Layoffs Hit Deluxe Postproduction Powerhouse

Those affected include Bill Feightner, co-founder of EFILM.

As a part of company-wide layoffs over the past week, Hollywood entertainment-services player Deluxe has let go of as many as 18 employees in its EFILM division, including EFILM co-founder Bill Feightner. Deluxe brands include postproduction and VFX facilities such as EFILM, Company 3, Encore and Method.

"Less than 5 percent" of the company's workforce has been affected, a Deluxe executive tells The Hollywood Reporter. He characterized the layoff as a "normal-course right-sizing of the business." 

As word of the layoffs spread, some have speculated that the cuts are meant to position Deluxe —which is owned by MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings, led by businessman Ron Perelman—for a sale. But the Deluxe executive, who asked not to be named, said that was "absolutely not true."

In addition to its creative service companies, Deluxe encompasses a wide range of postproduction services and businesses including Stereo D, a 2D to 3D conversion company; Deluxe Digital Cinema; and film processing and Blu-Ray authoring services. It maintains operations in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Spain, the US and UK.

The fact that Deluxe laid off Feightner stunned many in the tight-knit postproduction community. “Total shock” was how one insider described the news. “He is an icon of that company.”

Feightner, who served as EFILM’s executive vp and CTO, co-founded EFILM with Joe Matza (who is no longer with the firm) in 1992 and went on to pioneer one of the world’s first “Digital Intermediate” technical pipelines, allowing color grading and other postproduction tasks on a movie to be handled in the digital realm instead of at a film lab.

The Hollywood-based digital postproduction facility earned a reputation for both technical innovation as well as creativity, and is a go-to post house for  leading cinematographers including nine-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins (True Grit, Skyfall) and two-time nominee Stephen Goldblatt (Julie and Julia, The Help).

Panavision purchased EFILM in 2001, and Deluxe Laboratories bought EFILM from Panavision in 2004.

In late 2010, Deluxe acquired Ascent Media Corp.'s Creative Services and Media Services businesses, bringing into the mix such entities as Company 3, another leading digital intermediate business; Encore, a post house; Method, a VFX business; and Beast, an editorial company.