(written from a Production point of view)
John Kilkenny attended the University of Arizona in the 1980s, studying radio/television and graduating in 1985.  During his time at the university, he interned at the NBC affiliate in Tucson, and was a sports producer at the local ABC station. In addition, he headed the Association of Students concert division, booking concerts headlined by superstars like Huey Lewis and the News, Barry Manilow, Kenny Rogers, and Hall and Oats. In recognition of his later contributions to the motion picture industry, he was awarded in May 2009 with an honorary doctorate by his alma mater.
He began his career in the motion picture industry as an assistant director on the late 1980s independent films Dance of the Damned (starring Cyril O'Reilly) and Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II (featuring Sid Haig). He later produced the visual effects for Michael Jackson's short film Ghosts, on which Mike Smithson was Jackson's make-up artist.
While working with Paramount, Kilkenny produced Digital Domain's visual effects for the 1997 Paramount films Conspiracy Theory (starring Patrick Stewart) and the multi Academy Award-winning Titanic (starring David Warner), before moving over to Blue Sky/VIFX for Insurrection. Afterwards, following a brief stint with Buena Vista Pictures to produce the visual effects for the 2000 film Gone in Sixty Seconds, Kilkenny began working at Twentieth Century Fox.
At Fox, Kilkenny was the visual effects producer for the such films as Dr. Dolittle, The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, Daredevil, Garfield, and I, Robot. He was also an associate producer on the latter two films. Daredevil featured performances by Erick Avari and Leland Orser, while the cast of I, Robot included James Cromwell and Bruce Greenwood. The visual effects he produced for I, Robot, were nominated for an Academy Award (although he did not officially share the nomination).
After I, Robot, Kilkenny was promoted into the executive ranks of the studio as the president of its visual effects department. In this new function (usually uncredited, as is currently commonplace for studio executives and therefore missing out on any award nominations), his more recent projects for Fox in the time period 2005-2010, included Night at the Museum, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Live Free or Die Hard (featuring Tim Russ). He has headed the visual effects department on James Cameron's 2009 science fiction film Avatar (starring Zoe Saldana), and which is the one that has virtually broken every record in the book, in a very large part due to the visual effects; it is by a huge margin as of 2016 still holding the absolute record of US$2.8 billion worldwide gross box-office take, a record previously held by Cameron's other blockbuster, Titanic.