John C. Kilkenny, who attended The University of Arizona in the 1980s and is now the executive vice president of Twentieth Century Fox, will be on campus talking about how dreamlike sequences become visual realities in film.
His presentation is one of several on-campus events celebrating the UA's role in the Phoenix Mars Mission, the first a public university is leading to the planet.
Kilkenny leads the studio’s visual effects department – his team is currently working on the upcoming film “Avatar” – and will talk about the working relationship visual artists and filmmakers sometime have with scientists.
“He will be talking about how the world of science and entertainment come together,” said Victoria Westover, program director for the UA’s Jack and Vivian Hanson Film Institute, which is presenting the Jan. 31 talk. “Sometimes, they have to consult scientists on ways to make films more entertaining.”
But his work has not been strictly focused on science fiction.
Kilkenny has been the visual effects producer for films that include “Night at the Museum,” “Live Free or Die Hard” and “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.” He earned an Academy Award nomination in 2004 for his work on “I, Robot.”
While in Tucson, Kilkenny, who also serves on the Hanson Film Institute Industry Council, will speak to students in the School of Media Arts about the film industry, working in Hollywood and his career path.
His public lecture, “Producing Special Effects in Science Fiction Movies,” is free. Audience members will also have a chance to ask him questions. The lecture will begin at 4 p.m. with a reception to follow at 5 p.m., both at the UA’s Meinel Optical Sciences Building.
“The institute is cross-collaborative, and we’re delighted to be doing something with the College of Science,” Westover said. “We thought we could attract more science students.”