Sam Edwards - Alumni | CMCMA | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Sam Edwards

Image of Sam Edwards

Cinema and Photography, 1984

VFX Supervisor and Flame owner/operator

Sam Edwards was born in Morgan City, Louisiana, and graduated from Evanston Township High School in Evanston Illinois before attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

He was one of the founders of the Big Muddy Film Festival and co-chaired the festival in his senior year. He went on to work with two of its judges. He was on the production team of Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger than Paradise. He then edited two films by Robert Frank, This Song for Jack and Home Improvements. They were included in Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans at The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., which also toured to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and around the world. 

Moving to commercials he jumped into the exploding area of Visual Effects. He quickly worked his way up to lead VFX artist on national TV commercials that appeared on the Super Bowl, the Oscars, and the Olympic Games. This led to offers and projects outside New York City in Paris, Rome, Milan, Montreal, Los Angeles and London. He was twice nominated and Honorable Mention for the Flame Award, one of the highest honors in Visual Effects. After watching a Seinfeld episode where he worked on more than half of the commercials, it was time to look for a new challenge: Movies.

In 2000 he closed his eponymous NYC Visual Effects studio and moved to the West Coast. There he found work as a digital artist at Industrial Light & Magic and Digital Domain among others, on three Oscar winners: Avatar, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Pirates of the Caribbean 2, as well as eleven nominees, including Star Wars Episode II, War of the Worlds, and Avengers Age of Ultron. He was the Compositing Supervisor on Journey 3D, the first live action 3D film of the new era, Iron Man 3, and many others others. He has worked interactively with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Chris Columbus, Michel Gondry and Ang Lee. 

Today Sam is a VFX Supervisor and Flame owner/operator, specializing in movies and dramatic television series for HBO, Disney/Marvel, Lionsgate, Showtime, and National Geographic/FOX, including the breakthrough series Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey, for which he was nominated for the PrimeTime Emmy Award for Outstanding Visual Effects. 

He lives with his wife and two children in Santa Monica, California.