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Visual Effects Controversy Results in Calls to Action Including a VFX Congress

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VES OPEN LETTER – CALL TO ACTION 

In light of current events, the Visual Effects Society (VES), an honorary body comprised of the very best visual effects artists around the world, today issues two calls to action:

 First, we call upon Governor Brown and the State Legislature to immediately expand its tax incentive program for the entertainment industry and to include a focused approach concentrated on the visual effects and post production sectors of the industry.  

Secondly, because we have reached a tipping point for the visual effects industry and there is much pent up energy, anger and frustration right now, the VES, under its good offices, is organizing a VFX Congress to take place within the next few weeks to allow all artists from around the world to share their concerns to find common ground on the issues that face us today. It is hoped that this effort will lead to a number of direct follow up actions that will gain consensus from visual effects artists everywhere.  Everyone is invited and should attend. 

As has become all too apparent over the past few years, and especially in the past few weeks regarding the status of Rhythm & Hues, Digital Domain, DreamWorks, and other visual effects facilities, the future for professionals who work in the visual effects industry – and the entertainment industry at large  – in California is in serious jeopardy. 

We certainly recognize that we live in a global economy and in fact, VES has members in 30 countries around the world. Many of those countries – and many states elsewhere in the US – offer aggressive tax incentives – which seek to lure visual effects work to their communities and away from our state. While California finally created a tax incentive program in 2009 (AB1069, Chapter 731, which was recently extended it to 2017), it is woefully inadequate to the needs of today's entertainment industry. In effect, thousands of talented visual effects artists are joining the unemployment lines or becoming "migrant film workers", chasing the work outside our borders because that's where the jobs have been going and are still going. 

The amazing irony is that while 47 of the top 50 films of all time[1] are visual effects driven and billions of dollars of profits are generated yearly, the actual people who create the work are becoming an endangered species in California. In short, Hollywood, the birthplace of all this art and commerce, is quickly becoming the land where creative dreams die on the vine and pink slips for dispossessed artists are being issued at an alarming rate.  

We know that there are some out there who are calling for the elimination of all subsidies & tax incentives everywhere around the world. We think that's a great idea and if there were a magic button that could be pressed to make that a reality, we would press it in a nanosecond. Why? Because California can compete with anyone, anywhere if there's a level playing field.  

But in today's global economy, where many hundreds of localities around the world are feverishly devising new ways to make California's piece of the entertainment pie smaller, the fact that California's program doesn't meet it's current needs (it only allocates $100 million yearly … which meets the needs of only about 20% of the work that would stay in California otherwise. For comparison purposes, New York caps its program at $420 million yearly and both Louisiana and Georgia are uncapped in the amount of incentives they offer), and is recklessly negligent to the thousands of visual effects professionals who are daily losing their jobs to other locales around the world. This not only hurts those artists, but also California's economy because thousands of good paying jobs wind up buttressing the economies of states and countries elsewhere and the technological advances that otherwise would be birthed in California are now taking root elsewhere. 

According to a Milken Institute report from July 2010, commenting on the changing entertainment industry economy in California since 2008, their "research shows that if California had managed to retain the 40 percent share of North American employment it once enjoyed, 10,600 direct jobs would have been preserved here in 2008. Furthermore, those direct jobs would have had broader economic impact, generating an additional 25,500 jobs after rippling through other sectors. If the state had maintained its former level of dominance, a total of 36,000 jobs would have been saved, generating $2.4 billion in wages and $4.2 billion in output." 

But until such time as all tax incentives everywhere are a thing of the past, California will need to take action- right now – or we'll lose many thousands more jobs and Hollywood will soon be the equivalent of an empty storefront. 

 If you support this call to action for a larger incentive program in California that matches the needs of filmmakers and would keep jobs here, then send letters to our state lawmakers that urges them to get to work immediately to increase our incentive program. See the sample letter below.

 Additionally, for the benefit of our membership and visual effects professionals worldwide, we will work with our global VES Sections and others to promote a healthy and vibrant visual effects industry in every country where visual effects are created.  It is for all of our worldwide colleagues – here in California and everywhere else – that we hope a VFX Congress can bring us all together in a truly meaningful way. Details of when and where the Congress will take place will be forthcoming. Together we can make amazing things happen.  

As always, feel free to send us your comments at leadership@visualeffectssociety.com

Respectfully, 

Eric Roth

Executive Director

Visual Effects Society

———————–

 

SAMPLE LETTER TO GOVERNOR BROWN AND THE CA STATE LEGISLATURE

Snail Mail is Strongly Recommended – It Gets Noticed Much More

 

(All have the same address at the State Capitol in Sacramento)

  

Governor Jerry Brown

Assembly Speaker John Pérez

Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg

 

Senator Ron Calderon, Chair

Select Committee on California's Film and Television Industries

 

Assembly Member Ian C. Calderon, Chair

Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media

 

To Find Your Own Assembly member and State Senator, go to: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/legislators_and_districts/legislators/your_legislator.html

State Capitol

Sacramento, CA  95814

Dear: 

As has become all too apparent over the past few years, and especially in the past few months with the bankruptcy and dislocations of  highly respected visual effects houses, the future for professionals who work in the visual effects industry – and the entertainment industry at large in California – is in serious jeopardy.  This is particularly ironic in light of the great success of Ang Lee's Life of Pi, this year's Oscar winner for visual effects whose work was primarily created at Rhythm & Hues, a visual effects company that just declared bankruptcy.  

