The Mexican visual effects expert working in Hollywood

Josimar Altamirano, the Mexican who has worked in movies like Sully, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Ghostbusters, Pacific Rim: Uprising, The Mummy, and the Netflix series, Annihilation

The Mexican visual effects expert working in Hollywood
Ghostbusters – Photo: Courtesy
English 06/08/2018 15:38 César Huerta Ortiz Mexico City Actualizada 15:44

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Josimar Altamirano Márquez was getting visually ready for Hollywood since he was a child. His grandmother, Genoveva Medina, was the founder of the chinas oaxaqueñas, a regional dance group from Oaxaca, and she also designed the colorful skirts.

The tradition was passed down to his mother, and he himself did the crafts that required patience. Now Josimar is 31 years old, and an expert on visual effects, those entirely made on the computer.

In Ant-Man and the Wasp, still in theaters, he made the digital doubles of the tiny characters while they fight during the final scene; in Ghostbusters, he lighted up the huge monster, and in Annihilation, a Netflix series, starring Natalie Portman, he created crystal trees and a set extension. It's work that lasts a few seconds in the screen but takes weeks to complete.

“Since I was little I saw my grandma make skirts, I don't know if it's hereditary, but I paid attention to the details that she and myself created; then I watched Toy Story when I was 9 and I was impressed”, he remembers.

Josimar studied in the Puebla University (Universidad de Puebla) and then attended the Vancouver Film School, where he specialized in 3D visual effects. He then went from job to job until he got an opportunity in the film industry.

Sully, starring Tom Hanks, a movie about the plane that had to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River in 2009, was one of his first jobs in the industry, in this case, he was part of the team that created the turbulent waters.

“Actually, everything was done on a beach during a warm day, but in reality, the plane landed in February (cold weather), we had to change the water, the lighting, for it to look like in February; we also created the floating parachutes”, he says.

In Pacific Rim: Uprising and The Mummy, where he created digital doubles, are part of the Mexican's filmography, who is currently waiting for another project.

The interactive fire in Pacific Rim III is one of the most important sequences, which was actually created by Josimar.

“I'm lucky, it's everyone's dream to make movies, I know people who have been around for 20 years and can't make the leap; from outside it seems like I've had a quick start, I've been this career for three years, but it's taken a lot of effort”, he says as he laughs.

Away from the public spotlightJosimar doesn't care that people ignore the work behind the scenes. The key is, precisely, that people don't notice the digital part. “If we achieve this, we have accomplished our task”.

He knows a couple of other Mexicans who are in the same situation, and who are slowly arriving into his work industry and he says that soon, we will hear about them.

Josimar is, along with Charlie Iturriaga (House of cards) and Jaime Jasso (Star wars), the Mexican face of the VFX in Hollywood.