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R&H Taiwan studio to open by late March: manager (update)

2013/02/28 10:52:11

Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) Rhythm & Hues Studios Inc. (R&H) will open its new facility in southern Taiwan by the end of March, even though its U.S. headquarters filed for court protection two weeks ago, a local executive said Wednesday.

Plans to open a new studio in Kaohsiung remain unaffected, despite reports that the award-winning visual effects company is facing financial difficulties, said Mike Yang, manager of Rhythm & Hues Studios Taiwan Co.

The two-story, 2,640 square-meter facility in Kaohsiung, now in the final stage of construction, will offer space to over 200 local and foreign artists and instructors over the next five years, Yang told CNA.

"Actually, all the studios, including in Los Angeles and at four other locations, are operating," Yang said, adding that the studios are currently working on post-production for three Hollywood movies.

Further, Yang expressed confidence in the capability of the California-based company, saying that over 10 parties have expressed interest in merging or acquiring it.

At present, R&H has a globally distributed production infrastructure with studios in Mumbai and Hyderabad, India, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Vancouver, Canada.

R&H, Yang added, is turning its focus to developing or expanding studios in Canada and Southeast Asian countries, which either provide seductive tax incentives or cheap labor.

"I'm sure we can get through the difficulties, as we are still one of the tops in this industry," the executive said. "Winning an Oscar just proved that."

R&H won this year’s Best Visual Effects Oscar for the 3-D movie Life of Pi. However, outside the award ceremony over 400 visual effects artists protested against cost-cutting trends in the industry.

Yang said all visual effects companies are facing the same problems worldwide.

He blamed the outsourcing of post-production film work on certain countries providing huge tax credits, saying that post-production companies that do not have studios in those nations could face higher costs.

Canada, for example, provides credits ranging from 16 to 60 percent for Canadian labor and production costs, he noted.

"It is the movie studios that are benefiting (from the policies), not the visual effects companies," he noted.

(By James Lee)