Professor of the Practice of Cinematic Arts
John C. Hench Division of Animation + Digital Arts
Work Phone: (213)821-4396
Is a multifaceted filmmaker, a visual storyteller, cinematographer, VFX Supervisor, Animation Director and Artist. He is an Educator, Advisor and a Mentor. Maks is best known for visualizing high-concept ideas for Feature films like AVIATOR, MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, BAD BOYS 2, CHARLIES ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE, SUPERMAN RETURNS, GHOST RIDER, THE PATRIOT and HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE.
Maks' clients have included Sony Pictures, Legendary Pictures & Warner Brothers, Disney Studios, Jim Henson Creature Shop, MTV, Pacific Title Mirage, Centropolis Entertainment, Lockheed Martin, Paramount Studios, Universal Studios, HBO, Grammys, and the Golden Globes Awards.
Maks’ filmmaking work focused largely on developing cinematic story ideas and dramatizing moments through virtual cinematography, layout, and animation (3D). He was involved in technical and character animation on majority of his film credits and served as an advisor, supervisor and director on various film and animation projects throughout his career. Maks also co-created and implemented one of the first motion capture crowd systems in a motion picture for Centropolis Entertainment. He then went on to choreograph and animate the historic battle sequences for THE PATRIOT. Later in his career, he created another solution of a crowd system at Sony Pictures Imageworks and used it to choreograph and animate the Zion sentinel attack for THE MATRIX trilogy finale. He has designed key shots, provided development and previsualization, technical and character animation for a number of films including HARRY POTTER AND THE SORECERER’S STONE, THE PATRIOT, STUART LITTLE 2, SPIDERMAN, GHOST RIDER, HAUNTED MANSION, THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, BIG FISH, POLAR EXPRESS and I AM LEGEND.
Throughout his extensive career Maks has had the privilege to be a key element in projects which were nominated and has received numerous awards. Mosquito State won Best Special and Visual Effects at Sitges International Film Festival. Dawn of Darkness, a short film he directed, received an Honorable mention in best narrative short category and won for Best Visual Effects at The Los Angeles Reel Film Festival. In 2008, at the Cinemagic Festival in Poland, Maks was awarded the Cinemagic award for his visual story achievements. In 2005, Aviator received a VES award for outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture. In 2004, Matrix Revolutions and Bad Boys 2 were nominated for a VES Award, In 2003, the Visual Effects Society awarded the team of Stuart Little 2 the VES Award for best character animation in an Animated Motion Picture and later, the same year, his visual effects team for Chubbchubbs won an Oscar for Best Animation Short.
Maks has served as an expert Jury at various film festivals and lectured and advised in several countries and institutions across the globe like California Institute of the Arts, Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Sheridan College and Seneca College in Canada, various Colleges, studios and events in Poland, and Yunlin University in Taiwan. He currently holds the position of Professor of Cinematic Arts Practice at the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts, where he has been lecturing since 2004. He is able to bring his extensive and diverse experiences to the classroom to enrich his curriculum and bring real life practices and valuable lessons to his instruction to the benefit of his students.