Visual effects supervisor Ben Grossmann’s range of talents is as diverse as his background. Born in Washington, D.C., he grew up in Alaska, where he attended the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He put himself through college as a photojournalist, stringing for the Associated Press, where he worked in large and small format film and traditional hand-processing and printing. Grossmann left college in his senior year, three credits short of a bachelor’s degree in international politics, to start a television production company. Working as videographer, then editor and producer, he ushered in the transition from linear to non-linear editing workflows.
After moving to Los Angeles in 2001 to seek out the future of filmmaking, Grossmann began his career at the bottom in feature film visual effects across a wide variety of companies in Los Angeles, with paint and roto positions on films like Spider-Man and Hart's War. He worked his way up the ranks as a compositor and matte painter on films like Master and Commander and The Italian Job. He became sequence and compositing supervisor on Sin City and compositing supervisor on The Day After Tomorrow at The Orphanage. In addition to serving as supervising compositor on more than 650 shots for Coronado with Volker Engel & Marc Weigert, Grossmann designed the main titles for the film.
In 2006, Grossmann won an Emmy for Outstanding Visual Effects for his work with Uncharted Territory as a digital compositor on the 2005 mini-series The Triangle.
Upon joining The Syndicate, Grossmann directed the You Are Here commercial campaign for Six Flags, on which he was also responsible for all aspects of production, still photography, and visual effects design & supervision. He has also directed Anatomical, a television and print campaign for sport equipment manufacturer CCM.
In 2008 he won a Gold Clio for visual effects on The Key to Reserva, a seven-minute ! commercial short film for the Spanish winery Freixenet, working with famed !
director Martin Scorsese. Later that year, Grossmann enjoyed a similar collaboration with Scorsese and visual effects supervisor Rob Legato on the Rolling Stones feature film Shine a Light. Having developed a strong relationship with the famed director and his creative team, he continued on Scorsese's next film Shutter Island, vfx supervising on set with The Syndicate as lead VFX house. !
While at the Syndicate, he has also supervised the visual effects work of films including Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, Roland Emmerich’s 2012, Brad Silberling’s Land of the Lost, and the TV movie Oprah Winfrey Presents: For One More Day.
His ability to parlay advanced technical knowledge into creative endeavors regularly pushes him into challenging new territory. In 2008 He designed the workflow and VFX supervised the groundbreaking Radiohead music video for "House of Cards;" the first project to be shot entirely with LIDAR scanners, which was nominated for a Grammy. The video has received internet acclaim, and the raw data elements were provided on Google for anyone to create their own version of the video, spawning a flood of user- created variations building off their work.
His final project at The Syndicate was the stereoscopic film Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton, with VFX Supervisor Ken Ralston. He supervised several key sequences in the film, which were created almost entirely in computer graphics, stereoscopically using 3D converted production footage of the lead actress.
With an interest in the new artistry and technique possibles with 3D films, Grossmann pursued his next project in London with long-time collaborators on Hugo, Scorsese’s tale of the magic roots of film history set against the backdrop of an orphan living in the walls of a Paris train station in the early 1900s.
In 2012 he would win the Academy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects, in addition to a Satellite Award, a Best Supporting VFX award from the Visual Effects Society, and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts nomination, for his work supervising the film’s extensive visual effects through a challenging production and post with over 600 artists across 5 countries at world-wide vfx house Pixomondo.
The day after the Oscars, Grossmann was back on set supervising visual effects for JJ Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness with ILM supervisor Roger Guyett for his global team of artists at Pixomondo. His work, nearly a third of the film’s visual effects, would cement his sci-fi experience in 100% fully computer-generated sequences matching the style, design, and quality of the director’s trademark realism in sequences like the Klingon homeworld, and his action style of directing in the heavily-effected conference room attack, and more.
Star Trek Into Darkness would go on to garner Grossmann his second Oscar nomination for Outstanding Visual Effects, in as many projects.
After rounding out his experience running two large global productions with offices in 14 locations requiring adept knowledge of the labor laws and customs of 5 countries in Europe, Asia, and North America, combined with the tax incentives, and labor costs of each market, Grossmann was approached by an investment team with the objective of financing him, and his long-time collaborators Alex Henning and Rodrigo Teixeira to create a new kind of company that could bring the visual magic typically reserved only for the silver screens of Hollywood, into the real world.
Ben Grossmann is presently CEO and Co-Founder of Magnopus, a visual research and development company challenged to “simplify the complicated” through the application of innovative thinking, cutting-edge developments, and efficient processes to overcome creative, technical, and logistical impossibilities.