Tim McGovern – Chief Creative Officer / Writer / Director

Tim began his career, early in the digital visual effects industry, doing award winning, ground-breaking work in visual effects and computer animation.  In addition to an Academy Award in 1990 for Visual Effects in the movie, Total Recall, Tim garnered 5 Clios, a Hugo and a Mobius.  In 1992, at the creative helm at Sony Picture Imageworks, he grew it from 8 to 250 employees.  A testament to Tim’s eye for talent is that among the employees he has hired, 4 went on to win Academy Awards.

His career began at ABC, where he was recognized for his work in animation and on-air graphic design.  He joined the legendary Robert Abel & Associates to work with computer-controlled cameras and computer-generated imagery and within 6 months,  was working with a team of 4 to create a 55 second sequence of CG sequence for Walt Disney’s Tron.  During this time, Tim won five Clios, one for a ground-breaking TV commercial called Sexy Robot.  It aired during the Super Bowl in 1985.  Sexy Robot was the first time human motion had ever been applied to a computer generated character for television or motion pictures and it created a sensation with the Super Bowl TV audience.

In 1987, Tim joined MetroLight Studios as a founding member and Head of Production. He spent 5 years with MetroLight as a Visual Effects Supervisor where he worked with directors James Cameron, David Lynch and Paul Verhoeven.

In 1989, Tim directed the computer animated Skeleton Sequence for Carolco Pictures Total Recall.  This work featured fluid and realistic motion of 9 humans and 1 dog.  His work won the 1990 Academy Award For Visual Effects.  Tim was the first Visual Effects Supervisor with a CG or digital background to have his work recognized with an Academy Award.

In 1992, Tim became a founding member, Senior V.P. of Creative and Technical Affairs, and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks.   He grew the company from 8 employees to over 250, contributing to over 50 successful feature films, including Speed, The Net, Wolf, In The Line Of Fire, James and the Giant Peach and Johnny Mnemonic.  Tim personally supervised Last Action Hero, Hideaway, Virtuosity, Money Train, The Ghost And The Darkness and As Good As It Gets.  While at Sony, Tim also contributed heavily to the creative development of several pictures including Swat, with producer Joe Caracciolo.

Since leaving Sony, Tim has worked as an independent Visual Effects Supervisor and filmmaker. He has worked on films shot in Vancouver, Berlin, Amsterdam, Milan, Prague, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Goa, Jerusalem, Kigali and Belfast.  Tim has been on business to India more than twenty times, and many times to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, London, Paris, Canne, Rome, Brussels, Tokyo and Montreal.

In September 2007-2015, Tim was appointed to the Steering Committee for the visual effects branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the organization that awards the Oscars.  Tim has been an elected member of the Board of Directors for the Visual Effects Society (VES – an honorary society with more than 3400 members worldwide) for 16 of the last 20 years.  In January 2007, Tim was elected Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the VES.  He was a founding co-chair of the VES Awards Committee 2001-2006, where he worked with the Chair and 2nd Co-Chair to create the rules, categories, graphic look and awards events and show.  He also produced and presented onstage the Fourth Annual VES Awards Show, which was televised in April 2006.  In 2010 he was appointed Chair of the VES Committee for Outreach to Developing Regions, where Tim has created a network of committee members in India, Singapore, Japan, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain to grow those regions to VES Section status  and has helped to increase the number of VES Sections from 9 to 12 and soon 14.  In 2015 Tim was asked to include Outreach to Animation and Games to the list of Outreach Committee’s missions.  Tim was asked to join the Animated Feature Branch Nominating Committee for the Academy  both in 2012 & 2016.  Additionally in 2001-2013, he served as a member of the Advisory Board to the President of the San Francisco Academy of Art University.

In 2007, Tim joined his long time collaborator, George Merkert, to form Whisper Pictures, a development and production company focused on Animated Family Films.  Tim is the Chief Creative Officer and wrote the screenplay for company’s first motion picture, TUSK: Hannibal’s Favorite Elephant and has 3 other stories in development.

Tim has given more than 40 talks in the US, Japan, Europe, India and Korea on visual effects and animation topics. He has also served as an expert witness in legal proceedings regarding visual effects patent issues.


