Visual Effects Protest To Return To This Year's Academy Awards
One of the biggest controversy's surrounding last year's Academy Award ceremony came due to the on-going battle that visual effects houses are fighting in Hollywood. VFX artists have been protesting foreign tax subsidies that allow major movie studios to save money by hiring international post-production teams, and during last year's Oscars they came out in droves to make their voices heard in the industry. In 2014 they will once again be bringing that fight back to Hollywood's biggest night.
According to The Wrap, VFX artists and those that support the cause have been organizing a demonstration for this year's Academy Award show that they hope will allow their voices to be heard. Being dubbed the March in March, the protest is being organized by the website VFXSoldier among others, and a Facebook page started for the event says that at least 147 people will be in attendance. Speaking with The Wrap, VFXSoldier writer Daniel Lay said, "We’re trying to focus on the destructive impact of the subsidies race. We want to broaden it to include musicians and grips and others who are being drastically effected. It’s great that there’s an Oscar party going on, but a lot of us are being hurt by this subsidy."
In addition to looking for a way to end foreign tax subsidies, the organizers are also currently searching for a legal means to impose tariffs on any film that benefits from those subsidies. A study has been conducted by the Washington D.C. law firm Picard, Kentz & Rowe that says that there is precedence for "countervailing duties" being applied to various products in cases where domestic industries are hurt by foreign tax incentives.The Wrap says that a group called ADAPT (Association of Digital Artists, Professionals and Technicians) has been formed that will "continue to explore a legal recourse" in this area.
Hopefully this year we will actually get to see this protest have an effect on the actual Academy Awards ceremony. Ang Lee was criticized for not drawing attention to the protest last year when he won the Best Director award for the CGI-heavy Life of Pi, and even more strife was caused when the Life of Pi VFX team was played off the stage by the pit orchestra while trying to talk about the important industry issue during their acceptance speech for Best Achievement in Visual Effects:
Given how incredibly important visual effects have become in Hollywood today, we hope that this situation is eventually resolved with some of the industry's greatest artists getting what they deserve in a fair competitive environment. You can get more information about the protest on the VFXSoldier blog and Facebook.
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