Joins other midsized California effects firms to close

The California visual effects industry got a big lump of coal for Christmas with the news that the highly regarded studio CafeFX has permanently closed.

CafeFX had been on hiatus for more than six months as it attempted to find new investors and relaunch.

“The industry has just really, really changed,” topper Jeff Barnes told Daily Variety. “We took a hard look at it and said this doesn’t make any sense anymore for how CafeFX has been, even with new investors.”

Part of the problem, says Barnes, was that CafeFX “got to be exactly the wrong size.” Noting that Asylum and the Orphanage were also mid-sized California vfx studios that closed, Barnes said, “Being a California-only company right now is not a good business model if you’re over 100 people.”

Barnes called for new business models and new compensation models “to help compensate the (vfx) studios for what has become very important to the motion picture industry.”

Barnes says he’ll focus on the company’s impending sale of its computers and other gear, skedded for around Jan. 18, and he hasn’t decided what he’ll do next. He said he hopes to stay in visual effects “if somebody will have me. I love the business.”

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