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Film fest to honor knight and special-effects guru

This year, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival honors the man behind some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.

Sir Richard Taylor, the special effects supervisor behind “Avatar,” “The Adventures of Tintin” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, will receive the film festival’s King Vidor Career Achievement Award, which honors excellence in filmmaking.

“He is extremely well-loved in the film business and in general,” festival Executive Director Wendy Eidson said of Taylor, describing him as a celebrity in his field.

Taylor and his wife, Tania Rodger, will travel from Wellington, New Zealand, for the March 12 awards ceremony in San Luis Obispo.

“It is a very rare public appearance,” Eidson said, noting that Taylor generally prefers to stay out of the spotlight.

He was knighted in 2010 for his contributions to film.

The recipient of five Academy Awards and several other honors, Taylor has served as the creative director of New Zealand special-effects house Weta Workshop and its affiliates for more than 25 years.

Under his leadership, the companies have created physical and digital effects for films including “District 9,” “King Kong,” “The Lovely Bones” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

Weta is currently working with “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson on “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which opens Dec. 14.

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, which runs from March 7 to 11, features film screenings, panel discussions, parties and other events at venues throughout the county.

For more information, visit www.slofilmfest.org.

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