Ted Gagliano

Ted Gagliano, Twentieth Century Fox’s president of feature post, accepts the HPA Lifetime Achievement Award. Photos by Ryan Miller@Capture Imaging

The Hollywood Post Alliance Awards are growing up. The 2010 awards marked the fifth anniversary of the event. Not only has HPA expanded its sponsors—Avid sponsored the HPA Award for Outstanding Editing and NAB Show and HP have also joined the fold—but the event moved to the ballroom at the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles to accommodate the growing number of post-production people who want to attend the event.

HPA President Leon Silverman presided over the event, with assist from co-founder/chair Carolyn Giardina and co-chair Seth Hallen.

Although bestowing the Lifetime Achievement Award was the last event before cocktails, it was the emotional highlight of the evening. Silverman introduced Ted Gagliano, president of feature post-production at Twentieth Century Fox since 2001 (and at the studio since 1991), who Silverman said “worked to create awareness of the value of post.” A Princeton University graduate (in comparative literature), Gagliano began his career at Paramount Pictures in New York in 1982. His first big break was the gig of 3D technical coordinator for Friday the 13th Part III. In his remarks, Gagliano thanked Frank Mancuso, who gave him that job, but also thanked Frederick Chandler, who brought him out to Los Angeles in 1985. Once in Los Angeles, says Gagliano, Paul Haggar “stole” him from Chandler “and taught me how to survive the studio system.”

Producer Jon Landau lauds Gagliano.

Silverman turned the introduction over to Deluxe CEO Cyril Drabinsky, who noted that Gagliano has guided over 600 films in his 19 years at Fox, including Titanic and the restoration of the Star Wars trilogy. On Avatar, he supervised 100 versions of the film for a day-and-date release for over 100 countries. Drabinsky called Gagliano “resourceful,” telling a tale about how years ago, when he needed another Kem over the weekend, he found one at a closed post facility, dragged it out of the building “and was seen personally rolling it down Sunset Blvd.” Also related was a heated meeting in Sydney over Australia; Gagliano’s reaction was to pick up a guitar and start singing. “Everyone laughed and the tension was broken,” says Drabinsky. “He said the studios believed in them and they delivered. He inspires people and people are very loyal and follow him.”

That was just the beginning of the roast, which included testimonials from producer Jon Landau and composer Patrick Doyle. Landau lauded Gagliano’s ability to deal with people, at the same time mocking his legendary ineptness with technology. Doyle opened his remarks by saying “I was told not to swear and it’s f***ing  difficult.” But he went on to praise Gagliano. “Loyalty, kindness, discretion, professionalism,” he said. “He’s a wonderful man.”

For his part, Gagliano noted that he wondered if his friends and the HPA were trying to tell him something by giving him a Lifetime Achievement Award. For that reason, he said he plans to put the plaque on the middle shelf of his bookcase, marking the fact that he still has many more movies in him. “Movies are harder to make than ever,” he noted. “The stakes are harder. We couldn’t have made our release dates without the companies that are here at HPA. You all came together for us for Avatar.”

HPA Awards 2010 winners are in the color-grading category include Stefan Sonnenfeld, Company 3, for Outstanding Color Grading Using a DI Process/Feature Film for Alice in Wonderland; Steve Porter, Riot, for Outstanding Color Grading – Television, for The Pacific – Episode 5; Siggy Ferstl at Company 3 for Outstanding Color Grading – commercial, for AT&T “Legends.”

The editing awards, which were sponsored by Avid, included Lee Smith, A.C.E., for Outstanding Editing – Feature Film for Inception; Outstanding Editing – Television to Mark J. Goldman, Christopher Nelson, A.C.E., Stephen Semel, A.C.E., and Henk van Eeghen, A.C.E. of Touchstone Television for their work on Lost – The End; Outstanding Editing – Commercial went to Chis Franklin, Big Sky Editing for American Express “Geoffrey Canada”. Outstanding Sound – Feature Film went to Michael Hedges, Gilbert Lake, Brent Burge and Chris Ward at Park Road Post Production for District 9; Outstanding Sound – Television to Brad North, Joe DeAngelis, Luis Galdames and Jackie Oster from Universal Sound for House “Help Me”; Outstanding Sound – Commercial to David Brolin at Universal Studios and Phil Daccord at Giaronomo for Devil – theatrical trailer #1. Outstanding compositing – Feature Film went to Erik Winquist, Robin Hollander, Erich Eder and Giuseppe Tagliavini at Weta Digital for Avatar, and Outstanding Compositing – Commercial went to Diramid Harrison Murray, Russell Dodgson, Tim Osborne and Adam Rowland at Framestore for Kia “This or That.”

Engineering Excellence Awards—which were sponsored by NAB Show—were awarded to ARRI for the new Alexa digital camera; Cine-Tal for its Davio Signal Processor; Digital Vision for its Open EXR Workflow; and Texas Instruments for its DLP Cinema Technology. A newly added award was the HPA Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation in Post Production. The 2010 Award winners were FotoKem for nextLAB Mobile; Reliance MediaWorks for custom image processing; Gradient Effects for its GLoW 2D/3D previsualization system; and Light Iron Digital for its Outpost and Lightstream technologies.