With the above in mind, I am calling upon you to immediately expand the tax incentive program for the entertainment industry, and to create a more focused approach concentrated on the visual effects and post-production sectors of the industry.  

Because we live in a global economy, many foreign countries and other US states are trying to lure visual effects work to their communities by offering incentives in a much more aggressive way than California does. While California created a tax incentive program in 2009 (AB1069, Chapter 731, which was recently extended it to 2017), we need to do much more to meet the needs of today's entertainment industry here in California.  

Thousands of amazing visual effects artists are becoming "migrant film workers" who either join the unemployment lines or get on airplanes to chase work outside our borders because that's where the jobs are going.  The most amazing irony is that while 47 of the top 50 films of all time are visual effects driven (http://www.imdb.com/boxoffice/alltimegross), and billions of dollars of profits are generated yearly, the real people who actually create the work are becoming an endangered species in California. 

If all the tax incentives everywhere around the nation and the world were eliminated tomorrow, California could compete with – and beat – anyone, anywhere if there's a level playing field. California's economy is not reaching its full potential because thousands of good paying jobs are leaving our state which winds up buttressing the economies of states and countries elsewhere.

 California leaders need to take action – right now – or we'll lose many thousands more jobs, and Hollywood will soon be the equivalent of an empty storefront, all green screens and no magic left to film in front of it.  I therefore urge you to expand California's entertainment incentive program to keep our work here in our home state.  Thank you for your time and kind consideration.

 Respectfully, 

Your Name


[1] http://www.imdb.com/boxoffice/alltimegross

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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Disney’s New Trailer Reveals How Ralph & Vanellope Get to the Internet in “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2”

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Wreck-It Ralph 2

When “Wreck-It Ralph” opened on Nov. 2, 2012, it turned in the highest opening weekend ever for a Walt Disney Animation Studios film at the time of release. Now Disney is hoping Ralph will not only break the Internet but the 2018 Thanksgiving boxoffice records as well.

The film re-teams the original director, producer and co-writer behind “Wreck-It Ralph.”  The screenplay is currently being written by Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon. Director Rich Moore, producer Clark Spencer, and co-writer Phil Johnston partnered with fellow director Byron Howard and co-writer/co-director Jared Bush to create the Academy Award®-winning blockbuster feature “Zootopia.”

ROYAL REUNION – In “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2,” Vanellope von Schweetz-along with her best friend Ralph-ventures into the uncharted world of the internet. When she finds herself surrounded by Disney princesses, she’s surprised to learn that she actually has a lot in common with them. The scene, highlighted in a new trailer for the film (below), features several of the original princess voices, including Auli’i Cravalho (“Moana”), Kristen Bell (Anna in “Frozen”), Idina Menzel (Elsa in “Frozen”), Kelly MacDonald (Merida in “Brave”), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel in “Tangled”), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana in “The Princess and the Frog”), Ming-Na Wen (“Mulan”), Irene Bedard (“Pocahontas”), Linda Larkin (Jasmine in “Aladdin”), Paige O’Hara (Belle in “Beauty and the Beast”) and Jodi Benson (Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”). Featuring Sarah Silverman as the voice of Vanellope, “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2” opens in theaters nationwide Nov. 21, 2018. 

 

“RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2”

WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS

https://disney.com/ralphbreakstheinternet

https://www.youtube.com/user/disneyanimation

https://www.facebook.com/WreckItRalph/

https://twitter.com/wreckitralph

https://www.instagram.com/wreckitralph/

 

U.S. Release Date:  Nov. 21, 2018

Voice cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk

Directors: Rich Moore, Phil Johnston

Producer: Clark Spencer

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Film & Movies

Marvel Fans: See Props, Costumes, New Games, Exclusive Content and More at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2017 in Anaheim

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MARVEL ANNOUNCES EPIC EXPERIENCES FOR FANS AT DISNEY’S D23 EXPO 2017 IN ANAHEIM, JULY 14-16

  

BURBANKCalif. (June 1, 2017) – Marvel will make its way to D23 Expo’s show floor from July 14­-16 with an exciting look at its upcoming film titles in the Marvel Studios Pavilion, featuring an array of props and costumes from the Studios’ upcoming slate, including Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and more.

In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, in theaters November 2017, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok-the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization-at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela., played by Cate Blanchette. 

But first he must survive the Grandmaster’s gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger-the Incredible Hulk. 

Fans will get an up-close look at the costumes and props from this highly anticipated movie as well as photo opportunities with exclusive set pieces from the film. 

The incredible costumes from Black Panther will also be on display. 

