This year has been huge for the VFX industry, so many blockbuster titles of this year have been heavily involved with VFX, none more than Ang Lee's Life of Pi. I went and saw this in the cinema and was completely blown away by the sheer beauty of it and the scale of the whole project itself. Because of it's tremendous job it was no surprise that Life of Pi was up for an Oscar for Visual Effects, however shortly after the nominations were announced, Rhythm & Hues - the company that created the bulk of the visual effects filed for bankruptcy. For myself and many others this came as a huge shock, a well established and reputable studio who just made one of the most visually stunning films in a long time were in a lot of financial trouble. Back in September another well known VFX studio, Digital Domain, had run into financial troubles which led to them closing down a studio out in Florida.
We as artists love what we do and because of this love, we aren't too bothered if we get the recognition as we all work behind the scenes. It's only when people start loosing their jobs and are under paid and have to work all hours, when people have something to say. Without these people, without these companies and studios visual effects work, it's as simple as that. The Oscars took place last night and around 500 people took to the streets to protest about the state of the VFX industry.
The protest is not a strike, "it is an effort to raise awareness," explained VFX supervisor Scott Squires
A lot of people were hoping that Life of Pi would win the Oscar for Visual Effects (which they did) and use that as a stage to create more of an awareness about the industry. They tried, but got cut off mid speech which gives you the impression that they couldn't care less. I'm hoping that this just pushes everyone more and gives them more determination to make their stand. It will be interesting to see how this will affect the VFX industry in the up coming months and hopefully it will be for the better. Here is an interesting interview about why the VFX industry is failing. A big thing to come up time and again is the model the VFX industry use, it's far different from any other within the film industry. In order for something to change within visual effects, the model they use needs to change.
Oscars 2013 - Life Of Pi Wins Best Visual Effects from Nathaniel Caauwe on Vimeo.