LIFE AFTER PI - How Oscar-Winning VFX Studio Went Bankrupt (Full Documentary)

A new documentary, Life After Pi, has been released. It details the unfair business model that lead to visual effects company, Rhythm & Hues, filing for bankruptcy two weeks before they won an Oscar for their brilliant work on Ang Lee's Life of Pi. Check it out.

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By nailbiter111 - 2/26/2014


LIFE AFTER PI is a short documentary about Rhythm & Hues Studios, the L.A. based Visual Effects company that won an Academy Award for its groundbreaking work on "Life of Pi" -- just two weeks after declaring bankruptcy. The film explores rapidly changing forces impacting the global VFX community and the Film Industry as a whole.
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31 Comments
IAmDavid13 - 2/26/2014, 12:24 AM
Wow, I've always wondered what happened after they declared bankruptcy, too bad they got [frick]ed by Hollywood, they preformed their jobs mmarvelously. Thx for posting this.
Humperdink - 2/26/2014, 12:41 AM
Oh this is nothing.
I love the scam Hollywood uses to keep from paying residuals.

Hey did you know that according to Lucas and the numbers Return of the Jedi never made any profit?

Greed and sleaze rule in the land of Holly Wood.


Brainiac13 - 2/26/2014, 1:01 AM
Its really sad when you see the evil/darkside of Hollywood.

Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and WETA are the only ones I see surviving in the future.

@Humperdink

Return of the Jedi

Budget $32.5 million
Box office $475,106,177

And you can add merchandise on top of that........Yeah its Bullshit from Lucas.
Jollem - 2/26/2014, 1:14 AM
large businesses and the money game are all about frats and buddy systems
batzack - 2/26/2014, 1:15 AM
Wow that's eye opening stuff. Great documentary thanks for posting
Jollem - 2/26/2014, 1:57 AM
surprised i didn't see anything about life of pi 2 on this site

EXODUZ - 2/26/2014, 1:59 AM
This is why I hate it when people talk about crappy CGI.. like its the artists fault they're overworked and underpaid and can't work to their best ability
Humperdink - 2/26/2014, 2:04 AM
@Jollem

You know it.
RaxNibune - 2/26/2014, 2:09 AM
Just crazy, I wonder how much of this is parallel to the company Digital Domain which went belly up too
Jollem - 2/26/2014, 2:17 AM
Jollem - 2/26/2014, 2:19 AM
@Humperdink - tho, things like the internet are great because doodlists like yourself can put their artstuffs up for people to see without having to be part of any corporate function
DEATHbyEXILE - 2/26/2014, 2:40 AM
JordanKing - 2/26/2014, 2:49 AM
EXODUZ - 2/26/2014, 2:56 AM
@Jollem, sure you can put your stuff up, but unless you find a way to monetise it, it'll be nothing more than a hobby. And the VFX artists in the industry have spent years honing their craft, they aren't your regular hobbyists...
Jollem - 2/26/2014, 3:05 AM
@EXODUZ - true. that's if someone is looking to get paid, tho. i just think it's great that there are so many avenues for people to share their artstuffs. no restrictions. no having to suck up or be part of a machine. and the only difference between an artist and a professional artist is that the latter gets paid :)
Enphlieuwince - 2/26/2014, 3:56 AM
How 'bout a summary for those who don't have 30 minutes?
Newbus - 2/26/2014, 4:21 AM
And it was Return of the Jedi that made me want to go into visual FX...but that never happened.

Strangely CGI is suppose to be cheaper than practical effects...
Newbus - 2/26/2014, 4:30 AM
Enphlieuwince - "How 'bout a summary for those who don't have 30 minutes?"

Only watched the first 7 minutes but they state their business models was flawed. They get a set amount of budget from. If the project over runs or somethings changes then they have to pay FX artists out of their own pocket.
Newbus - 2/26/2014, 4:55 AM
Great documentary. No imagine a CBM with no visual effects - it could happen.
HavocPrime - 2/26/2014, 4:59 AM
Brilliant documentary and such a shame to see a great VFX go down like that.

