CafeFX was an award-winning feature film visual effects facility offering visual effects production and supervision, CG character creation, and 3D animation. Founded in 1993 by Jeff Barnes and David Ebner, CafeFX was located in a 36,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) studio on an eight-acre campus in Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County. Its commercial and music video division, Santa Monica-based The Syndicate, was a creative design, branding services, and digital production studio, specializing in live action direction, visual effects, animation, motion graphics, and telecine. CafeFX and The Syndicate were held by umbrella corporation ComputerCafe Group, which has also established Sententia Entertainment, a long form production company.[1]

Company typePrivate
IndustryVisual effects, CGI animation
HeadquartersSanta Maria, California, USA
Number of employees
14 or more

History edit

After founding the company in 1993 as Computer Café, Jeff Barnes and David Ebner began working in a small 10-by-10 room inside a local print design studio in Santa Maria. Their initial tools included two Amiga 2000 computers, a VHS deck, and Video Toaster. They used software such as Lightwave 3D, D-Paint, and Imagine 3D. Over the next 17-plus years, Computer Cafe would change its name and grow to one of the top visual effects studios in the world. Their first official employee was Ron Honn who acted as the company Designer and Storyboard artist. Soon to follow was VFX supervisor Tom Williamson, whose connection in the LA make-up effects industry helped to launch the group to the feature film market.

The team worked their way up from local to regional and then national commercial and broadcast assignments. “Our first job was to show how a product called Shoe Goo worked.” said Ebner "and then SLIME tires, some crazy projects back then." They soon expanded their client base, starting with an initial campaign on 24 spots for Foster's Freeze, and signing their first national contract for Shasta Soda. Shasta was the first US national ad spot to be fully rendered on a desktop PC. The team next steered its focus on broadcast work being represented by Our Gang Productions and studios such as Pittard Sullivan. During that time they produced various opens and TV station packages for both regional and nation clientele. Some projects include, NBC, TNT, Nickelodeon, CB S, Dateline, Entertainment Tonight and the long-running HBO Feature Presentation. Still under the banner of Computer Café, Jeff and David moved into motion picture effects with Clive Barker’s 1995 feature, Lord of Illusion. Even then, Barnes claimed “Everything we made, we put back into the company.”

In the late '90s, Barnes and Ebner were in a position to expand their operations. Interest in a Los Angeles outlet for their CG feature film work, together with a plan to expand commercially, led them to open their first LA location inside in Virgin Entertainment's 525 Post in Hollywood. A year later they expanded into their own space in Santa Monica where they opened a boutique CG and compositing studio which housed a staff of 8. In early 2002 they purchased Santa Monica based telecine company (then own by Neil Feldmen and called Pacific Data Post), added CG effects and compositing, and renamed the company 'The Syndicate.' The Syndicate was a short form visual effects company, providing Flame finishing suites, full CG services, and telecine studios, led by the management team of Kenny Solomon, Leslie Sorrentino and Beau Leon.

In 2005, Barnes and Ebner also launched Sentenia Entertainment, a live-action production company. Their first project with Sententia was as Associate Producers for Guillermo del Toro's Academy Award-winning "Pan's Labryinth." The following film was "Danika" starring Marisa Tomei, with Barnes and Ebner serving as the film's executive producers. In the same year, the pair purchased the new CafeFX studio.

The studio closed in 2010 after 17 years in business, citing the recession and the poor economy as the reasons for closure.[2][3]

Filmography edit

Complete list edit

Additional information edit

CafeFX was also the sole provider of visual effects for Seven Pounds, a Sony Pictures Entertainment film starring Will Smith, which opens on December 19, 2008.[17]

CafeFX completed work on approximately 100 shots for the film adaptation of the classic comic book, Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes. The studio was called on to introduce the film's main villain—Blackheart—during a storm featuring fire rain and clouds with demon faces.[18]

Snakes on a Plane- As the lead visual effects studio, CafeFX created more than half of the 500 VFX shots, including some 100 photoreal snake shots as well as all of the airline exteriors. CafeFX also handled all the airplane inflight exteriors shots and the Boeing's climactic emergency landing at LAX.[19]

Pan's Labyrinth- Tasked with 300 shots and five months of post-production, the VFX crew worked to bring director Guillermo del Toro's visions to life. The production had very detailed storyboards and the team stuck to those designs "religiously."[20]

2009 releases edit

References edit

  1. ^ CafeFX swims with the fish for ‘œEvan Almighty’ | fxguide
  2. ^ "Yet Another Facility Closes: CafeFX". 23 December 2010.
  3. ^ "Visual Effects House CafeFX/ComputerCafe Closing". The Hollywood Reporter. 23 December 2010.
  4. ^ Love Ranch (2010) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-01-04
  5. ^ Alice in Wonderland (2010) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-01-04
  6. ^ "Shutter Island". fxguide. 2010-04-17. Retrieved 2022-01-04.
  7. ^ "Recreating Antarctica in 'Whiteout'". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2022-01-04.
  8. ^ The Final Destination (2009) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-01-04
  9. ^ Seven Pounds (2008) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-01-04
  10. ^ Ghost Rider (2007) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-01-04
  11. ^ The Good Shepherd (2006) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-01-04
  12. ^ Pan's Labyrinth (2006) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-01-04
  13. ^ "Sin City Cast and Crew - Cast Photos and Info". Fandango. Retrieved 2022-01-04.
  14. ^ Flight of the Phoenix (2004) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-01-04
  15. ^ The Crow: Salvation (2000) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-01-04
  16. ^ Armageddon (1998) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-01-04
  17. ^ a b CafeFx Announces 2009 Production Slate, Art Department Expansion
  18. ^ CafeFX contributes to Ghost Rider
  19. ^ Levent Ozler. "CafeFX Unleashes "Snakes on a Plane"". Dexigner. Archived from the original on 2016-10-14. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  20. ^ A vfx Labyrinth Archived March 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Wong, James (2009-04-10), Dragonball Evolution (Action, Adventure, Fantasy), Twentieth Century Fox, Dune Entertainment, Star Overseas, retrieved 2022-01-04
  22. ^ Levy, Shawn (2009-05-22), Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Adventure, Comedy, Family), Twentieth Century Fox, 21 Laps Entertainment, 1492 Pictures, retrieved 2022-01-04
  23. ^ Silberling, Brad (2009-06-05), Land of the Lost (Action, Adventure, Comedy), Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures, retrieved 2022-01-04
  24. ^ Sommers, Stephen (2009-08-07), G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi), Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Hasbro, retrieved 2022-01-04
  25. ^ " | Whiteout | Movies". Retrieved 2022-01-04.

External links edit