“Queen Sugar”

Behind the VFX of OWN’s Upcoming Hit Show

Diverse, Supportive, and High-Caliber are just some of the words that Senior VFX Producer Lauren Ellis uses to describe her experience on set for OWN’s upcoming series “Queen Sugar.”“It’s has been my most encouraging and growth-inducing experience to date for me as a VFX Producer…and in the best possible way! The bar is high but you’re not alone in making sure you meet it. The honesty and transparency is refreshing and there is no covering of your behind only. Everyone covers everyone.”

Based on the book of the same name, “Queen Sugar” tells the story of a career-driven, African-American woman who inherits 800 acres of sugarcane in Louisiana from her deceased father. She uproots herself and her daughter from Los Angeles to run the farm and start their lives over. Executive Producer, Writer, and Director Ava DuVernay has been in production for this series throughout this year. The Molecule has been working on the Visual Effects and Motion Graphics in our LA studio since April.

“Queen Sugar” doesn’t seem like a show that would need a ton of VFX work, but Lauren notes that not all VFX are Jurassic World-level. “The most common effects are the ones you don’t notice: monitor burn-ins, removals of environmental elements, split screens, etc. Nearly everything we watch every day has been touched by a VFX team.”

One of the most unique elements of DuVernay’s hand-selected crew is that the group is mostly female. “Statistics on women in film and television are grim,” notes Lauren. “By bringing in an impressive list of direct-hers (as she calls them), Ava is not only showing that women are capable of taking on these roles but that it’s not very hard to find them!”

“It’s an all female directing team for a show on the only African-American Woman-owned network,” Lauren continues. “Her inclusive message is resounding through the industry. She has shown us all that men, although plentiful, are not the only qualified parties.”  

“Queen Sugar” is slated to make its debut on OWN in a two-night event on September 6 and 7. We’re all super excited for it here at The Molecule, but Lauren sums it up perfectly: “Tune in to support history and, of course, a fantastic story. Tune in to make sure this isn’t the only opportunity we’re given to support female voices.”