FMX 2023 will be held as a hybrid event from 25th to 27th April 2023 on-site in Stuttgart, Germany, and on 28thApril online. FMX is one of the world’s largest and most influential conferences on media and entertainment creation 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 2023, 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 2023 to make the most out of it.

Interview with Mario Müller

Hideki Nagaishi (HN): Could you please let us know the highlights of FMX 2023, from your viewpoint?

Mario Müller: Among the width and depth of the FMX program, highlights would be people, projects and topics of extraordinary impact. In no particular order, here are some of the highlights of FMX 2023:

  • 3 Oscar winners:
    • Avatar: The Way of Water
      – An extended VFX special on the VFX
      – The newly developed Anatomically Plausible Facial System
      – The sound (design) on the film
    • Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio – new approaches in stop-motion puppet fabrication
    • All Quiet on the Western Front – truly invisible VFX
  • An extended track based on the FMX 2023 theme EVOLVING about sustainability and the environment in film and media production
  • Making FMX itself an environmentally-friendly event for the first time
  • Two dedicated tracks on diversity, equity and inclusion in the creative industries
  • A curated track on Artificial Intelligence

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

Mario Müller: This year, the THE ART OF ANIMATION category at FMX is filled with independent and diverse animation from around the world:

  • Georgina Hayns’ deep dive into the evolution of puppet fabrication for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (see above)
  • The painterly look for DNEG Animation’s work on Kid Cudi’s Entergalactic
  • Animation studio Submarine about their signature look on Undone and Apollo 10 1/2
  • Tal Kantor on her festival favorite Tales from a Pig
  • Juan Pablo Zaramella on his projects and process
  • A work-in-progress presentation on Locksmith Animation’s upcoming That Christmas
  • Animation as a Force for Good from Blue Zoo Animation

HN: Are there any trending topics or themes that you’re paying attention to in the areas covered by FMX? If so, how do the programmes in FMX 2023 react and reflect on those trends?

Mario Müller: We have a strong focus on ‘soft topics’ this year that will discuss sustainability and the environment not only regarding the state of the planet, but also regarding working environments, in the EVOLVING, MANAGING CHANGE, and CULTIVATING INCLUSION tracks. These are topics that need to be discussed urgently in order to improve how we deal with the planet and our fellow human beings.

Equally important is the discussion about ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE that will have a place at FMX this year.
All of these will likely be discussed at FMX for years to come.

HN: Are there any kind of changes in terms of the speakers and participants in the recent years, for example people in a particular profession and field is increasing or people from some countries or regions are more or less represented, etc.?

Mario Müller: FMX is constantly striving to bring more people and projects from regions to the conference that have not being represented as much in the past years. For this, we established the N.E.W.S. track a few years ago to bring those projects and people more into focus.

In addition, we have been moving away from strictly technical achievements and developments being presented at FMX to, as I’ve called them above, ‘soft topics’ that talk not so much about what the people in the industry work on, but how they work together.
And of course we have been working hard to bring women to the stage at FMX in larger numbers than even a few years ago.

HN: What experiences and benefits do you expect the attendees to receive at FMX 2023?

Mario Müller: Attendees of FMX can take advantage of the quantity and quality of the programming of FMX as a means of further education. At the same time, the exhibition rooms and workshops at FMX give them extended opportunities to learn about the latest hardware, software and services solutions for the industry (FMX MARKETPLACE), but also about study programs of international film and media schools (FMX SCHOOL CAMPUS), and last but not least, a room packed with more than two dozen VFX and animation studios from around the world (FMX RECRUITING HUB) who are looking to grow the number and quality of their staff. Of the many informal opportunities to meet with old and get to know new friends, the daily get-togethers in front of the FMX venue stand out. Grab a free drink courtesy to our sponsoring partners, and get chatting!

If you can’t make it to FMX in Stuttgart, Germany, the online day and on-demand period from April 28 to May 31 will give you the opportunity to catch up on most of the presentations, discussions, workshops and more that took place. And if you do make it to Stuttgart, the online and on-demand offer is part of your ticket at no extra charge.

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