Also surprised they didn't mention that Ang Lee complained about how much they were paying for the VFX.
QuestiontheAnswer - 2/26/2014, 5:40 AM
@NewBus Would have to be a non-powered vigilante.
shadearts - 2/26/2014, 5:59 AM
I was Majoring in Graphic design new Media so when people complain about crappy cgi they have no idea the work and time put in. computer animation programs are always crashing its expensive and very time consuming the artist working on the cgi are ask to be directors and creative the folks who do the work deserve the money they ask for but the sad thing is Movie Studios would whether go cheap and start sending the jobs overseas for cheaper price. The Simpsons isnt even made in the USA anymore its made in India. I believe even now my college got rid of the New Media program.
DurtyTalynt - 2/26/2014, 6:10 AM
A while FOX said this is efx team they are using for DOFP. Look it up. Guess thats why you are getting cheap 6 sec camera footage of hugh jackman screaming in an xmen movie for the 57th time and mystique sliding her wack ass across the floor again.
Pheezmatic - 2/26/2014, 7:13 AM
Seeing something like this really sickens me, especially as a enthusiastic paying movie-goer. Knowing how much these movies make domestically and worldwide, it really disgusts me to know that one of the main assets of movies today isn't getting the appreciation it deserves. Companies like this deserve to be supported in every way for their culture, creativity and services.
As a student of Computer Animation, who is about to graduate with a bachelor's degree, its sad to know that my skills, which I paid a lot of money for, will be under appreciated and underpaid for. Thankfully the video game industry has a sound foundation and is thriving more and more every decade...but Movies are my passion. Creating the unbelievable and having a viewer sit back and fully enjoy the visual experience is what really inspires me.
I hope hollywood comes to their senses and fully supports all the vfx companies (especially the smaller ones), to restructure the foundations by which they operate so that vfx can stay in the U.S. and vfx artists can properly get paid to do the beautiful work that they do.
DarkGrifter - 2/26/2014, 7:41 AM
I remember the VFX team tried to mention this during their acceptance speech but Macfarlane thought it would be funnier to interrupt them with music. Don't get me wrong, I like Seth but this just seemed like a bit of a dick-move on his part.

Pheezmatic - 2/26/2014, 8:47 AM
@DarkGrifter While it totally sounds like a SMcF move, I don't really think he had control over the sound engineering of the whole show...Usually shows like this are a pretty tight ship and they just had to cue music to make sure the show continues as planned. But the fact that they got less time than a lot of other winners to say their speech is just straight up HATING by the Oscars in general. Plus the protests outside the show probably weren't too welcome and this was their way of shutting them up. Despicable.
KidGoku - 2/26/2014, 8:56 AM
@DarkGrifter There's usually a time limit for certain categories during your acceptance speech, like during the Golden Globes there were so many times when they would start playing music during the speeches. Only because everything has to be according to plan. Usually the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Picture are the only ones without that time limit.
Jayman109 - 2/26/2014, 1:25 PM
If you don't like it, find a different profession. No sympathy here.
CrimsonFlash - 2/26/2014, 2:03 PM
The question people never ask themselves when they think Special effects people should profit share is "should the special effects companies also share in the losses?"

Sure Life of PI made money. It wold make sense they should share in the profit for that as they helped a great deal. But what about the special effects people who worked on john carter? Should they owe because the film did poorly? The studio takes all the risk so they get rewarded. If they needed more money they should charge more.

The real villians here are governments like california taxing these people out of town
fettastic - 2/26/2014, 11:20 PM
When watching so many behind the scenes docs on how big FX films are made, I would see directors constantly changing shit. I just assumed those changes were being paid for. Pretty shocking to discover that they were not.

And to think my lifelong dream was to be a SFX guy and I was just about to go train with [frick]ing Tom Savini (I would have actually made zombies for Land of the Dead), when the whole thing disintegrated at the last minute (my dad refused to co-sign the loan).

But now that I hear how [frick]ed up that business is (at least on the CGI end of it), maybe it was for the best.
fettastic - 2/26/2014, 11:23 PM
Personally I feel that Studios should not greenlight a film until they have a completed budget, which necessitates all SFX planned out and bid on.

If there are changes, they need to be billed to the studio per man-hour.

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