Industry veteran Jerry Virnig, former president of independent film lab CFI, died on Thursday from natural causes. He was 80. Virnig was a graduate of USC and joined CFI in 1966 as an assistant in the public relations department. He rose through the ranks at CFI, first as the laboratory’s liaison to production companies on location and then as Sales Manager and finally as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. In 1992, Virnig succeeded Tom Ellington as president of CFI where he served the industry until his retirement in 1997. Virnig will be remembered by many as following in the CFI tradition first shaped by industry icon Sid Solow, as a friend and supporter of cinematographers, directors, and producers of independent films. With its broad range of services, in the later years including video post-production, titles and opticals, and large format film developing and processing, Virnig’s CFI was a key player in the Hollywood laboratory circles. It included among its clients Sony Pictures and Sony TV, Warner Bros TV, Paramount Pictures, Universal TV and Stephen J. Cannell. Post retirement, Virnig served as a consultant and strategic adviser to CFI and his successor, Bob Beitcher. He was also instrumental in founding the Worldwide Motion Picture Laboratory Association (WMPLA), a consortium of leading independent international film labs with a mission to share technical information and provide an alternative to filmmakers to the industry’s two large players, Deluxe and Technicolor. In 2002, Technicolor North Hollywood dedicated one of its screening rooms to Virnig in honor of his illustrious career. Virnig’s love of independent filmmaking led him to teach at Columbia College in Los Angeles during his retirement years.
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