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Next Gen 2011: Hollywood's Fastest-Rising Stars

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    Digital
    Michelle Leigh
    Joe Pugliese
    Michelle Leigh
    Executive Director, 3D Technology Center, Sony

    Leigh's path to Hollywood was through her thesis, "Digitization and Its Effects on the Hollywood Film Industry," which she wrote while earning her bachelor's degree in Film & TV at Brunel University in London. That thesis led her to an internship with Ken Ralston, creative head of Sony Pictures Imageworks. "And the rest, as they say, is history," Leigh, 34, says. That led to her doing preproduction work on Avatar, where Jon Landau and James Cameron introduced her to 3D filmmaking. "They were inspirational," she says. "Jon is a fantastic mentor, and Jim is a visionary. It was challenging, but wonderful." Nowadays, Leigh, who is single, spends her time educating the DGA and other organizations about 3D technology, and in the past year she helped produce the 3D elements for The Green Hornet and the Sony short film Xelerate. She's now the 3D producer on Planet B-Boys, the working title for Screen Gems' first natively shot 3D movie. Says Leigh, "We're incorporating the aesthetics of traditional film narrative with the limitless frontiers of a new technology."

    PHOTOS: THR's Next Gen Class of 2011

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