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Richard Baneham, award-winning visual effects artist | Interview

Richard Baneham, an award-winning visual effects artist, has made an indelible mark on the entertainment industry.

This has been through his work and numerous accolades, but also through his deep involvement in the Irish creative community here in Los Angeles.

headshot of Richard Baneham

Two Academy Awards

Baneham's journey to Los Angeles has been nothing short of remarkable, culminating in two Academy Awards, including this year’s Best Visual Effects Oscar for “Avatar: The Way of Water”.

Having a group of peers and friends with him in Los Angeles meant that Baneham had an extended family and “an infrastructure of friends” in his adopted home town.

Irish creative community in Los Angeles

For the first few years, they “slept on each other’s couches” as they navigated the industry. “I had an inherent and built in connection to the Irish creative community, we all shared the same wins and losses, it was very easy to stay connected” says Baneham. “When it came time to grow their companies, we were always here, so whenever anyone came, we were able to wrap [them in] a healthy social community, and show them the Irish culture” here in Los Angeles.

Promoting artistic talent

His enduring connection with the Irish creative community in Los Angeles exemplifies his commitment to nurturing and promoting artistic talent, inspiring a new generation of Irish artists to follow in his footsteps. “We have a healthy network of new talent here in Los Angeles” and “all the new kids coming through, being involved in helping them helps keep me focused, driven and passionate”.

Irish nominations at the Academy Awards

The strength and breadth of both new and experienced Irish talent was high-lighted in this year’s awards season. There were a record-breaking 14 Irish nominations at the Academy Awards. These included Colm Bairéad and Cleona Ní Chrualaoi’s “An Cailín Ciúin”, the first ever Irish-language film to be nominated for Best International Feature Film.

Irish heritage and culture

“To do this awards run with [a wider Irish community] including the likes of Colm and Cleona, represented in the foray has been great fun” says Baneham “to see a small Irish movie really connect here in Hollywood was such a lovely thing”.

So it’s no surprise that he credits his Irish heritage and culture for the success he’s enjoyed.

“Everything I do is informed by who I am, and who I am is first and foremost Irish”.