Mamma Mia! Production Designer shares design secrets with Kent MSc students

Maria Djurkovic, veteran production designer on feature films such as “The Hours” with Nicole Kidman, “Vanity Fair” with Reese Witherspoon, and the all-time British box-office champion “Mamma Mia” with Meryl Streep, came on Tuesday to give extended lectures to Kent University Computer Animation and Digital Visual Effects MSc students on how to go about designing looks and sets for films.

The students, about to embark on their final film projects, were fascinated to be shown the methodology, reference images and plans that resulted in the enormous Greek island village set that was built on the Bond film stage at Pinewood for “Mamma Mia”, including special surfaces designed not to trip up leading actress Streep.
The methods of assembling reference and choosing final designs for live action movies are identical to those involved in creating 3D computer animated and digital set extensions that the students are engaged on.

David Byers-Brown, who leads the Masters programmes in Computer Animation and Digital Visual Effects, said: ‘We are very lucky to be able to present the ideas and approaches of a professional production designer with such current and cutting edge experience. This is exactly where we want to set the bar for our students’ abilities on graduating. We aim to produce graduates able to fit right in to the current film industry in Britain.’