Team

JOHN HUGHES

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John Hughes, Co-Founder and President, is also the co-founder and President/Executive Producer of Tau Films.  Previously, he led (as well as co-founded in 1987) the studio Rhythm and Hues (R&H) for 26 years, earning 3 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects (Babe, The Golden Compass, and Life of Pi) and 4 technical Academy Awards for achievements in science and engineering along the way. 


He began his career  at Robert Abel and Associates in 1976, as Head of Digital Production, as Technical Director, and as Head of Electronics. He designed  motion control camera control systems and produced some of the first commercial uses of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) in motion pictures that ushered in new possibilities in the art of film and commercials as we know today. 

John is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Arts Education and chaired the education committee for the Digital Coast Roundtable as well as serving on the California State Superintendent of School’s Task Force on the Visual and Performing Arts. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Workforce Investment Board for the City of Los Angeles.


A hands-on artist for much of his career, he graduated from the University of Minnesota with Bachelors Degrees in Economics and in Electrical Engineering, and a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering.

SHISH AIKAT

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Shish Aikat is the Co-Founder and Head of Global Learning  (also at Tau Films). Prior to that, he was the Vice Principal of Exceptional Minds Studio, a vocational academy/studio in animation and VFX for young adults on the autism spectrum. In addition, he is the former Manager-Education and Head of Global Learning at Rhythm & Hues (R&H) Studios in Los Angeles. At R&H, he oversaw the knowledge management/dissemination and global learning for the studio's operations in the U.S., Canada, India, Malaysia, and Taiwan. During that time, he also co-founded Rhythm & Hues University (RHU) to create and foster a global learning eco-system for R&H. Shish was also a technical communicator in both the Los Angeles area and in Silicon Valley and is a former President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (LASTC). He also taught as a Lecturer in the Master of Professional Writing (MPW) Program at USC and in the School of Film and Television (SFTV), Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.


Shish received his M.F.A. from the Division of Animation and Digital Arts, School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), University of Southern California (USC), where he was also a Nickelodeon Fellow. He also has an M.A. in Communication Management from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, USC. and a B.S.in Mechanical Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

MANDEEP SINGH

Mandeep Singh, Director-Global Operations, is the producer for all international aspects of Tau Film

Mandeep Singh is the Executive Producer & Head of International Production. He oversees all of the international aspects of production at Tau Films. He also managed production for Rhythm and Hues - Malaysia. Mandeep began his career as an independent producer of commercial content in India. He then shifted his attention to feature VFX and animation, joining Rhythm and Hues  and providing production management for over 15 films including the Academy Award winner The Golden Compass. He also established a VFX and animation facility in the Malaysian Multi-Media Super Corridor (MSC), and  oversaw all production.  Mandeep plays a pivotal role in staffing and resource-planning for Tau Films' international facilities.

SUE LEWAK

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Sue Lewak is the Director of Programs & Development and the JHI Web Designer/Publications Editor. She served as an academic advisor for undergraduates in the College Academic Counseling unit of  UCLA's College of Letters and Science, and as an International Peer Advocate for international students in USC's International Office. In addition, while at UCLA she developed experimental curriculum for her undergraduate courses using instructional technology for courses that integrated narrative in visual and text-based mediums. 


Sue holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from UCLA, an M.A. in Visual Anthropology from USC, an M.A. in English Literature from CalState- Los Angeles, and a B.A. in English Literature from Mount Holyoke College. 

PAVLEEN KAUR

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Pavleen Kaur is the Digital Media Manager. She has a Masters in Marketing & Retail Management with emphasis on branding, social media, marketing, and traditional media. She brings along years of experience in media-client servicing and telecom/mobile VAS products management with Indian brands like Radio City 91.1 FM (Music Broadcast Pvt. Ltd.), Aaj Tak News Channel (TV Today Network Ltd.), One97 Communications Ltd.


Her dynamism is rooted in managing back-end VAS products (Voice, SMS, etc) and successful product launches in multiple cities. She thrives on deliberate and exhaustive client interactions leading to frequent changes for live products and new-product development in coordination with the in house engineering, studio, and other related departments. In her previous roles, she also worked on conceptualizing the needs and executing tie-ups for media clients, checking on media sales and tapping their proper utilization while coordinating with various media agencies and media companies.

Advisory Panel

ANOOP AK

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Anoop AK  is an Animation/VFX Technologist, with over a decade of experience in the industry. He currently serves as the Pipeline Supervisor at Tau Films, where he is responsible for architecting Tau's globally distributed pipeline, and manages a team of Pipeline TDs and Developers across different studio locations in Asia and North America. Before joining Tau Films, he was associated with Dreamworks Dedicated Unit and Rhythm & Hues Studios, where he contributed to their production pipeline development.


Anoop received the Autodesk Shotgun "Pipeline Shotty Award," at the the 6th Annual Shotgun Pipeline Awards, SIGGRAPH 2019. The Shotty Award is given to developers of top pipeline tools in development, engineering, integration, or day-to-day use. He is also an avid technology enthusiast, with a profound interest in XR and real-time technologies.

DARIUSH DERAKHSHANI

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Dariush Derakhshani is a VFX and CG Supervisor in Los Angeles  and an award-winning CG Generalist-Lighter.  Dariush was the Visual Effects Supervisor for the 2019 film 1982, which won the Netpac Award for World or International Asian Film Premiere, at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).


Dariush is a pipeline, lighting, and production consultant and has  been an animator and supervisor on commercials and feature films for companies such as Digital Domain, Pixomondo, Zoic Studios, Radium|ReelFX, Café FX, Rhythm & Hues Studios, Sight Effects, and South Park. He is the author of several 3ds Max and Maya books, including the best-selling series Introducing Maya—with over 13 editions since 2002 and translated into more than a dozen languages.


Dariush received his  M.F.A. from the Division of Animation and Digital Arts, School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), University of Southern California (USC). His B.A. is from Lehigh University in Architecture and Theatre, and his He is an active member of the Visual Effects Society and has won a London Advertising Award for commercial effects, is a multiple recipient of the Telly and Addy Awards, has won the Bronze Plaque from the Columbus Film Festival, and is a VES Awards nominee.

KEITH GOLDFARB

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Keith Goldfarb is the Chief Software Architect/Co-Founder of Blackthorn Media and an Academy Award winning artist. While working at Robert Abel and Associates  in production, and writing special software for custom applications, Keith and a few co-workers decided to form Rhythm & Hues Studios  in 1987.  He was the chief architect for its proprietary software, where his pioneering visual effects were honored with dozens of awards including Oscars, Baftas and Cleos. Over Keith’s career he has invented, designed, directed and managed massive pipeline production techniques and environments that are praised and imitated across the industry today.


Keith has a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and an M.A. in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley).

ADRIANA JAROSZEWICZ

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Adriana Jaroszewicz is an Associate Professor of Animation, School of Film and Television, at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She has been working in animation for over  two decades, with experience that ranges from Internet-based to feature-length animation and visual effects films. She served as a Senior Digital Trainer for animators, compositors, hair, layout, character set-up and character pipeline crews at Sony Pictures Imageworks. She trained artists for feature films such as Monster House, Ghost Rider, Superman Returns, Surf's Up, Open Season, Spiderman 3, I Am Legend, Beowulf, Watchmen, G-Force, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Alice in Wonderland and Cats and Dogs 2.


Adriana received her M.F.A. from the Division of Animation and Digital Arts, School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), University of Southern California (USC), and her B.F.A. in Graphic Design from University of the Pacific.

WALT JONES

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Walt Jones is the Creative Director and Visual Effects Supervisor at Tau Films. He is the overall creative lead for the computer graphics work at Tau Films. He has over 20 years of experience in production and design and has contributed to over twenty feature films in the past decade alone, as well as numerous music videos, television and commercial projects. Walt has worked extensively with international teams throughout Asia, North America and Europe, most prominently in India and China. He was nominated for Visual Effects Society (VES) awards for Life of Pi (2013) and Movie Park Germany’s The Lost Temple (2015). Walt was part of the teams at  Rhythm & Hues Studios that won Academy Awards for their work on The Golden Compass in 2008 and Life of Pi in 2013.


