Director / Visual Effects Supervisor

Michael Arias' official website,

Michael Arias

Michael Arias has had a colorful and varied filmmaking career, spanning the worlds of visual effects, computer graphics, and traditional animation. He got his start at Dream Quest Images, working as a camera assistant on effects- heavy films such as The Abyss and Total Recall, and was then asked by VFX godfather Douglas Trumbull to animate ride motion for Back To The Future, The Ride, a milestone in immersive entertainment. He then moved to Tokyo for stints at postproduction behemoth Imagica and game giant Sega, after which he returned to the U.S. to co-found effects boutique Syzygy Digital Cinema, creators of digital sequences for the likes of David Cronenberg, the Coen Brothers, and Spike Lee. Next, at CG innovator Softimage, Michael developed and patented tools for combining traditional animation and computer graphics, working closely with Studio Ghibli to add a distinct visual flavor to Miyazaki’s masterpieces The Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away. In 2000 Michael accepted the Wachowski Brothers' invitation to produce the Matrix-inspired anthology The Animatrix. And in 2006 Michael made his feature directing debut with Tekkonkinkreet, shown at the Berlinale and awarded Japan’s Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. In 2009, Michael directed Heaven's Door, his first live-action feature, and he has since continued to split his time between traditional and digital animation, and live- action filmmaking. His most recent film is the dark sci-fi anime Harmony.