HPA Tech Retreat Announces `Diving Into Avatar: The Way Of Water’ Supersession

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

LOS ANGELES—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 is designed to deliver an immersive experience, with incredible visuals and unparalleled insights, in a purpose-built theater, featuring 4K, 3D, high frame rate, RGB laser projectors as well as conventional Xenon projectors, designed 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

 “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,"  said Nielsen, who leads the 2023 Supersession committee. "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 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. 

More information about the event can be found here (opens in new tab)

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.