Walt has a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Puget Sound.

KEN ROUPENIAN

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Ken Roupenian is the Vice President of Production and Executive Producer at Tau Films. Ken has over 30 years of experience in the entertainment and visual effects industry, having helped build production and global management teams for Academy Award-winning VFX facilities and studios such as Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues, and Sony Pictures Entertainment.


Ken began his career at Sony Pictures Entertainment, working in network television publicity, and ultimately moving into the role of Head of Photo. He then joined Rhythm & Hues, jumping into the then-still young world of CGI and visual effects. During his 21-year tenure at Rhythm & Hues Studios, Ken advanced through a number of producing and managerial positions before spending his final ten years there heading up Digital Production. In this capacity, he led the growth of their team from approximately 400 members to over 1,500 worldwide, where he was instrumental in overall talent management, recruiting and training. After Rhythm & Hues, Ken moved to Digital Domain where he was Vice President of Digital Studio, responsible for the management of the company’s creative teams globally. 


Ken received his BFA in Film/Cinema/Photographic Studies from NYU (New York University).

PAULINE TS'O

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Pauline Ts’o is an author, illustrator, and photographer. Her first book, Whispers of the Wolf,  received multiple awards and recognition, including the 2016 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award, and a starred Booklist Review.  


A computer programmer by training, Pauline started her artistic training by rummaging through her mother's art book collection as a child. Her technical training got her a job as a software designer at  Robert Abel and Associates , a pioneer in the computer animation industry. From there, Pauline and  a few co-workers decided to form Rhythm & Hues Studios  in 1987, a computer animation and visual effects company, which won multiple Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects (Life of Pi, Babe, and The Golden Compass). Pauline wore many hats at R&H, including programmer, digital artist, and art director. She worked on projects such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Disney's theme park attraction It's Tough to be a Bug, and the first Coco-Cola Polar Bear commercial, Northern Lights.     


Pauline has  a B.A. in Computer Science/Math from Cornell University and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). 

BILL WESTENHOFER

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Bill Westenhofer is the Visual Effects Supervisor for  Gemini Man (2019). He also served as the Visual Effects Supervisor for Wonder Woman (2017), which received the Empire and Dragon Awards for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and the Critics Choice Award for Best Action Movie.


Bill served as the Visual Effects Supervisor at Rhythm & Hues Studios for over 18 years. During his time at R&H, he supervised a team of 400 digital artists on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. A few years later, he won both BAFTA and Academy Awards in the Best Visual Effects categories for The Golden Compass (2007) and Life of Pi (2012). His work on Life of Pi was also recognized by the London Critics Circle Film Awards (Technical Achievement of the Year) and the Visual Effects Society (Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture).


Bill earned his B.S. in Engineering (BSEG)/Computer Engineering from Bucknell University, and his M.S. in Computer Science  at George Washington University, where he studied the use of dynamics in physically-based animation. He was a keynote speaker at the 2015 Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders.


MIKE YANG

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Mike Yang is the Founder and Studio Director of Artlord Studio. Leading an international team of artists, Artlord Studio has been creating high quality live-action visual effects and animation for film and television, themed  entertainment, and special venues since 2014. Fluent in English and Chinese, Mike's twenty-plus years’ background experience in the entertainment industry includes positions as a post-production producer, project manager, and visual effects and motion control operator-supervisor.  He later joined Rhythm & Hues Studios as Employee #1  for their Taiwan studio, where he was responsible for set-up, as well as leading and managing Taiwan’s on-site post production team for the academy award-winning film, Life of Pi.  

 

Mike is passionate about establishing and growing an artist-friendly studio, while creating a business model that fuels creativity and rewards equally.