HOLLYWOOD, CA -- In a move to force the film industry to focus on the economic problems threatening Hollywood's visual effects houses, members of the visual effects community are planning a demonstration during Sunday's Academy Awards.
According to reports by the Los Angeles Times, Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter, a group of former Rhythm & Hues employees, led by Senior VFX Artist Dave Rand, have commissioned a plane to fly a banner over the Oscar red carpet that will read “BOXOFFICE + BANKRUPT = VISUAL EFFECTS VFXUNION.COM.” The banner is scheduled to fly over the pre-show red carpet between 3:30 PM and 4:30 PM.
“We’re tired of paying for the studios’ movies, our employers paying for the studios’ movies, and foreign tax payers paying for the studios’ movies,” Rand reportedly said. “It’s the greatest con of the entertainment industry.”
Rhythm & Hues, the VFX house behind the CG tiger in Oscar-nominated Life of Pi, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week despite infusions of studio cash, leading to mass layoffs affecting roughly 250 employees and a class-action lawsuit. Life of Pi is a frontrunner to win the top visual effects prize at the Academy Awards.
For Rand and his group, the aim of the effort is awareness. “We are not disrespecting Life of Pi or Rhythm & Hues,” Rand reportedly said. “We are trying to enlighten the studios that they are taking their racehorse and beating it to death.”
Last Friday, a bankruptcy judge approved $17 million in loans from Universal and Fox, integral to the VFX house's plans to stay in operation for the next few months and complete work on Universal's R.I.P.D., scheduled for release July 19, and Fox's Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, scheduled for August 16.
On Thursday, a judge approved $4.9 million in financing that Legendary Pictures will pay Rhythm & Hues for the completion of its movie Seventh Son.
Follow @vfxunited on Twitter for further details and updates.