Sunday, March 10, 2013

Says He'll Keep It Going

So Rhythm and Hues WON'T be going away?

David Shim is managing partner of JS Communications, which got approval from the courts Friday for a “stalking horse” bid for the bankrupt visual effects firm.

“I have no intention to liquidate,” he told Variety. “Far from it. Rhythm & Hues should be taken care of. It’s in the common interest of the motion picture industry to support it for its skillset and what it can do for the industry going forward.

Shim said R&H’s problems were “the fault of the industry as a whole” but he added that the company’s financial management had been “a little lacking.” He has been onsite regularly at R&H’s offices and JSC appears to be the company’s preferred buyer in the upcoming bankruptcy auction. ...

A while ago, I was working for an animation company that was told by its foreign buyer that "production would continue" after the takeover. This was before the sale was finalized.

But whatayaknow? The second the ink was dry, the foreign purchaser (in this case, the French corporation L'Oreal) shut the twenty-six-year-old Filmation down faster than you can say "Zoot alors!" and a 140 animation employees were out of work. So the fact that a major suitor of Rhythm & Hues is making soothing noises now really "don't impress me much."

(But I guess we can always hope, can't we?)

The problem for the visual effects industry remains what it has been for two decades: Visual effects cannot flourish in a system that requires the studios that create those effects to low-ball their bids to get work, thereby cutting their own corporate throats.

And employees working at those studios cannot survive when they have long stretches of unemployment, no stable pension or health plans, and no assurances that the work they are doing today will still be around five months from now, and not (instead) in some Montreal sweat shop that may or may not make its next payroll.

Hard realties, heart-breaking realities. "Zoot alors!" indeed.


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