(Source: stuff.co.nz) Tom Greally of Weta Digital, the New Zealand visual effects company, says it employed up to 900 people at the peak of Avatar’s production. Averaging that figure out shows that each of the Avatar jobs cost the taxpayer at least $50,000.

Regardless of how good Weta’s work is (and it is excellent), there is no principled argument to be made for taxpayers subsidising jobs in the film industry and paying film industry salaries, as opposed to any other. Why are those involved in film-making more deserving than those at a forestry mill that might close? Or a rural hospital that could be kept open?

(Source: xconomy.com) Gradually, Cambridge, MA, is emerging as one of the world capitals of a highly specialized industry: digital effects plugins for film and video post-production. These are small software packages that production companies such as Lucasfilm or Sony Pictures buy to extend the capabilities of commercial digital compositing programs like Adobe’s After Effects, Autodesk’s Combustion, Avid’s Avid DS, or The Foundry’s Nuke. One company at a time, plugin collections from companies small and large are being rolled up by Cambridge-based GenArts, which has a clear ambition to become the country’s leading plugin vendor.

(Source: latimesblogs.latimes.com) Are you ready for a trip down the rabbit hole? Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Disney are adding a strange new chapter to the Lewis Carroll classic with their “Alice in Wonderland,” a film that presents a young woman who finds herself in the world of the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Red Queen. She is welcomed as a returning visitor — but is she, in fact, the same Alice who roamed the trippy realm as a child? Time will tell. Here at the Hero Complex, we’re counting down to the film’s March 5 release with daily coverage. Today it’s a chat with director of photography Dariusz Wolski.

(Source: variety.com) American helmer Eric Brevig and producer Charlotte Huggins have signed on to tackle 3D Korean war epic “17 Days of Winter,” the story of the 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

Pic would be the first war epic shot and released in digital 3D. Brevig and Huggins have ample experience in the format and worked together on New Line’s 3D sleeper hit “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

With South Korea readying 60th anniversary observances of the war, project will receive unprecedented support from the South Korean government, including the Ministry of National Defense (which will provide equipment, weapons, locations and military assistants) and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports.

(Source screendaily.com) Andy Serkis, famous for pioneering motion-capture performance in The Lord Of The Rings, King Kong and the upcoming Tintin films, has revealed he will collaborate with musician Nick Cave on a motion-capture movie of The Threepenny Opera. The Brecht and Weill musical play was first performed in 1928 in Berlin.

“It’s nice to announce it in its hometown,” said Serkis this week. The actor is in town to talk about his bravura performance in sexdrugs&rock&roll as the late rock star Ian Dury

(Source: scifi.about.com) Do we really want to see Asimov’s second-most-important contribution to science fiction, the brilliant and so-complex-it-seems-utterly-simple Foundation trilogy, be converted into an Avatar-style 3-D CGI action-adventure blockbuster popcorn movie trilogy by the guy who made the worst Godzilla movie ever?

I’m being unfair to Roland Emmerich. His recent credits are empty-headed CGI-fests, sure (2012, 10,000 BC, The Day After Tomorrow), but he’s also responsible for Independence Day and Stargate, right? And those were at least partly-filled-headed CGI-fests.

Anyway, Emmerich was wowed by Avatar and the technology that made it possible, and immediately knew that his current project, Foundation, had to be approached in the same way.

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