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Visual effects company Moving Picture Company (MPC) has shut down its Vancouver studio with immediate effect, leaving its staff unemployed with seemingly little warning. The studio played a substantial part in the redesign of Sonic for the forthcoming Sonic The Hedgehog movie, after Paramount received criticism after the release of the first trailer.
MPC has worked on many huge movies, including The Lion King, Blade Runner 2049 and Guardians of the Galaxy. At one point the Vancouver studio employed more than 800 people. According to Cartoon Brew, the current staff were told the studio was closing with immediate effect in a meeting yesterday. Apparently, "increasing external market pressures in Vancouver and more attractive opportunities in other locations" were given as reasons for closing the studio.
MPC has multiple VFX studios elsewhere - such as Montreal, Paris and Toronto - and there are rumours that staff at other studios are being let go, even if the studios themselves will remain open.
What's particularly painful about this news is the fact that the Vancouver studio had recently worked on two major projects, The Lion King and Sonic The Hedgehog - one of which, at least, had a demanding deadline. Someone claiming to be an ex-employee has taken to Reddit to share their account of the past year:
"We've all put in extreme hours wrapping two infamous projects in the last couple of months. We've done multiple weeks without a day off, regular 17-plus hour shifts to the point that most of us are seriously sleep deprived and are suffering still. We've worked really f*cking hard to get this work out the door for MPC, and I'm genuinely ashamed that they are happier prioritising their profit margins and tax incentives over the insane talent and commitment of hundreds of dedicated VFX artists in Vancouver. I honestly feel insulted, like I've given MPC my all and in return they gave me the finger."
And, in a later post:
"Very rarely were people doing less than 10 hours in a day. If you wanted to leave after your eight hours, you had to ask permission to go home. Didn't want to work OT at the weekend? You had to give a satisfactory reason as to why you couldn't do it or they'd label it an unauthorized absence."
We've contacted MPC for comment and will update this post if they respond.
Featured Image Credit: Paramount Pictures
Topics: Sonic The Hedgehog
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