Visual Effects House Rhythm & Hues Sold to Prana Studios Affiliate
In what is hopefully a step forward towards calming the turmoil in the visual effects industry, Rhythm & Hues, the effects house behind Life of Pi, had acquired a new owner in a bankruptcy auction last week. Founded in 1987, Rhythm & Hues has been a powerhouse Hollywood digital effects studio for many years, but encountered trouble when a deal fell apart in 2013 and they went bankrupt, leaving hundreds of angry employees waiting for a paycheck. Many of them protested the Oscars this year and started the green avatar movement. Rhythm & Hues has been sold to a holding company that also owns VFX house Prana Studios.
While news about the sale of Prana Studios, with offices in Mumbai, India and Los Angeles, was "delayed" due to a legal hold-up regarding approval, a press release was issued as confirmation. "Our partnership will allow R&H to continue the business of creating world-class digital imagery," said Jeffrey A. Okun, Senior VP, VFX, Prana Studios. "While remaining a stand-alone company focusing on cutting-edge visual effects and innovative technology, R&H will be complimented by Prana's world-class long-form animation. Our complimentary talents and relationships will create a new, best-in-class one-stop boutique provider of digital imagery to clients globally. With the additional support of our strong investor group, we are confident R&H will continue to be the innovative quality leader in our field that they’ve been for 30 years."
This seems to be a mutual partnership that should benefit both effects studios and the entire industry, but we have yet to see how things shape up in the VFX industry from here. On Friday, March 29th, 2013, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Neil Bason approved Prana affiliate, 34x118 Holdings Inc., as the winner after a two-day auction. "This is a positive outcome to a difficult situation," said Lee Berger, Rhythm & Hues President, "and we are thrilled to be able to put this process behind us. We are grateful for Prana's support as well as the support of their investor group, and are excited to begin the next chapter of R&H’s history."
R&H is a global production powerhouse for the creation of visual effects and animation for Hollywood films. Among its 145 screen credits are Life of Pi, The Golden Compass and Babe, Academy Award winners for Achievement in Visual Effects, (in 2012, 2008, and 1995 respectively). R&H is also the recipient of four Scientific and Technical Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). With headquarters in El Segundo, California, and additional facilities in Mumbai & Hyderabad India; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Vancouver, Canada; and Kaohsiung, Taiwan - R&H Films offers filmmakers a dynamic creative resource with a vast array of technology and talent. For more info, visit Rhythm & Hues or Prana.