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More Than 400 'Life of Pi' Visual Effects Artists Protested The Oscars


Bill Westenhofer oscars 2013

"Life of Pi" may have been a big Oscar winner Sunday night, but those responsible for bringing the CGI-filled film to life aren't celebrating.  

During one of the oddest moments of the awards, VFX supervisor Bill Westenhofer was played off the Oscar stage to the "Jaws" theme while accepting his award for "Life of Pi." 

The gesture came off overtly rude to critics and VFX artists considering Westenhofer was only 45 seconds into his speech.  

The average speech of the past decade has clocked in at closer to two minutes.  

The "Jaws" music began playing during his mention of Rhythm & Hues VFX studio.  

Rhythm & Hues is the studio responsible for bringing the CGI-filled "Life of Pi" to the big screen. It took 600 of its artists to animate Bengal tiger, Richard Parker, in the film.  

It's also known for its work on "Snow White And The Huntsman" and bringing a pig to life in "Babe." 

Earlier this month, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and laid off more than 200 employees without pay. 

It's not the first VFX company to have trouble in the past few months. 

Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG), the company responsible for helping to bring "Titanic" to life on the big screen, filed for bankruptcy back in September. They were soon bought for $37 million by Beijin's Galloping Horse and Mumbai-based Reliance Capital. 

Later in the press room, Westenhofer said he was trying to address a bigger issue on stage regarding the importance of VHX in films. 

"It’s ironic that when visual effects are dominating the box office, visual effects are struggling," said Westenhofer. "We’re artists, and if we don’t fix the business model we may lose something.” 

Earlier in the day, while the primary focus during the Oscars was on the red carpet, not far off, more than 400 VFX professionals protested the event. 

Called the "Piece of Pi" protest, plan, protestors held signs with slogans including "End The Subsidies War" and the one below: 

life of pi protest

VFX artist Todd Vaziri created two images showing how the film would look without its special effects. Here's one of them:


life of pi vfx

The image quickly caught on and began spreading around the Internet, and has inspired more artists to illustrate visuals conveying a similar message.

life of pi protest

Now the band of artists are calling for a possible world wide walk out of VFX professionals on March 14—known as "Life of Pi Day."  

Among the four awards for "Life of Pi" Oscar night, two of them were for Cinematography and Visual Effects.  

Worldwide, the film has grossed more than $583 million

Are you a VFX artist? We want to hear what you have to say. Send an email to kacuna@businessinsider.com

SEE ALSO: Harvey Weinstein called in a few favors from his friends in the White House >

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