I’ve been reading with interest about the current debate on film subsidies in New Zealand: NZ VFX house DigiPost sits empty as it is faced with either liquidation or moving operations to the UK if subsidies are not increased. There are encouraging discussions about trying to localize the subsidies to avoid a race to the bottom. However the article I found most profound was this:
Production co-ordinator Dot Kyle never expected a career in film and television would offer a 9-to-5 routine or a weekly pay cheque. Yet the screen industry’s flowering in the last 20 years did bring job security – and a husband, in special effects whiz Sven Harens.
But the industry’s air of permanence has proved as illusory as a film set. The downturn of the past 18 months is forcing Kyle to look seriously at leaving the country – joining her husband who has already gone, and leaving two children behind to continue their schooling.
I sympathize incredibly with similar stories I get on occasion from VFX parents (both citizen and international) in CA who are not able to move. Here is one email I received from a VFX parent:
for the vast majority of LA VFX parents, subsidies have been horribly negative. They are unwilling or unable to take advantage of the “opportunity” to move to another country, so they have to deal with the huge contraction to the industry here.
Personally, I have an Autistic son, and we have spent years organizing his therapy and schooling. It would be devastating to his care to just uproot him, move to another country, and try to piece it all back together.
Readers would be surprised to hear that our initial campaign against VFX subsidies was financially supported by internationally based VFX professionals. Many of them, like me, don’t care where the work is done but it’s the constant costly displacement caused by subsidies that effects both international and CA artists.