Pet Sematary

Communication is King


The 2019 version of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary was put together relatively quickly, shooting in April 2018 and released in April 2019. In order to meet the tight VFX schedule, Montreal’s Mr X FX had to work efficiently, maintaining excellent communication with directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and with their sister facilities in Toronto, and Bangalore India.

VFX Supervisor Damien Hurgon recently talked to Art of VFX about how the show came together:


How did you and Mr. X get involved on this show?

We were contacted during the prep of the project in April 2018 when production was moving to Montreal and looking for a local company to supervise both filming and manufacturing. We met with directors Kevin & Dennis and executive producer Mark Moran to discuss their creative vision and propose an approach. They confirmed the following week that we would work together.


How was the collaboration with directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer?

We got along very well from our first meeting. We remained in constant contact from pre-production to the delivery of the last shot. We were lucky to be involved early enough in pre-production and then subsequently throughout the shoot allowing us to establish a solid trusting relationship. After the shoot, we discussed and presented our shots through cineSync sessions every week.



What was their expectations and approach about the visual effects?

The visual effects had to be as discreet as possible. The goal for the directors and for production was to use practical effects as much as possible. During the discussions and technical scouting, we offered VFX support for each obstacle encountered by the various departments.



How did you organize the work with your VFX Producer?

We work closely together with Mike DiCarlo, the Pet Sematary VFX Producer at Mr. X. We work and collaborate very well together. Mike takes care of all the budget and planning while I take care of all the creative and technical aspects. He is the one who organizes the project with the team and makes sure that I only focus on the images.


How did you split the work amongst the Mr. X offices?

We managed the entire project from our Montreal office and had the valuable assistance of our Bangalore team. Toronto also helped us a little bit with the end of the project.



How long have you worked on this show?

From May 2018 to mid-March 2019 including preparation, shooting and manufacturing.


What’s the VFX shots count?

About 400 shots.


What was the size of your team?

Probably around 40 people in total.


The rest of the article, which includes a lot of great behind the scenes information – including the creation of that terrific opening tracking shot – can be found at Art of VFX.