VFX Churchill Studios a new Filmworkers division

Churchill’s Daniel Pernikoff and Rob Churchill

After 17 years at Filmworkers, Rob Churchill is now officially a brand. When he suggested to Filmworkers’ president Reid Brody that he needed people so they could handle several projects simultaneously, Brody agreed and created the Churchill Studio.

Next up was the search for a strong art director. “After interviewing a ton of people, we found Daniel Pernikoff, from Method Studio,” Churchill says. “We hit it right off and found our skills complemented each other.” 

Churchill Studio brought together a team of six from throughout the Filmworkers Collaborative and work out of a specially built, open space artists’ studio in the east wing of Filmworkers’ space.

The Studio is integrated with Filmworkers, its post resources and hybrid digital division, Vitamin and can draw on its resources as needed.

At Churchill Studio, says Churchill, “We have enough horsepower under the hood to take on the most demanding projects, from start to finish.”  It’s equipped with four Flames, four The Foundry Nuke workstations and a variety of other CGI and effects desktop systems and “I know every box,” he says.

Before joining Filmworkers in 1997, Churchill, a Columbia College grad, was an assistant at Post Effects for three years, until one career-changing weekend. He was at the studio late on a Friday night when client Oprah urgently needed show promos cut for Sunday airing and Churchill went to work.  On Monday, his promotion to editor was announced.

Pernikoff, who grew up in St Louis, started his career in Chicago at Digital Kitchen/Chicago as an After Effects designer and later spent six years in New York at shops including Brand New School, Thornberg & Forester and Imaginary Forces.

Returning to Chicago in 2012, he joined Method Studio as designer/animator, working on spot assignments for Budweiser, Coors, Cadillac and Lincoln. 

Churchill Studio’s first assignment was a fully CGI spot for the new Banshee roller coaster ride at Cedar Fair amusement parks.

The team of artists worked in the new studio, which made it easy to trade ideas and comments,” which is so important to doing great work — and it shows in the finished product.”