“Life After Pi” Wins Documentary Award

by Graham Edwards

Life After Pi Main Title

Life After Pi has won the award for Best Documentary Short Film at the 30th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Directed by Scott Leberecht and produced by Christina Lee Storm, the film chronicles the collapse of the visual effects studio Rhythm & Hues Studios in 2013. In a bitter twist of irony, even as news of the collapse was breaking, Rhythm and Hues won the Academy Award for its VFX work on Ang Lee’s Life of Pi.

Here’s what Cinefex founder, Don Shay, had to say about the film:

“Frank, but not inflammatory, Life After Pi takes us behind the scenes of the ironically-timed demise of Rhythm & Hues, and puts a very human face on an industry-wide tragedy that finds award-winning visual effects companies struggling to survive and talented effects artists leading migrant lives in search of gainful employment – all in crucial support of movies that make billions at the boxoffice.”

Speaking about the documentary’s award win, Leberecht said:

“As a twenty-year veteran of the visual effects industry, I am very happy that our film is being acknowledged and seen by so many. I carry a deep sense of gratitude for the brave individuals who participated in the film and went on record. For a brief moment, we broke through the culture of fear. My hope is that the conversation continues.”

Storm added:

“It’s a bittersweet win. We’re proud to have earned this recognition, but we’re also mindful of the human impact the events had upon the people featured in the movie, our co-workers and friends. We hope the film continues to shine a light and contribute to a better business model for all concerned in the film industry.”

Storm and Leberecht are currently developing a feature length documentary exploring the industry’s transition from optical to digital techniques in movie special effects. You can learn more about this – and Life After Pi – at the Hollywood Ending website.