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Bran Ferren

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Bran Ferren
File:Bran Ferren in 2005.jpg
Gender: Male
Date of birth: 16 January 1953
Place of birth: New York City, New York
Roles: Visual Effects Supervisor
Bran Ferren on the set of The Final Frontier.jpg

On the set of The Final Frontier

On the set of The Final Frontier

Bran Ferren (born 16 January 1953; age 61) is a former cinematographer who specialized in the production of visual effects. It was his New York-based company, Associates and Ferren, that was selected in 1988 to provide the visual effects for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and on which he also served as Visual Effects Supervisor.

Described in good nature by reporter Ron Magid as "an unusual blend of mad scientist, inventor and eccentric" (American Cinematographer, July 1989, p. 76), Ferren was a passionate developer of cinematographic techniques and technology, and it was initially to this end he founded his own company in 1978, before branching out in actually creating visual effects. It won him an Academy Award in the non-production specific category "Technical Achievement Award" in 1983. Magid's impression was not lost on William Shatner, when he sounded out Ferren for The Final Frontier, calling him humorously "Sorcerer's Apprentice". (Star Trek Movie Memories, p. 300) It was his passion though, that won Shatner and Executive Producer Ralph Winter over.

Prior to his involvement with Star Trek, Ferren has worked on productions as Altered States (1980), Deathtrap (1982), Places in the Heart (1984), Little Shop of Horrors (1986, earning him a BAFTA, and Academy Award nomination in one category and his second win in a technical category), The Manhattan Project (1986, in which he had a cameo), and the documentary Funny (1989, winning him a Chicago International Film Festival, and a Sundance Film Festival awards nomination).

Whether or not the less than cordial reception of The Final Frontier had been of any influence, afterwards, the only other movie credit that Ferren or his company had to their name was Second Sight (1989).

In October 1993, Ferren took on a position as Senior Vice President–Creative Technology at Walt Disney Imagineering, and a consequence of that was that Associates and Ferren ceased its existence as it was absorbed into that company. [1] In 2000, he left Disney, and founded with co-worker William Hillis a new company Applied Minds, LLC., a company that provides technology and consulting services to a wide array of industries, including the motion picture industry. Ferren is currently still running his business.

Further reading

  • "Effects for Trek V Explore Uncharted Territory", Ron Magid, American Cinematographer, July 1989, pp. 76-92
  • "Sharing the Pain", Paul Mandell, Cinefex, issue 42, May 1990, pp. 44-68

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