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Close to 500 people representing the visual effects community gathered Sunday on Hollywood Boulevard to force the film industry to focus on the economic problems threatening Hollywood’s visual effects houses.
Many in that VFX world argue that effects houses are struggling because of a business model that doesn’t work, and they point to Rhythm & Hues Studios — the studio behind many of the visual effects in Life of Pi — and the fact that it filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Feb. 13 as the latest evidence. Pi won the Oscar in VFX just a couple hours after the demonstration wrapped up.
Participants in the demonstration included R&H employees, as well as some that were affected by recent layoffs; representatives from additional VFX companies; and freelancers. Some brought their families; the youngest participants were in strollers.
Dave Rand, an artist at Rhythm & Hues, said the aim of the effort is “awareness. We are not disrespecting Life of Pi or Rhythm & Hues.”
Demonstrators started to gather at Hollywood and Vine around 1 p.m. and later marched up to Hollywood and Wilcox.
Additionally, a small plane with a banner that reads “Box Office + Bankrupt = Visual Effects vfxunion.com” flew over Hollywood.
Here are messages from some of the signs that were carried during the demonstration:
“Subsidies are destroying VFX”
“Blockbusters without VFX would not be blockbusters”
“We made the Hulk incredible; we made Spider-Man amazing”
“Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick two.”
“I want a piece of the Pi too. Stop subsidies.”
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