Faces of Kansas City: Making Hollywood effects in KC - KCTV5

Faces of Kansas City: Making Hollywood effects in KC

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The magic of Hollywood can be created in more places than just California. Some of the most exciting scenes we see at the movies or on television are created in the Kansas City metro.

If you're ever at the corner of 19th and Wyandotte streets in the Crossroads District, never mind the aliens or the explosions. You can blame the chaos on Bruce Branit.

He created Branit FX, a local visual effects company that's taking Hollywood by storm.

"We do anything you can't shoot with a camera. If it's an endless train tunnel with a train that comes up and hits our hero or a creature or helicopters getting blown out of the sky. You could shoot that, but some of it would be too expensive," Branit said.

He and his band of creative wizards use 3D computer technology to make some of the most memorable scenes on the big and small screen. Millions of people were wowed by their work on Breaking Bad when, in the season 4 season finale, a character named Gus has most of his face blown off in an explosion.

"The Gus Fring face off shot was huge, we got nominated for an Emmy for that - didn't win, but an honor to be nominated. That was a pop culture moment on that show that we worked several months on that shot just to get it right," Branit said.

People can also see the group's work on CBS' Person of Interest and other TV shows like Revolution, Lost and Fringe.

On the big screen, Branit worked his magic on King Kong and Serenity.

For Sean Joseph, working at Branit FX is truly a blast.

"This is just a generic gas explosion, so anything, car bombs, helicopters, airplanes, anything that would be a quick explosion," he said.

Branit, who's a graduate of Shawnee Mission East and the University of Kansas, spent nearly a decade living and working in the Los Angeles area before returning to Kansas City.

"I chose to work here because I'm from here and I know what we have here, so being able to do Hollywood work in Kansas City, that's the perfect combination," he said.

He's currently pitching the script for a feature film based off a five minute short film, or teaser as he calls it, titled State of the Union.

Branit wrote and directed it.

"Hopefully maybe this time next summer, ideally here in Kansas City, we'll be shooting a feature film with robots and aliens, and hopefully a few leads from television shows we've worked on," he said.

Branit compares State of the Union to Independence Day, but on a slightly smaller budget.

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