Rhythm & Hues Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Life of Pi 20th Century Fox
Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)

Despite Life of Pi being a big winner at the Academy Awards, visual effects artists were protesting, not celebrating

It may have been lauded for its work on the Oscar-winning Life of Pi, but the well-known visual-effects company Rhythm & Hues, which has an office in downtown Vancouver, has recently filed for protection from creditors under U.S.  bankruptcy law.

As U.K.’s the  Guardian reported on Monday, some 400 protesters hit Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony after the news of the firm’s issues. VFX superviser Bill Westenhofer was even played off the stage, Business Insider reports, during his mention of Rhythm & Hues, a VFX studio.

Totalling 1,600 employees worldwide, there were approximately 125 jobs in the Rhythm & Hues offices on Georgia Street. According to the Los Angeles Times there will be some 200 job losses from the California-headquartered company that started in 1987. The Vancouver office confirmed that some of its workforce will be affected, though no figure has been released.

Opening in August 2011, the Vancouver office was one of more than a dozen visual-effects and animation studios to have sprung up in B.C. over the past two years.

Despite the uncertainty, Nancy Mott, former chair of the Visual Effects Society in Vancouver, believes new partners will be found to keep Rhythm & Hues in business.

“It’s a time of transition for Rhythm & Hues, and we anticipate that going through this process they will come out stronger,” she adds. “It’s still a time and rapid growth in this sector in Vancouver, so those people who have lost their jobs at Rhythm & Hues will find work in Vancouver.”

Rhythm & Hues also created effects for Kristen Stewart’s Snow White and the Huntsman and recently scooped four Visual Effects Society Awards. Vancouver is currently working on the effects for the film, R.I.P.D., which is starring Ryan Reynolds and based on the comic book Rest In Peace Department.

A spokesperson for Rhythm & Hues says, “We are still operating and in production on the shows in house.”