Details Are Unveiled for Highly Anticipated Supersession Program

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Tech Retreat has announced details for the 2023 Supersession, which will present an original, immersive look at the remarkable creative and technical accomplishments of Avatar: The Way of Water. Highlighting the people, companies and workflows that helped create and deliver James Cameron’s brilliant vision to the many screens optimized for this next-generation cinematic experience, the Supersession will take place over a full day on Tuesday, February 21, and will be presented in a theater specifically designed for the event. The HPA Tech Retreat is set for February 20-23 at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, CA.

The Supersession promises to deliver an immersive experience — with incredible visuals and unparalleled insights — from the moment attendees walk into the theater through the last question at the end of the day. Attendees will experience the Supersession in a purpose-built theater, featuring 4K, 3D, high frame rate, RGB laser projectors as well as conventional Xenon projectors, designed by our team to meet the filmmakers’ rigorous standards.

The day’s program will include the following:


  • Introducing Avatar: The Way of Water
    • The audience will experience filmmaker-selected scenes from the film in 3D that will provide context for the discussions that follow.
  • Welcome
    • HPA Supersession Chair Loren Nielsen will set the stage for the day.
  • Making Avatar: The Way of Water
    • Attendees will get a look at the breakthrough live-action cinematographic process used for the film, including 48 and 24 fps, 3D capture and astounding underwater cinematography. Panelists include:
      • Russell Carpenter, ASC, Director of Photography (via live remote)
      • Robin Charters, 3D Camera Systems Workflow Engineer
      • Simon Marsh, Sony Venice Product Director
      • Tashi Trieu, Colorist
      • Moderator: Joachim Zell, HPA Board Member and HPA Engineering Awards Committee Chair
    • Planning and Supporting the Vision: The Studio Perspective
      • Studios are accustomed to delivering tentpole films, but Avatar: The Way of Water is no ordinary tentpole. This session will explore how the studio teams worked with filmmakers to understand the timeframes, logistics and planning process that delivered one of the most complex films ever made. The conversation will include:
        • Kim Beresford, Vice President, Integrated Planning & Motion Pictures Operations, The Walt Disney Studios
        • Leon Silverman, HPA Board Member and Past President
      • Delivering the Vision
        • Avatar: The Way of Water revolutionized countless aspects of its production. To deliver the many optimized versions of this film under extremely tight time constraints, the vendors and partners who supported the studio and filmmakers also broke new ground in delivering this film to theaters around the world. Participants will learn about the herculean efforts and new technologies used to deliver the film. Panelists include:
          • Kim Beresford, Vice President, Integrated Planning & Motion Picture Operations, The Walt Disney Studios
          • Mark Arana, Vice President, Product Management, The Walt Disney Studios
          • Bryce Alden, Vice President, Cinema Technology Worldwide, Deluxe
          • Rich Welsh, Senior Vice President, Innovation, Deluxe
          • Jon Gardner, Chief Operating Officer, Eikon Group
          • Sean Romano, Senior Vice President, Eikon Group
          • Andy Scade, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Worldwide Digital Cinema Services, Pixelogic
          • Moderator: Loren Nielsen, HPA Supersession Chair
        • Coming Up for Air: The Wrap Up of What We Learned Today
          • At the end of what is expected to be an extraordinary day, Loren Nielsen and Leon Silverman will moderate a discussion of the audience’s takeaways.

Nielsen, who leads the 2023 Supersession committee, commented “From the very outset of planning the Supersession, there was no film or topic as compelling as the creative technology and innovation behind Avatar: The Way of Water. Understanding how this gargantuan project was planned, managed and executed its creative vision is the sort of topic we love to get our heads around at the HPA Tech Retreat. It’s complex, beautiful, challenging and revolutionary. It’s an absolute honor to work with the team behind the scenes of delivering this movie.”

The HPA Tech Retreat is known as the pre-eminent gathering of industry-leading thinkers and innovation-focused companies engaged in the creation, management and dissemination of content, bringing together a world-class roster of well-known and emerging leaders in engineering, technology, creativity and business. Further information regarding Tech Retreat sessions, activities, and participants can be found here.

The HPA Tech Retreat benefits from the generous support of diamond title sponsor Adobe; platinum sponsors AMD, AWS, and NetApp Berkeley Communications; after party sponsor Ateliere; connectivity sponsor Sohonet; gold sponsor Blackmagic Design; silver sponsors 6P Color, Unreal Engine, NTC, HammerSpace, Keycode Media, and Puget Systems; event sponsors ARRI, Dell Technologies, Like Minded Media Ventures, Panavision, and Signiant; bronze sponsor ZEISS; and star sponsor Avid. Sponsors of the Supersession are Barco, Christie, GDC, and RealD 3D.

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