida to Los Angeles to earn a degree from the prestigious entrepreneur program at the University of Southern California. In 1995, she partnered with Ian Hunter and Matthew Gratzner in 1995 to form a miniatures and mechanical-effects company serving the entertainment industry. In 2001, the expanded the company and formed New Deal Studios as a full-service visual effects production facility. Her professional associations include Women in Film, the Visual Effects Society (where she has served on the Board of Directors, on the Executive Committee, and as Treasurer), and the USC Advisory Council. In 2000, she was honored by her alma mater with the Lloyd Greif Center Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Ondraus Jenkins

Head of Strategy and Corporate Development, Bungie, Inc.

Ondraus Jenkins, with more than 12 years experience in traditional and interactive entertainment, leads all aspects of Bungie's strategic planning, corporate development, and legal activities. Prior to Bungie, he held positions at Electronic Arts and Gang, Tyre, Ramer and Brown, an entertainment law firm. The remainder of his previous legal career is a blur. When not delivering a beat down in Halo Reach, he wastes time playing Civilization IV.

Sara Cardone

Vice President, Global Strategy and Business Development, SDI Media

Sara Cardone has over a decade of experience in the business of international localization and distribution of entertainment content. As VP Global Strategy and Business Development at SDI Media, she focuses on developing new geographic markets, establishing strategic relationships and alliances, and introducing new services to promote SDI's customer experience. SDI Media, the world's leading provider of dubbing, subtitling, and other media localization services, operates in 32 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. SDI's strength is in its ability to offer end-to-end service to its clients, including scripting, casting, directing, recording/mixing, and other post-production services. Prior to joining SDI Media, Sara worked at Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks SKG in various positions overseeing international localization and business affairs.

Sanford Rosenberg

Managing Director, Discus Ventures

Sanford Rosenberg is the founder of Discus Ventures, a New York-based financial advisory firm founded in 2006 to provide strategic, operational, and private-equity guidance to early- and late-stage companies across multiple industry sectors. He maintains a core focus on the intersection of media and technology. 

Previously, he spent a decade in the investment bank at Citigroup and its predecessor firms focused on private-equity and venture-capital transactions predominantly within the media, communications, and technology sectors. His most recent role was as a senior banker within Citigroup’s direct private-equity placements group in New York, where he was responsible for the start-to-finish origination, structuring, and capital raising for private and public companies. His activities at Citigroup also included positions in the financial entrepreneurs (private-equity sponsor coverage) and acquisition finance groups. Prior to Citigroup, he spent six years as a strategic consultant based in Asia and Central Europe.   

He received his MBA with honors from Columbia Business School and his dual BA in economics and Asian studies from Tufts University. He has worked and traveled extensively internationally and has a working knowledge of Japanese, Russian, and Czech. He currently splits his time between New York and Los Angeles.

Current activities include: TODpix, a new model in social-media-driven theatrical film distribution, which he co-founded;  Philoment Media, a brand-integrated content-creation company; and the Global Student Loan Corporation, a leading web-based educational finance company that facilitates loans for international students globally.

Gregg Lukomski

CEO and Founder, (SlideRule)inc

Gregg Lukomski is CEO and Founder of (SlideRule)inc, an early-stage "Silicon Beach" startup, focused on the gamification of virtual-production technology. As a fledgling entrepreneur, he draws heavily on the rapid-prototyping and development principles learned during his 20 years (30 counting overtime) as a VFX artist and previz supervisor. His credits include "Terminator Salvation", Lucasfilm's "Red Tails", Disney's "Dinosaur", and commercial campaigns for Microsoft's Halo and Old Spice.


4:30 - 4:45 pm

Cocktails & Conversation

5 - 5:30 pm

Moderator for the Day

Don McGowan

General Counsel, The Pokémon Company International

Don McGowan manages a team responsible for overseeing all legal issues for the Pokémon brand and properties outside of Japan. He has negotiated and steered TV and feature-length film negotiations in over 30 countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and arranged for streaming over Pokémon's own web site with localized content for the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and the Nordic countries. Over 19 billion Pokémon trading cards have been sold in over 65 countries, and his team handles the legal work for their manufacture, distribution, and sale. Before Pokémon, he was the head lawyer for Microsoft Game Studios, where he launched many multi-million-unit titles, including Halo 3, Mass Effect, and Gears of War. Since 2010, he has been an adjunct professor of entertainment law at the University of Washington, and he also runs Legal Minimum, a blog with practical tips and suggestions on legal issues for creators of entertainment content. Pokémon is one of the most successful video game franchises of all time, with more than 230 million games sold worldwide for the Nintendo series of handhelds, and the company is currently finalizing a free-to-play online version of its world-leading Trading Card Game.

Facilitator for the Day

Bob Berger

Bob Berger is an organizational development and leadership consultant. He served in the US Air Force as a pilot and as a faculty member in the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department at the US Air Force Academy. Following his Air Force career, he was a leadership consultant and research analyst at USAA, a financial services company in San Antonio. He recently completed working 10 years at The SCOOTER Store, the nation’s largest provider of power mobility devices for the elderly and disabled. He served in a variety of roles at The SCOOTER Store, including as Dean of the Corporate University and as the Chief Marketing Officer. He has consulted with SIGGRAPH as part of the annual conference planning process since 2000. He specializes in leading SIGGRAPH volunteers in mind-expanding, non-intimidating, endlessly amusing group activities with a message. He has a DPhil in experimental psychology from Oxford University, where his dissertation research integrated theories of visual perception with brain science.