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Visual effects technologist Jonathan Erland has been voted the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The award – a medallion – will be presented at the Scientific and Technical Awards presentation on Saturday, February 11, at the Beverly Wilshire. Erland began his professional training in the entertainment industry studying theater at the Central School in England and film at the London Film School.
His knowledge of theater technology made him a desirable asset to the team building the audio-animatronic puppet theaters for the I.B.M. Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. After moving to Los Angeles, Erland maintained dual careers in both the entertainment and the industrial exhibit design fields. He joined the newly created Industrial Light & Magic to work on the visual effects for the 1977 film “Star Wars.”
He continued in the burgeoning visual effects field as director of research and development for Apogee Productions, where he received patents for a reverse bluescreen traveling matte process, the Blue-Max flux projector and a method for making front projection screens. The innovations, along with the development of a digital traveling matte system, also earned Academy Scientific and Technical Awards.
In 2007 Erland received an Award of Commendation for “his leadership and efforts toward identifying and solving the problem of High-Speed Emulsion Stress Syndrome in motion picture film stock.”
An Academy member since 1984, Erland was instrumental in establishing Visual Effects as a separate Academy branch in 1995. He has served 11 years on the Academy’s Board of Governors and many years on the Executive Committees of both the Visual Effects Branch and the Scientific and Technical Awards. He also is a founding member of the Academy’s Science and Technology Council.
Named in honor of the late director of special projects at Warner Hollywood Studios, the John A. Bonner Medal is awarded for “outstanding service and dedication in upholding the high standards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.” Portions of the Scientific and Technical Awards presentation will be included in the Oscar ceremony.
The Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.