Black Panther follows the journey of T’Challa after the events of Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Civil War,where he returns to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. 

In addition to the exciting props and costumes on display, Marvel Studios will host multiple giveaways and events within its pavilion space in Hall B.

Fans will get the chance to meet with Marvel Studios’ filmmakers, development team, and talent. Exclusive artwork will be given away daily, along with other surprises. Details on talent appearances and special signings will be made available on the D23 Expo app.

Fans will also be able to enjoy all-new console and mobile Marvel Games, plus incredible exclusive content and announcements throughout the weekend!

For the first time at D23 Expo, guests will be able to get their hands on the hottest new console and mobile games featuring favorite Marvel Super Heroes, playing as the world-famous Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, and more! 

LEGO®Marvel Super Heroes 2 is an all-new, original adventure and sequel to the smash hit LEGO®Marvel Super Heroes.Bringing together iconic Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains from different eras and realities, along with signature LEGO humor,the latest epic adventure from TT Games transports players into a cosmic battle across myriad Marvel locations ripped from time and space into the incredible open hub world of Chronopolis.

Adding to the infinite excitement of D23 Expo, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite will offer attendees hands-on opportunities with the next era of the highly revered action-fighting game series. 

Marvel and Capcom universes collide like never before as iconic characters team up for action-packed player-versus-player combat. 

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite features a variety of exciting and accessible single-player modes and rich multi-player content for new players and longtime fans alike and will be released on September 19, 2017, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Gazillion will offer a chance to play Marvel Heroes Omega and win fantastic prizes.

Marvel Heroes Omega combines the core gameplay style of Action-RPGs and MMOs with an expansive library of heroes from the Marvel Universe. With thousands of hours of character progression and rewards,Marvel Heroes Omegacomes packed with tons of replay value and a steady stream of new challenges with regular updates.

Netmarble is bringing its best to D23 Expo with MARVEL: Future Fight.

Featuring 120 Marvel Super Heroes to choose from, players create teams of their favorites to fight for their future. D23 Expo attendees can try their hand at saving the universe.

Marvel Puzzle Quest is where the best in match-3 puzzle gameplay meets Marvel’s biggest Super Heroes and Super Villains in the most epic puzzle adventure game available on your phone, tablet, and PC.

Marvel Puzzle Questcombines favorite Marvel characters with deep RPG leveling, player-versus-player tournaments, Alliances, and much more. Guests can unleash their inner Super Hero and wage war against their enemies. Learn more atwww.marvelpuzzlequest.com.

Marvel will present incredible panels during D23 Expo, including the fan-favorite Cup o’ Joe on Friday, July 14, at 1:15 p.m. in the D23 Expo Arena, featuring Chief Creative Officer of Marvel, Joe Quesada, in a no-holds-barred panel of everything Marvel!

That same day at 6 p.m. on Stage 28, Marvel Animation presents a surprise-filled panel of sneak peeks, special guests, exclusive footage, and big announcements about the future of Marvel Animation on Stage 28. Details will be available on the D23 Expo app.

Tickets for D23 Expo 2017 are available for $81 for one-day adult admission and $59 forchildren 3-9. Membersof D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $72 for a one-day adult admission and $53 for children 3-9. Multi-day tickets are also available. 

For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2017, visit D23Expo.com.

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Shanghai To Host World Premiere Of Disney’s “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”

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First-ever Mainland China Hollywood Movie World Premiere Will Take Place at Shanghai Disney Resort with an

All-star Lineup of Special Guests on May 11

BURBANK, CALIF. (April 25, 2017)-Disney announced today that Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” will have its World Premiere in Shanghai, China, at Shanghai Disney Resort on Thursday, May 11, marking the first time a Hollywood movie will premiere in Mainland China. Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer plan to attend the gala event.

The red-carpet event will take place in Disneytown at Shanghai Disney Resort. After the red carpet, the “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” screening will be held in Walt Disney Grand Theatre at Disneytown. Shanghai Disney Resort is also home to Shanghai Disneyland, featuring Treasure Cove, the first pirate-themed land at a Disney park, inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. 

Premiere guests will enjoy a stunning presentation of the film in Dolby Vision laser projection and Dolby Atmos immersive audio provided by Dolby and delivered through QSC speakers and amplifiers with Q-SYS control at the Walt Disney Grand Theatre.

Samsung is the title sponsor of the World Premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” which will be released on May 26 in China, day and date with its release in the U.S.

About the Movie:

Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea-notably Jack. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.  

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” also stars Kevin R. McNally as Joshamee Gibbs,  Golshifteh Farahani as the sea-witch Shansa, David Wenham as Scarfield, Stephen Graham as Scrum, Orlando Bloom as Will Turner, and Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa.

Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg are directing “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” with Jerry Bruckheimer producing. The executive producers are Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, Joe Caracciolo, Jr., Terry Rossio and Brigham Taylor. The story is by Jeff Nathanson and Terry Rossio, and Jeff Nathanson wrote the screenplay. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” drops anchor in U.S. theaters on May 26, 2017.     

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