Exclusive: How a VFX Supervisor Became the Blockbuster Director of 'The Huntsman: Winter's War'

Snow White and The WInter's War
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan was such a talented VFX technician that Universal decided to give him his own film.

Cedric Nicolas-Troyan earned an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects as VFX Supervisor on Snow White and the Huntsman. The follow-up film, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, marks his directorial debut and stars Oscar-winner Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, and Chris Hemsworth. 

In this video interview, launching exclusively through No Film School, Nicolas-Troyan gives candid insights into his unique storytelling approach, and on making the leap from VFX to directing. 

Here are two key takeaways from the interview: 

“When I was in my thirties, I kind of knew I wasn’t ready.”

Nicolas-Troyan worked for over a decade in visual effects before directing his first feature at age 47, all the while immersing himself in the world of filmmaking and storytelling and developing his voice. It’s easy to let anxiety grab hold when you start IMDb-ing famous directors and hunting for their age when they made their first feature (Spielberg made Duel at 24!). But don’t compare and despair; just keep developing your voice and your craft.

“I’m going to try and be the best I can be with [the actors], and that’s going to start by listening.” 

Nicolas-Troyan comments on Winter’s War being his first feature film and that being open and honest with and listening to actors (especially if they’re an Oscar winner) can lead to an on-set environment where everyone’s creativity can flourish. 

Additional Storyteller Series interviews with Nicolas-Troyan include his thoughts on VR, DI color grading, working with DP Phedon Papamichael (The Monuments MenNebraska), the female characters and world of The Huntsman: Winter’s War, and the answer to the pressing question: is goblin blood flammable?      

Follow @TechnicolorCrea on Twitter for news, director, DP, colorist, and sound video interviews.

Your Comment


"Cedric Nicolas-Troyan was such a talented VFX technician that Universal decided to give him his own film" And it's been absolutely slated, what a surprise. I guess the studio didn't think to get an actual director because vfx are all that matters clearly...

April 8, 2016 at 2:17PM, Edited April 8, 2:17PM


critically panned, will probably flop (200 million dollar budget discounting marketing costs) yeah just because Gareth Edwards could do it doesn't mean everyone can...

April 9, 2016 at 5:56AM

Matt Nunn

Because everyone knew it was garbage and didn't want to waste a real director? Sorry, didn't read the article, it's a thing I have with click bait titles. Marching towards blog spam trash with your head held high!

April 10, 2016 at 11:16AM