Credits—Motion Pictures and Visual Effects

Dunkirk — Warner Bros.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War — Universal Pictures

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation — Paramount Pictures

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For — Miramax

Trapped — Sony Pictures

Equilibrium — Miramax

Supernova — MGM/UA

Stigmata — MGM/UA

As Good As It Gets — TriStar Pictures

The Ghost And The Darkness — Paramount

Money Train — Columbia Pictures

Virtuosity — Paramount Pictures

Hideaway — TriStar Pictures

Look Who’s Talking Now — Tristar Pictures

So I Married An Axe Murderer — Tristar

Last Action Hero — Columbia Pictures

Total Recall — TriStar Winner 1990 ACADEMY AWARD Special Visual Effects

Tron — Walt Disney Pictures



1990   ACADEMY AWARD Total Recall – Special Achievement in Visual Effects

1988   CLIO   Hawaiian Punch – US TV / Cinema – Animation, Computer

1987   CLIO Benson & Hedges Gold POWER – Int’l TV/Cinema, Best Graphics

1985   HUGO   Sexy Robot – Chicago International Film Festival, Best Special Effects

1985   MOBIUS  Sexy Robot – US TV & Radio Commercial, Best of Festival

1985   CLIO Sexy Robot – US TV / CINEMA, Best Animation-Computer

1983   CLIO 7-Up Pacman – International TV / Cinema, Best Beverages

1983   CLIO 7-Up Pacman – International TV / Cinema, Best Graphics

1981   CLIO NBC Sunday Night at the Movies – US TV/Cinema Finalist


Memberships in Associations

Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences / Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee ( 2006 – 2015 ).

Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences / Animated Feature Nominating Committee ( 2012 & 2016 )

Virtual Production Committee ( A joint committee between the ASC, PGA, ADG & VES ) ( 2008 – present )

VES Board of Directors Member ( 1999 – 2017 ) off 3x’s only during required term-outs

VES Board of Directors Executive Committee – Vice Chair ( 2007 )

VES Awards Committee – Co-Chair ( 2001 – 2006)

VES Committee for Outreach to Developing Regions – Chair ( 2010 – present ) – Singapore, Japan, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy and India

President’s Advisory Board ( 2001 –2013 ) Academy of Art University (AAU ) San Francisco



University of Illinois at Chicago – Bachelor of Arts

Double Major in Graphic Design & Photography – Minor in Art History – Suma Cum Laude

Doctorate of Humane Letters (Honorary) – San Francisco Academy of Art University


Recent Speaking Engagements

2017    VR/AR Immersive Technology – Mumbai Round Table Member

2016    b’ Ars – Barcelona Internation Arts & VFX Fair VES Outreach Presentation

2016    FMX – Stuttgart Co-chair – CEO Summit, Moderator: Making of Jungle Book

2016 FICCI Frames – Mumbai Moderator – Masterclass: Creating Classic and Future Icons

2016    DSK Animation Conclave – DSK Campus-Pune A Breakdown of the 2016 Oscar Nominated VFX Films

2015    University of Texas at Arlington – College of Art A Breakdown of the 2015 Oscar Nominated VFX Films

2013    NAB – Las Vegas Bollywood Beyond Borders

2012    Pixel Hub – Montreal 48-60-120fps: High Frame Rate Impact on Digital VFX Post

2012    UCLA Film & Television Archive & VES – LA Tripping the Light Fantastic: Tribute to Robert Abel – Panel

2012   DICON – Keynote Address, Seoul, South Korea

2012   International Institute of Film Financing, LA, CA – Kicking It Up a Notch: Crowdfunding a $100 Million Animated Feature Film

2010   FICCI FRAMES Mumbai, India – Animation & VFX in the Box Office

2010   Animazing Spotlight Festival, LA, CA – The Magic of Robert Abel & Associates

2009   5D Conference on Immersive Design, Cal State University Long Beach – Fast & Fantastic – 3D Visual Effects

2008   FICCI US-India Investment Seminar & Business Expo, LA, CA – The Global Business of Animation & VFX

2007   VES Tour of India, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai – What India Needs Now

2006   VES 4th Annual Awards Dinner, Master of Ceremonies, Hollywood – How We Got Here

2005   FRAMES 2005, Mumbai, India – The History of CG VFX in Film

2002   ACADEMY of ART University, San Francisco, CA – The History of CG VFX in Film