Visual Effects Artists

Ang Lee Criticized By Visual Effects Artists On Facebook

Award-winning director Ang Lee has been criticized by two visual effects artists on Facebook.

During his acceptance speech after winning Best Director for Life of Pi at the 85th Annual Academy Awards, Lee reportedly failed to acknowledge the work of his visual effects team. This has not settled well with people who work in the field.

Bruce Branit is one of the visual effects artists who isn’t overly impressed with the fact that Lee and cinematographer Claudio Miranda failed to give kudos to the team that brought the film’s numerous special effects shots to life on the big screen.

Branit wrote on Facebook:

“Neither Ang nor his winning cinematographer, Claudio Miranda felt they needed to thank or even mention the VFX artists who made the sky, the ocean, the ship, the island, the meerkats and oh yeah … the tiger. Ang thanked the crew, the actors, his agent, his lawyer and the entire country of Taiwan right down to the team that built the wave-pool on the soundstage where ‘Pi’ was shot. But failed to mention 100s of artists who made not only the main character of the tiger, but replaced that pool, making it look like a real ocean for 80 percent of his movie.”

Ang Lee

Ang Lee addressed the fact that Rhythm & Hues, the team responsible for Life of Pi’s visual effects, is currently having some financial trouble after the show. He said he wished the FX work was “cheaper and not a tough business” since it was hard for effects houses to make money.

These comments did not settle well with visual effects artist Phillip Broste. He addressed the director’s comments in an open letter on Facebook. Film School Rejects posted the correspondence in its entirety on its website.

Broste said in his online letter:

“Mr. Lee, I do believe that you are a thoughtful and brilliant man. And a gifted filmmaker. But I also believe that you and everyone in your tier of our business is fabulously ignorant to the pain and turmoil you are putting artists through. Our employers scramble to chase illegal film subsidies across the globe at the behest of the film studios. Those same subsidies raise overhead, distort the market, and cause wage stagnation in what are already trying economic times. Your VFX are already cheaper than they should be. It is disheartening to see how blissfully unaware of this fact you truly are.”

Are you a fan of Ang Lee? How do you feel about the director failing to acknowledge the people who worked hard to bring his award-winning film Life of Pi to life?