Exceptional Minds' Studio Executive Earns Visual Effects Distinction

Exceptional Minds' Zwerman Becomes VES 2019 Fellows Honoree

The nonprofit school and studio for young adults on the autism spectrum celebrates one of its own receiving high honor in visual effects industry.

Exceptional Minds Studio Executive Producer Susan Zwerman was one of three 2019 Fellows honorees recognized by the Visual Effects Society last night. 

The Fellows distinction, bestowed by the VES Board of Directors, signifies that the individual has maintained an outstanding reputation and has made exceptional achievements and sustained contributions to the art, science or business of visual effects.

Zwerman was recognized, along with 2019 Fellows honorees Neil Corbould and Harrison Ellenshaw, at a reception in Beverly Hills on October 2. She had worked on more than 50 films as an assistant director and unit production manager before joining Exceptional Minds, a professional training academy and studio for individuals on the autism spectrum who are pursuing careers in animation and visual effects (VFX).

Exceptional Minds training academy opened its doors in 2011 and, in 2014, added a professional studio with Zwerman as its Studio Executive Producer to bring in contract work for graduates of its three-year program. Under Zwerman’s leadership, Exceptional Minds VFX artists with autism have completed more than 200 projects for movies and television shows, including Spider-Man: Far from Home and Avengers: Endgame as well as Oscar-nominated movies Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, First Man, Green Book and Solo: A Star Wars Story and notable TV shows such as Game of Thrones and The Good Doctor.

“We are so lucky to have the industry support for this incredible school and studio,” said Zwerman during last night’s reception. “The generosity our industry has shown these young people has changed their lives and given them a place in the world. I am proud of my contribution to this effort and the support of my colleagues toward this goal.”

Zwerman serves as Chair of the DGA’s UPM/AD VFX Digital Technology Committee, is the recipient of the DGA’s Frank Capra Achievement Award in recognition of her career achievement and industry service, and is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She is the Co-Editor of The VES Handbook of Visual Effects, published in 2010 and 2014, and is currently working with Jeffrey A. Okun, VES, on the third edition, slated for publication in 2020.

Exceptional Minds is a 2019 California Nonprofit of the Year, now serving an average of 250 full-time, part-time, and privately tutored students (as well as graduate artists) annually, providing technical and behavioral training to a population sorely underrepresented in both the labor market and society as a whole.

Source: Exceptional Minds


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