After seeing John Wayne in the film “The Alamo,” Tony Venezia longed to become an actor. But growing up in Villa Park is a long way from Los Angeles and when Venezia finally made it there for graduate work at UCLA, it was not to study acting but animation.
As a high school student, Venezia began creating independent films in 1969 using a borrowed 16mm movie camera with his clay animated piece “Klei.”
Venezia’s 3½-minute stop-motion animation film also won several awards in competition including a best animation award in college level category.
Venezia studied film in college, creating several award winning films while at Illinois State University.
In 1978, he decided to make his break to Los Angeles when he was accepted to the Animation Workshop at UCLA. “My original plan was to do a year. I wanted to make my first film at UCLA and then come back to Chicago,” Venezia said. “After about three weeks into the program, I decided I wanted to finish it.”
During his time at UCLA Venezia created more award winning films including one that won the honor of national finalist for the student Academy Awards in 1983.
In 1981 he formally began his career in special effects working at Mid Ocean Motion Pictures in Hollywood. Mid Ocean was a unique studio that created effects for high-end TV commercials and show opens. It was here that Venezia started experimenting with a technique called slitscan. This is a process of painting with light directly on to film. Between 1981 and 1989 he completed three abstract films using this technique. In 1983 Venezia founded what would eventually become Electric Filmworks, a special effects company that created film effects, graphics, theatrical movie opens, and trailer elements. In 1987 Venezia received a hefty production grant to produce his film Ghost Dance, which was the third film of the above-mentioned series. Since in 1989 Venezia has not produced any independent films until this year, however he has worked on a multitude of theatrical and commercial projects. In 2000 he came back to his Midwest roots to raise his children in an area that was more family friendly than Los Angeles. Since that time, he worked four seasons on the Oprah Winfrey Show in their on-air graphics department and has created nearly all of the show graphics and elements for Total Living Network between 2000 and 2011. Venezia has been teaching full time at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL, since 2005, where he established their animation program.
Within one’s spiritual life things like defeat, despair, desolation, depression, and even death are encountered. What happens after one decides to stand up to these challenges and experiences a second chance?
Death is a passage in both a figurative and literal sense. To some death comes to end life. But to others the passage through life is a constant journey through change, growth, and restoration.
These experiences are opportunities to a richer life if only one can grasp them. Redemption explores those concepts.