June 03, 2013 12:00am PT by Carolyn Giardina
The Former Mill TV Team Launches VFX House Milk
Six of the former managers and creatives from Mill TV -- which closed earlier this year -- have opened a new visual effects company called Milk. Mill TV, the former TV VFX arm of London-headquartered The Mill, has VFX credits on programs including Doctor Who, Merlin and Sherlock for the BBC.
With a focus on TV and feature films, Milk will immediately begin work on the 50th anniversary episode of the BBC’s Doctor Who and Sherlock: Series Three, as well as the new TV adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, a miniseries due to be broadcast on BBC One in 2014.
Milk’s founders and owners are Will Cohen, CEO and executive producer; Nick Drew, managing director and executive producer; Jean-Claude Deguerra, VFX supervisor and joint head of 3D; Nico Hernandez, VFX supervisor and joint head of 3D; Sara Bennett, VFX supervisor and head of 2D; and VFX supervisor Murray Barber. Their collective credits include VFX on the aforementioned series, as well as Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman, Les Miserables and the upcoming 47 Ronin.
The closure of Mill TV generated a lot of attention in the VFX community as it further underscored the troubles in the VFX business. The announcement of the plans to close was actually made in late March while the industry awaited the results of Rhythm & Hues’ bankruptcy auction. It was also the week that Northern California's Tippett Studio revealed that it was planning to greatly reduce its head count.
While Mill TV shut it doors, parent company The Mill continues to focus on its other, primarily commercial, business. The Mill CEO Robin Shenfield had said in a March statement: “While TV VFX has been less volatile than film -- last year the U.S. studios spent far less than they did in 2011 -- TV also seems to have caught the bug, and there have been less of those high-end commissions and repeat series.”
But speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Cohen said that more recently, the U.K. introduced new tax breaks that make the him optimistic that this is a good time to launch a business in London. “Our new venture is timed to enable us to capitalize on the new tax breaks in the U.K. as we expect to see an influx of TV work, as well as continued feature film work, coming to London over the next few months and beyond," Cohen said.
Milk opens with tools including Nuke and Maya, and the capacity for 100 artists. Cohen told THR that with a combination of staffers and freelancers, he expects to reach that capacity by the fall.