VFX artists agonise on social media over layoffs at Technicolor’s MPC

MUMBAI: As the world reels under the COVID2019 pandemic, and revenue flows have stopped because of the lockdowns everywhere, pink slips are being issued to staff by many organisations globally. The latest to do so – if one goes by tweets from former employees that are hitting the microblogging site Twitter – are Bengaluru-based MPC (which is under the Technicolor umbrella) and TraceFX which have allegedly laid off 400 VFX artists. Its move follows MPC Montreal’s decision to lay off a vast majority of its workforce.

AnimationXpress reached out to MPC representatives to get a better understanding of what was going on, but met with no success.The fact is that several affected employees have poured out their agony on social media expressing their concerns as well as disgruntlement over the sudden job losses amid the coronavirus-induced nationwide shutdown. 

In 2018 MPC Film tied up with Trace VFX to set up a dedicated matchmove and roto animation unit. Having  grown from a workforce of 10 core members in 2011 to over 850 artists in 2018, TraceVFX had expanded its footprints to Mumbai, New York City, London, and Los Angeles over the years.

The worrying trend of mass terminations began with MPC Montreal which led labour organisations there to call out the VFX behemoth. As per Art Babbitt Appreciation Society (ABAS), a grassroots organization campaigning to unionize Canada’s animation and VFX industries, the company laid off hundreds of workers across three studios in Montreal — MPC, Mr. X, and Mill Film — as well as its educational work program Technicolor Academy. ABAS’s assertion substantiated the circulating rumours of mass layoffs.

ABAS picked up this issue in the strongest of terms in its open letter to Technicolor’s CEO Richard Moat as posted on its twitter page.

We await a revert from Technicolor India CEO Biren Ghose even as we are putting this story up on AnimationXpress. And are more than open to updating it should he choose to get back to us after it goes up.

Watch this space!