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VFX Workers Stage Protest Outside DreamWorks Animation During Obama Visit

VFX Protest - H 2013
Jonathan Handel

"If the president says we're gaining a lot of jobs in the film industry, that's not true," said rally co-organizer Daniel Lay, who blogs as VFXSoldier.

Visual effects workers gathered Tuesday at a park in Glendale and marched about a mile to police lines outside DreamWorks Animation, where President Obama was speaking, to protest foreign subsidies that they say are driving visual effects works out of the United States to countries such as Canada, the U.K., New Zealand and Australia. About 45 people attended the rally.

Organizers were explicit in saying they were not protesting Obama, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg or the company's workers. Rather, they wanted to draw attention to the issue of subsidies that they say need to be eliminated.

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"If the president says we're gaining a lot of jobs in the film industry, that's not true," said rally co-organizer Daniel Lay, who blogs as VFXSoldier. "We're here to correct the record."

Also attending the rally were co-organizer Tom Capizzi and VFX luminaries Scott Ross and Scott Squires. VFX activist Dave Rand also made an appearance.

Organizers are hoping to adopt a novel and aggressive legal strategy to end subsidies. They want to bring a counterveiling-duties (CVD) action in the World Trade Court, which if successful could force the U.S. government to slap duties on incoming VFX shots. That, they say, would eliminate the financial incentive for studios to outsource VFX work and end the migrant labor aspect of the profession.

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Email: jhandel99 at gmail dot com
Twitter: @jhandel