Film Industry Pioneer, Legend in Town for Sold-Out, Inaugural Boone Film Festival

Published Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 5:30 pm

Christian Goudy, BFF host Patrick Wilkinson, Eitan Abramowitz (WWP), Paul Halluch (WWP), visual effects pioneer Dean Lyon and Jerry Sebastian (WWP)

By Jesse Wood

As managing partner of the Boone Film Festival, the Wonderland Woods Production team pulled off quite a feat in hosting a film industry pioneer and legend this week for the inaugural Boone Film Festival, which takes place this Saturday, April 9. (The festival is sold out.)

While you may not be familiar with the name, Dean Lyon, you will certainly recognize his work. Lyon is a visual effects specialist, who has been described in such a way: “There are few who have helped pioneer—and then continued to significantly influence—an industry. Dean Lyon is one of those people.”



Lyon is serving as one of the judges in this year’s Boone Film Festival.

“I think there will be some really good quality clips shown at the festival,” Lyon said

Just a few of the film projects he has worked on include The Lord of the Rings trilogy (as visual effects supervisor), Jerry Maguire, Air Force One, Independence Day and so on.

Hailing from Detroit, Mich., Lyon said he ran away to film school in California as a teenager and “kind of just slid into the Hollywood industry.” He started working in the visual effects and graphics industry in the ‘70s, employing techniques such as matte paintings, forced perspective, double exposure and slow motion without the aid of computers.

Lyon said these were called “practical effects” back in the day.

Of all of the famous films that Lyon worked on, The Lord of the Rings trilogy was obviously a favorite that he couldn’t “discount” – “I travelled half way around the world to work on the biggest project and most famous in Hollywood,” Lyon said.

However, he noted that Air Force One, which starred Harrison Ford, was also a favorite. Lyon thought Ford was a great guy and also had the opportunity to meet former President Bill Clinton. Lyon and crew were able to board the real Air Force One to take measurements and recreate the setting inside the plane.

“[Bill Clinton] was very gracious. We had full clearance to do what we wanted to do, and it was also kind of cool to think of Harrison Ford as the next president,” Lyon joked.

In Boone, Lyon has met with and talked to middle school students of Two Rivers Community School as well as leaders in the community about potentially starting a film studio in the High Country – perhaps a franchise of Splinter Studios. Lyon is the CEO of Splinter Studios, which is described a filmmaking company that has a disruptive business model compared to how Hollywood operates today.

“The idea is if we want to change the way of doing things, you need to train the next generation of technicians and artists,” Lyon said. “We could create an industry that makes it possible for people to learn the skill set and take that elsewhere in the world or stay here and do what they want to do right in their own backyard.”

Which is exactly what the Wonderland Woods Productions team is doing.

The fellas that make up the Wonderland Woods Production Team – Paul Halluch, Eitan Abramowitz and Jerry Sebastian – first met Lyon at the G-Star School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Fla.

They were attending the prestigious school working on a school-sponsored film when they met Lyon, who participated in the project. They stayed in touch and have now worked on the other’s projects.

Lyon heaped praise on the young filmmakers.

“They are doing world-class work and traveling around the world doing stuff, but they just so happen to want Boone to be their home, and they are doing their part, giving back to the community,” Lyon said.


Footsloggers owner Jason Berry , visual effects pioneer Dean Lyon , BFF host and film industry jack-of-all-trades Patrick Wilkinson


Dean Lyon with a student


Dean Lyon with BFF co-founder Russel Hiatt and some students after the presentation


Dean Lyon with a student


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