|Kit started as a camera assistant for a big documentary company and was filming documentaries for quite
some time before he went to the army for 2 years.
During his time in the Army he was in Malaysia and Singapore, and learned how to deal with pyrotechnics, explosives and booby traps.
He could not guess that this training should turn out to be very helpful in the coming years, for his 'life in special effects'.
After his time in the Army he worked for various Television advertising companies as camera assistant.
Soon he worked independently as DOP (Director of Photography) on commercials for one of the larger companies.
But Kit was not really contented...he wanted a new challenge, a new task.
|Les Bowie gave him this chance!
He needed a good camera man for his special effects department and Kit got the job.
For many years he was the in-house camera man of Bowie Films.
Under the tutelage of Les Bowie, Kit learned all the SPFX tricks of the trade.
Kit was fascinated by the special effects and one day he had to decide which way he wanted to go, as the Union didn't allow to work in two different departments.
Kit has made a wise decision - "my love now is with effects".
He soon became a well-known SPFX Supervisor for feature films.
It was in the year 1964 when Kit got a phone call from Spain.
Alex Weldon, the legendary Special Effects magician of the colossal epics of Producer Samuel Bronston
('El Cid', '55 days of Peking',...), wanted him to help on another great epic, 'The Battle of the Bulge'.
A big budget war movie epic with thousands of extras...and thousands of explosions.
Kit on Alex Weldon: "He was a lovely man, and I have to say I owe a lot to him and learnt a lot from him
whilst working on THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE."
|'Battle of the Bulge' was the beginning of an exciting adventure in Spain for Kit West.
He brought in his own crew (Jack Wallis/Peter Dawson/...) to Spain and together with the very good Spanish technicians Kit had a great SPFX Team by his side.
Manuel Baquero, Antonio Parra (photo), Antonio Bueno, Juan Antonio Baladin...and all the other spanish guys of the old Alex Weldon 'effects house' at Sam Bronston Film strengthened the crew.
|Another phone call changed the life of Kit again.
He was doing 'The Sea Wolves' in Goa (India) when he got a call of Robert Watts ('El Condor') requesting if he was free and if he would like to do the special effects for a movie called 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'.
This movie was like a stepping stone for Kit and brought him to the Academy Awards 1982.
One can imagine the big moment when Dan Aykroyd handed him the Oscar!
Immediately after 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', Kit worked on Stars Wars number 3, 'Return of the Jedi'.
Kit: "With those two under my belt, I felt quite happy ... quite contented."
Many other large productions should still follow!
'Dune', 'Empire of the Sun', 'Casualties of War', 'Universal Soldier', ...and so many more.
What a life ... in special effects!
|Brian Johnson (SPFX Supervisor):
"The stories about Kit West and his adventures would make a great film on its own..."