Visual effects artists will wear green during Obama’s L.A. visit

President Obama, shown speaking at the White House, is scheduled to visit Los Angeles next week.
President Obama, shown speaking at the White House, is scheduled to visit Los Angeles next week.
(Michael Reynolds / EPA)

Visual effects artists are planning to show their colors next week when President Obama visits DreamWorks Animation SKG.

Hundreds of visual effects artists who work at the Glendale studio are expected to wear green T-shirts to draw attention to the plight of their industry when Obama visits the campus Tuesday as part of a fundraising trip to the West Coast.

At least that’s the plan of a group of visual effects workers who have been trying to combat the effect of tax breaks and foreign subsidies on California’s beleaguered visual effects industry.


“We feel that if Obama gets up there and he sees everyone wearing green, he’s just going to say, ‘Why is everyone wearing green?’” said Dave Rand, a veteran visual effects artist. “We’re trying to draw attention to the subsidies that have emasculated almost all of the jobs for visual effects technicians in Los Angeles.”

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That message may be out of sync with one Obama is planning to deliver in his speech to DreamWorks employees and guests. A White House spokesman said Thursday that Obama’s speech would highlight how the “American motion picture and television industry is a growing industry and continues to create thousands of jobs all across the country.”

While Hollywood’s business expands worldwide, California’s visual effects industry has been under siege. Prominent local effects houses Digital Domain and Rhythm & Hues have laid off hundreds of high-tech workers in last two years. The companies, both of which filed for bankruptcy protection, have faced heavy losses from rivals in Vancouver, Canada, and other locations that offer film subsidies.

In all, about a dozen visual effects studios, many in California, have shut down or filed for bankruptcy in the last five years.

Tuesday’s protest is reminiscent of the “Pi Day” protest last year, when a similar group arranged to have a plane fly a banner over the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood during the red carpet Academy Awards pre-show to protest their circumstances and the struggles of Rhythm & Hues, which won an Oscar for its work on the Ang Lee movie “Life of Pi.”


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