California State employment officials were sent a WARN act filing yesterday by Sony. In the US large employers are required to send employees a 60 day notice of a large layoff of facility closing. One of the addresses listed is the location of Sony Pictures Imageworks but it looks like this is for the 70 that were laid off from the recently closed interactive division which shared the same location.
Even with big layoffs in the film division at Sony, it plans to ramp up the amount of animation work because the cost of voice talent is much cheaper than live action. Just this week Sony announced a pretty large slate of animated films.
However most of that work will probably be done in Vancouver. As I mentioned on NPR and at a City Hall meeting, Imageworks once employed 1000 professionals at the Culver City location. That number dwindled down recently to around 200 with many recently given an ultimatum to move to Vancouver or be fired. As I’ve written before the reason for the need to move to Vancouver is because the government pays 60% of resident salaries there in the form of subsidies.
I will be attending the next VFX Progress Group meeting which will be held this Wednesday night in the Culver City area. I’ll give an update on our legal effort for anti-subsidy duties.