Filaments Visual Effects, another feather in the India hat

Think VFX in India and the recall is Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore etc, But did one know of a VFX studio in Patna ? That too working and delivering high quality FX work for International projects? Well, that’s the beauty of the Indian CG scenario, while quite a few studios are high profile and media savvy, there’s always some studio working quietly in the corners waiting to surprise. Headquartered in California with a production facility in Patna, Filaments Visual Effects has been working on International projects since the past two years. The studio is founded by Director/ VFX Superviser Amit Dharwal and FX producer Justine Whitehead. Speaking to Animation, the founder duo of Filaments, Justine and Amit shared, “Since the time we were founded until now, we have participated in four major projects from our India facility, these include Hollywood feature films, “The Legend of Zorro”, “Racing Stripes,” and “Dungeon Siege, which is which s currently in production. We also have worked on the Emmy Award winning mini series ‘ The Triangle’, as well as a few MTV music videos and several television commercials.” “We started with 4 people in the beginning phase of setting up the studio in India. I felt strongly that in order to achieve the quality of work that is absolutely necessary for Hollywood standards; we needed a very well trained team, no matter what the size should be. We mainly focused on the right talent with lots of planning. We started to do the research and development and to experiment with the work flow. We struggled for about a year to hand-train a few very good people, and once we had a strong team, and were delivering consistent, ‘A’ grade work, we started to carefully hire and train more people.” “We now have a small team of 15 people for production. This consists of 2D/3D artists, compositors and creative leads. We also have a division for research and development and some people in the management team” he further added. A fine arts and computer arts graduate from India Amit first met Justine a CAL Arts graduate in 96 where both were involved in a digital restoration and colorization project. Later, Amit moved to the US where he studied further on VFX and film. He was constantly in touch with Justine and the duo, both of whom had experienced the great talent potential in India decided to start their own studio with operations in the states as well as India. “Thanks to the high speed internet and satellite services, the long distance business between USA and India was possible in a fraction of a second. The world going global and the enormous talent in India are of course the main ingredients of this business” commented Amit. On being asked the difference between FX in India and US, the duo commented, “‘Patience’ is the keyword and that’s what differentiates USA from India. Visual effects work is tedious and needs lots of patience. Hollywood feature films are big budget films. Producers can afford to work on VFX shots for months until they get the right look. Opposite to that, most of Indian films are made in a fairly short period of time and they do not require VFX that often. If they do, they probably want to get the VFX shots done quicker as well. This has changed a lot in the past couple of years in India which is great news. We are hoping to see more VFX based films from India and that would mean more budding artists eager to work in the industry. As far as talent goes, I think people are more talented in India compared to USA. The reason I say that is because if you see the history of visual effects in Hollywood, it goes back to the days of the 1970’s when films like Star Wars were made. India has just started doing VFX in the past few years and is already doing Hollywood quality work. Some good examples are Main Hoon Na, Koi Mil Gaya and Krrish etc. India still needs to work on the quality a little but that again depends on each project and if they get enough time to work on the VFX part. Of course budget is a major factor of what is being produced. Hopefully, Indian film producers will realize that VFX can save them a lot of time and money and they can figure a budget out for post production/VFX work for their films” Besides Dungeon of Seige, other projects which the studio is currently involved in include Hood of Horror, Across the Universe. The studio also has plans to have a separate training division, a school of film and visual effects that would be available for young budding talents. “We are working on being affiliated with a California based institution. We do not have a time frame of when this would happen at this point but will make an official announcement as soon as we have the green signal” shared Amit. “It took us 2 years to develop the VFX house in India – but could have taken longer in any other country” concluded the duo.