President Obama is due to visit the Glendale campus of DreamWorks Animation tomorrow – November 26 – where he is expected to deliver a speech hailing filmmaking as an American success story. Visual effects artists, frustrated by the current state of the industry, are planning to stage a protest at the event. Protestors will wear green T-shirts, the “greenscreen” colour representing what a film looks like without visual effects.
A key issue for the protestors is subsidies. In recent years, economic incentives have seen not only artists but whole facilities moving around the world in search of favourable conditions in which to work. Currently, companies in Canada and the United Kingdom, for example, are enjoying a boom period while their counterparts in California are struggling to compete – or indeed survive. For some visual effects artists, a nomadic existence has become a way of life.
We at Cinefex believe in fair play. That’s why our magazine articles never pass judgement on a film, but simply report on the hard work that went into putting it on the screen. In that spirit, we wish our friends in the visual effects industry worldwide every success in their continued mission to create a level playing field. If everyone competes by the same rules, we all get to enjoy a better game.