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HPA Tech Retreat 2024 Unveils Groundbreaking Supersession


The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has revealed programming details for the highly anticipated HPA Tech Retreat Supersession. This year, the Tech Retreat's Supersession will go behind the scenes with two groups of filmmakers as they create animated shorts that illustrate differing approaches: one utilizing advanced technologies and one AI-focused. As part of the extensive five-day agenda, the Supersession once again stands out as a pinnacle experience, blending the new frontier of creativity and technology.

Celebrating its 29th year, the 2024 HPA Tech Retreat will take place from February 18 to 22, 2024, hosted at the Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, California. Registration is currently open at, with the HPA Tech Retreat Supersession taking place on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

Aligned with the essence of the entire Retreat, the 2024 HPA Supersession promises a distinctive and experiential encounter, pushing the boundaries of what's possible when creativity and technology are put together. This year's AI-focused Supersession follows on previous years, which included building two state-of-the-art 3D theaters for a look at the making of Avatar: The Way of Water in 2023, the construction of three virtual production volumes in 2022 and six short films that were produced live but remotely in the cloud from around the world in 2021.

The 2024 Supersession will focus on real-world evolution in animation content creation, aiming to unpack and explore the realm of possibilities. In two sessions, filmmakers take different approaches to creating content: the most advanced filmmaking techniques for animation in the morning, and an AI filmmaking session in the afternoon. Both will bring attendees into the process.

Tuesday - February 20, 2024

The two collaborative sessions are led by a stellar lineup of artists and technologists, all under the expert guidance of Joachim Zell (JZ), Jack Wenzinger and James Blevins. The entire Supersession experience is emceed by Zell, who will help create an enthralling Supersession showcasing both projects.

Creating Ashen, An Original Animated Short

The morning kicks off with an exploration of the creation of the original animated short, Ashen, crafted by a global team. The session will cover various facets of the creative process and illuminate the most modern ways of creating animation. Topics of discussion include:

The Idea, The Script: Following a script through completion

The Workflow

PreVis and Tech Viz

Concept Art, Look Book, and Beat Sheet

Audio Recording, ADR, Audio Mix

3D Animation

Virtual Camera

Post Production in the Cloud

Editing Composition

Sound Composition

Epic Games

Color Timing Animation

Producing an Animation

Directed by Ruby Bell, and produced by Bell, Michelle Chan, Giorgia Starawuk, and executive produced by Mandy Walker ACS, ASC, Ashen is the product of contributions from numerous contributors and companies. Those include Adobe, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Perforce Helix Core system, AWS Post Production and Color Correction Cloud, AJA, Avid Editorial, Autodesk, Big Bang Sound Design, Exceptional Minds, Keywords Studios, Mriya Productions (Team Ukraine), Noitom Studios, Pow Wow Studios, Unreal Engine and Westwind Media.

Presenters will include Ruby Bell, Filmmaker; Jayme Wilkinson, VFX Supervisor; Shaman Marya, Producer & Virtual Production Supervisor; Giorgia Stawaruk, Producer; Iris Wu, Audio Consultant; Jay Torta, Cinematographer; Barry Goch, editor; Dean Lyon, VFX Consultant; Katrina King, AWS; Isabella S. Lauf, Composer; Natasha Leonett, colorist; and Michelle Chan, Producer.

Deconstructing An AI Created Animated Short

The afternoon session features another set of groundbreaking filmmakers and technologists who explore the use of Generative AI in the visual storytelling process. Attendees will be guided through some of the latest AI technologies as a short animated film is completed.

Corridor Crew: Discussion and Demonstration of 3 types of AI-enabled animation

AI Compositing

Theoretically Media: Demo of other AI video Tools

Custom Training and Custom Models

AI Pipeline and Workflow

Curious Refuge: The World's First Home for AI Storytellers

AI Music and Sound

Speakers include Niko Pueringer, Corridor Crew; Tim Simmons, Theoretically Media; Caleb and Shelby Ward, Curious Refuge; and Jack Wenzinger, Amazon Web Services.

Both projects will be screened. The day concludes with a panel discussion featuring teams from both the morning and afternoon sessions.

Seth Hallen, HPA President and this year's head of the HPA Tech Retreat Programming Committee noted, At the HPA Supersession, we love exploring how technology plays a key role in unleashing human creativity. We do this by putting aside the slide shows and panel discussions, and enabling filmmakers to show us how they work their magic. I can't wait for a day filled with insightful live demonstrations from outstanding filmmakers as they unpack their approaches to storytelling. Of the day's sessions, he said, Going behind the scenes on Ashen will give us an exciting look at the latest mainstream but cutting edge techniques as working filmmakers use them. The second half of the day will showcase the arrival of new game-changing AI technologies. In the midst of the noise and interest of AI, it takes the precision and focus of the HPA Tech Retreat's Supersession to demystify how these tools can be used, and how they might continue to evolve, laying the groundwork for a fact-based exploration of AI's impact on the creative landscape. This day is going to level-up yet again at the incredible HPA Tech Retreat.

The HPA Tech Retreat, recognized for its comprehensive coverage of critical topics in the media creation industry, includes TR-X on Monday, focused
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