HPA Honors Aspera Founder Munson with Swartz Award

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Nov. 17 honored Michelle Munson, founder and CEO of Aspera, with the Charles S. Swartz Award, as part of its annual HPA Awards.

The award is given to a person, group, or company that’s made technological, artistic, business or educational impacts in the media industry, and is named for the late Charles S. Swartz, who led the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California ([email protected]) from 2002-2006.

Additionally, Aspera high-speed file transfer solution FASPStream took home an Engineering Excellence Award, which recognizes breakthrough technologies developed using ingenuity and creativity. The peer-judged awards were also awarded to Grass Valley, RealD and SGO.

The HPA Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Herb Dow, a longtime editor, post-production technologist and executive in the industry, who currently serves as global sales manager for BeBop Technology in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Technicolor-owned VFX company The Mill took home the HPA Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation for Blackbird, a fully adjustable car rig that creates photo-real CG vehicles.

“We are thrilled to be awarded the highly sought after Creativity and Innovation honor at this year’s HPA Awards; being recognized and awarded for The Mill Blackbird’s pioneering technological creativity is a huge achievement for us,” said The Mill’s international EVP Al Thompson. “The Mill Blackbird has taken about three years to concept, design and engineer and it really has been a wonderful example of what you can achieve when you get the best minds in the business together.”

For Outstanding Color Grading of a Commercial, Tom Poole, senior colorist at Company 3 — a post-production company owned by Deluxe Entertainment Services Group — won against six other competitors for the Hennessy commercial “Odyssey.”

For Outstanding Color Grading of a Feature Film, Steve Scott VP of theatrical imaging and supervising digital colorist for Technicolor Production Services, won for his work on “The Revenant.”

Other winners included: The “Gotham” episode “By Fire” won for Outstanding Color Grading for TV; “The Big Short” was a winner for Outstanding Editing of a Feature Film; the “Game of Thrones” episode “Battle of the Bastards” and the “Roots” episode “Night One” tied for Outstanding Editing in TV; the Wilson commercial “Nothing Without It” won for Outstanding Editing of a Commercial; “Sicario” won for Outstanding Sound for a Feature Film; the “Outlanders” episode “Prestonpans” won for Outstanding Sound for TV; the Sainsbury’s commercial “Mog’s Christmas Calamity” won for Outstanding Sound for a Commercial; for Outstanding Visual Effects, “The Jungle Book” won for film, “Game of Thrones” “Battle of the Bastards” won for TV, and the Microsoft Xbox spot “Halo 5: The Hunt Begins” won for commercials.

Emerging leadership awards were given to Jesse Korosi, director of workflow services at SIM Digital International, and Jennifer Zeidan, media systems engineer for Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic.