Marvel VFX Animators Fed Up and Will Join IATSE Union
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Marvel VFX Animators Fed Up And Will Join IATSE Union

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BY August 8, 2023

Hollywood studios are living a nightmare because of the actors and writers strike. This event paralyzed almost the entire industry. Now Marvel’s VFX animators are taking action. Recently, a group of these workers applied to join the IATSE Union.

This could mean more trouble for this company, considering no business owner likes unions. Then there is Marvel’s precedent with this group, considering several team members denounced inhumane working conditions.  

50 VFX Marvel Animators Apply to Join Union Group

WGA Strike Image: Jorge Mir

A group of Marvel VFX animators have applied for registration with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. This implies that this union organization would protect these workers in case of any conflict with the studio.

This did not provoke an immediate reaction from Marvel, or at least it did not comment on the matter. However, it does not affect the company that much. The production company employs thousands of graphic effects experts on an outsourced basis. This move only involves several direct-hire VFX Marvel animators based in Atlanta. 

This would set an interesting precedent in the industry, considering that the graphic effects experts had no union organization. This step may be one of the first attempts to obtain better working conditions. For the time being, there are no comments on this inclusion or what it means for Marvel Studios. Mark Patch, IATSE’s graphic effects organizer, commented as follows:

“For almost half a century, workers in the visual effects industry have been denied the same protections and benefits their coworkers and crewmates have relied upon since the beginning of the Hollywood film industry. This is a historic first step for VFX animators coming together with a collective voice demanding respect for the work we do”.

This group member also commented on the current protests, detailing that although they have strength and weight, considering how they impacted the industry, there is still much growing and polishing.

Marvel’s Past Problems with Graphic Publishing Experts

Marvel has quite an eye-catching history related to VFX animators who are experts in graphic editing and special effects. First, we saw the firing of Victoria Alonso. Although Marvel Studios has not yet revealed the reasons for her dismissal, many suspect it was due to the lousy reviews of the visual effects of the latest productions.

In another incident were the recent firings and bad comments of some VFX animators of Marvel Studios. They started that Marvel has a very strong working conditions that fall into the term inhuman. 

Another to comment on the situation was Isabella Huffman, the head of special effects at Marvel. She commented on the following in an interview, and we detailed the following:

“Turnaround times don’t apply to us, protected hours don’t apply to us, and pay equity doesn’t apply to us. Visual Effects must become a sustainable and safe department for everyone who’s suffered far too long and for all newcomers who need to know they won’t be exploited.” 

An Unprecedented Moment in the North American Audiovisual Industry

Commons Wikimedia-Author Jengod Image: Commons Wikimedia-Author Jengod

We are at a turning point in the entertainment industry, and the latest to join in are Marvel’s VFX animators. Every day more unions are joining in Hollywood, and the conflict is dragging on like never before. The latest addition to the conflict is putting industry executives on edge. The group will likely take advantage of this juncture to build trust among themselves.

In the recent conflict, the WGA, the Showrunner’s union body in the United States, is up in arms about their discontent at the various studios. The motive is to demand improvements in the labor field, which include greater economic benefits.

There is also the SAG-AFTRA action that ended up paralyzing productions in Hollywood. Not only does it mean that you will not be able to shoot new films, the repercussions go beyond that. Their actions contemplated the prohibition of actors from promoting movies to be released on the big screen and on streaming platforms.

This included major events such as the San Diego Comic-Con, where Marvel also announced that neither the actors involved in the upcoming releases would attend. This is also a tough for the organization in charge of the event, which will see it diminished this year. 

It should be noted that the union of the 50 VFX animation experts to the IATSE group may be the beginning of another source of protest, considering several complaints from these professionals.

There are those mentioned in Marvel and recently, the people in charge of developing the graphic effects for Spider-Man: Across Spider-Verse declared that they were exposed to inhuman working hours. This treatment led several of them to resign from their positions, as we commented here. 

Featured Image Via Marvel Studios 

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Marvel VFX Animators

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