“I truly love my job, and I love that every day is different. It’s like a fun roller coaster that never ends. I really appreciate that this job never gets boring — I thrive on that thrill, and being around people who love roller coasters.”
– Kunal Ghosh Dastider, VFX Supervisor
Meet one of this year’s Rookie Award judges, VFX Supervisor Kunal Ghosh Dastider!
With nearly 20 years of experience in the visual effects and animation industry, Kunal has helped deliver some of Hollywood’s most beloved cinematic worlds, from Harry Potter to Star Wars and the Avengers. Recently having wrapped up work on ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’, Kunal is now working as Production VFX Supervisor on Netflix’s upcoming thriller ‘Lou’ and VFX Supervisor on ‘No One Will See You’ for 20th Century Studios.
Hello Kunal! Tell us what brought you into the world of VFX and Animation…
I watched a lot of TV as a kid! I remember watching lots of television and movies with my father growing up, specifically shows like Sinbad and Clash of the Titans. I was also fascinated by stop-motion animation, and remember playing with stop motion a lot. Even though my first job was a construction-site painter, I took art classes on the side. I was always so interested in visual storytelling!
How did your journey start? Any career highlight(s) so far?
While working as a construction painter, I became fascinated with the computer technology emerging at the time. I began to experiment on the computer with 3D and gaming technology and enrolled in animation school in Lucerne after receiving my painting diploma. While there, I learned a lot of classical animation techniques — including stop motion! However, I remained drawn to computer graphics so continued to experiment with that technology on the side throughout my studies. After graduating, I landed a job in commercials as a Flame Inferno artist. Eventually, I found the opportunity to work with simple animations, and this later progressed into me moving to Munich, Germany to work on my first animated feature film!
Since then, I’ve worked in Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, London, Vancouver, Montreal, even South America! It’s great connecting with people all around the world. While one career highlight would be working with a phenomenal team on Life of Pi, the truth is that every team, no matter which show, is special. That’s really the career highlight for me, the people who I have become friends with over time working in this industry.
What do you like the most about your job?
I truly love my job, and I love that every day is different. It’s like a fun roller coaster that never ends. I really appreciate that this job never gets boring — I thrive on that thrill, and being around people who love roller coasters.
What is your proudest moment to date?
I always feel the proudest every time we finish a show. It’s just such a shared feeling of accomplishment. This industry is all about teamwork. When a show is completed, it’s never about any singular person topping that mountain, but about climbing that mountain together. When you look back as a team and feel happy about the work you did, that makes you feel good.
What’s one thing that is always on your desk when you work?
Oh, I don’t have much on my desk usually! Maybe coffee?
Why did you choose to get involved in the Rookie Awards?
I want to help inspire people and welcome the next generation into this world! Many of us didn’t have this kind of opportunity back when we started, and so it’s a great way to help encourage new talent and give back to the community.
What are you most looking forward to about the Rookie Awards?
I’m really excited to learn more about the contestants and their journeys; to see where they’ve come from, what they’ve been through. I think it will be really inspiring to see their processes and how they evolve artistically over time.
Do you remember being a rookie in the industry? What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career in the industry or who is just starting a career in VFX?
Be hungry. Soak in everything that you can. Even if you hear something that you don’t agree with, make sure to listen and stay open to new ways of doing things.
When I was a rookie just starting out in this industry, I always watched and listened to all the senior artists around me. Even if I didn’t agree 100% with what was being said or how someone was doing something, I always found something to take away. If you stay observant you will find that there are always useful lessons to learn — it’s up to you to choose what speaks to you as an artist.
You don’t want to be the person that comes in and thinks they already know it all. We’re all always learning, and it’s important to be able to listen and understand how other people work and where they are coming from. So listen, be hungry, soak in everything and then create your own style!
Finish this sentence: DNEG is…
Hot like fire! 🔥 😎