I just returned from my trips to NY and SF. I’ll have a post up about the meetings but first I wanted to give a few thoughts of some recent trouble brewing in the VFX industry.
Variety’s David S. Cohen reports that Imageworks will be moving more LA workers to Vancouver. As I’ve said before, all BC is doing is inflating a massively distorted bubble that will eventually burst. When the government is paying 60% of resident salaries there, you can’t expect that to last especially when bigger locations like Ontario and Quebec are offering more.
Speaking of Montreal, I’ve routinely pointed out that VFX pros in subsidized locations are not immune to the subsidy race. Last year UK facilities like MPC and Framestore were opening in Montreal because of much larger subsidies. Now Cinesite is the next UK facility to open in Montreal and it’s been given some huge subsidies to pay for opening the facility. The UK recently increased the amount of subsidies it offers but when you have to compete with 25% of all expenses, 60% of labor costs, and further captial investments and interest free loans offered by Quebec, you’ve got a long way to go.
The Digital Domain story just continues to get weirder and weirder. As you know after the company went through bankruptcy, it was bought by China’s Galloping Horse and India’s Reliance Mediaworks. Last summer, Galloping Horse abruptly sold it’s stake to a mysterious holding company called Sun Innovations. Shortly after, Digital Domain’s co-production Enders Game was released with very disappointing box office numbers.
This January, Li Ming, the CEO of Galloping Horse died of a heart attack at age 48. The Chinese government is censoring stories about Li Ming and some Chinese websites are speculating some sort of foul play. Furthermore, Sun Innovations is issuing warnings on a substantial loss due to Enders Game and Reliance Mediaworks is seeking to delist as a public company in India.
I can’t verify any of the following but there have been rumors of paycuts at DD and I have been notified that some workers at Reliance Mediaworks were being cut live checks.
So many questions that need answers but then I think to myself: