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FMX will return to Stuttgart, Germany for the first time in two years. It will be held as a hybrid event (on site 3rd to 5th May, online 6th May). FMX is one of the most important annual conferences in the world that focuses on the art, technology and business of animation, visual effects, immersive and interactive media. The conference is organized by Filmakademie Baden Württemberg.

We interviewed Mario Müller, FMX Project Manager, to grasp the entirety of FMX 2022, which gathers a wide range of information and knowledge of digital visual creation, including the latest in cutting-edge technology. We hope this interview could help you plan for FMX 2022 to make the most out of it.

Interview with Mario Müller

Hideki Nagaishi (HN): Could you please explain what FMX 2022 is for young talents who are considering attending for the first time?

Mario Müller: FMX is one of the world’s largest and most influential conferences on media and entertainment creation. We go to great lengths to host the very best people and projects in Stuttgart, Germany year after year.

Over the past 25 editions, FMX has grown from a student showcase of Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg – a globally renowned film school and the organizer of FMX to this day -, into an international event.

The quality, quantity and diversity of the program is what separates FMX from most other film and media-related conferences. While the program centers around the latest and greatest projects in animation, effects, immersive and interactive media, a growing number of people and projects from the wide spectrum of film and media production have been added to the schedule of FMX. Latest additions are conference tracks on storytelling, sustainability, NFTs, motion design, and the return of an audience favorite, sound design.

At the same time, the opportunity to chat and network with everybody including the speakers in a relaxed atmosphere inside a beautiful landmark building in the historic center of Stuttgart makes for an experience unique to FMX as compared to other international events.

FMX 2022 Key Visual

HN: FMX 2022 is a conference with a wide range of programs, so could you please let us know the highlights of FMX 2022, from your viewpoint?

Mario Müller: With the spectrum of programming at FMX this year being wider than ever, there’s something for everybody working in or studying to enter film and media production. In that respect, it’s almost impossible to point out specific highlights, so I’ll list some of my personal favorites:

  • Changing the Game – The opening keynote of FMX’s first ever Program Chair, HaZ Dulull, on how realtime tools and workflows are shaping the industry going forward.
  • Getting the Lighting Right –  Paul Debevec on the latest advances in lighting for virtual production.
  • Real vs. Unreal – A candid discussion about how the lines are blurring between the real and the virtual world. When realtime graphics start to look as realistic as real life, what implications does that have on our industry, and our humanity? 
  • Next-Gen Bullet Time – Concepts and technologies that did – and didn’t – make it into The Matrix Resurrections.
  • The Book of Boba Fett – Behind the Visual Effects, Virtual Production and Soundcapes.
  • Chris Corbould –  A conversation with the special effects legend.
  • The House – A deep dive with the directors of the stop motion anthology film.
  • Arcane – The making of the groundbreaking animated series.
  • Changing the Game in the Work Environment – An open discussion.
  • Sustainability – Making sure that work is making a positive impact.
  • NFTs: The Future of Entertainment Ownership? – An open conversation.
  • Blurring the lines between Sound Design and Music Composition on Dune – A presentation, and a masterclass.
  • Making the Metaverse a Reality – Expo 2020 Dubai.
  • Web Slingers and Avengers Campus – Becoming a Superhero at a Disney Theme Park.

This list is obviously incomplete and highly subjective but touches on most of the themes presented and discussed at FMX 2022.

HN: FMX 2021 was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What have you learned from the first online version of FMX in 2021, and how did you reflect those lessons to the programme for this year’s hybrid version of FMX?

Mario Müller: FMX 2021 taught us what we believe works, and doesn’t work, in an online conference format.

The two major lessons we took from it were:

a) We wanted the online platform for FMX 2022 to look and feel as close to the FMX website as possible.

b) On site and online conferences are two widely differing experiences, which is why the two do not run in parallel via live streaming at FMX 2022.

The on site and online sections of FMX will work sequentially as individual experiences that don’t distract from one another in terms of commitment and interactivity.

It is in the third stage of FMX 2022, the on demand period through May 31, that the recorded presentations, workshops and masterclasses of FMX will be available concurrently.

HN: What experiences and benefits do you expect the attendees to receive at FMX 2022?

Mario Müller: FMX is built on three pillars:

  • Further education and knowledge growth through the conference program and exhibition hall.
  • Networking and career opportunities through the exchange and recruiting opportunities at FMX.
  • The open atmosphere in the landmark venue.

Together, they make up the unique, extensive yet intimate FMX experience that we provide and are internationally renowned for.

HN: As our main reader demographic are animation professionals, do you have any sessions that you would particularly recommend to animation professionals?

Mario Müller: This year, the variety of animation projects and approaches at FMX is broader than ever, represented by the conference tracks ‘Feature Animation’, ‘Animated Series’ (an FMX first), ‘Wild & Strange Animation’, and ‘N.E.W.S.’ within the ‘The Art of Animation’ category of the program. In addition to that, talks in the ‘Changing the Game’ track point to a future of animated films and series brought to life with realtime tools.

Some of the stand-outs are:

  • Ron’s Gone Wrong – The long journey of founding a new animation film studio in Europe and bringing its first feature film to life
  • Flee – Creating the multiple award-winning animated documentary.
  • What If…? – Blending 2D & 3D Animation.
  • Other Stories, Other Visions – Inspiring stories representative of society in all its diversity.
  • Mr. Spam Gets a New Hat – William Joyce’s foray into realtime animation production.
  • The latest from Disney, Pixar, Illumination, DreamWorks Animation, Blue Zoo, and more.

We look forward to hosting people from around the world who are interested in the latest developments in the art, technology and business of film and media production, in the center of Stuttgart, Germany or online, at the beginning of May!