Forging forward

French VFX & Animation

Paris-based visual effects and post-production company Mikros Image is expanding, both because its toppers want it to, and because they feel it has to.

“We are into a more global business now, where we face a transforming industry. So there is a lot of restructuring going on,” says managing director Gilles Gaillard.

The company, which has an annual revenue of €32 million ($43.2 million), has a firm base in France, where it handles around 40 films a year as well as advertising — which contributes 65% of its revenue — and TV work.

But it has also set up subsidiaries in Belgium, Luxembourg and Canada, and has established partnerships with companies in the U.S. and Switzerland.

Among the many projects the company is involved with are Michael Haneke’s “Amour”; the next pic from “A Prophet” helmer Jacques Audiard, “Un Gout de rouille et d’os”; and “The Congress,” a half live-action, half animation sci-fi pic from Ari Folman, the director of “Waltz With Bashir.”

Gaillard says the longterm prospects for the vfx industry are good, as demand for entertainment product and advertising continues to grow.

“The key thing is business models — trying to find ways of financing this creativity,” he says. “We are moving toward consolidation, which our industry needs.”

To handle the cost of larger projects effectively, he says, the sector needs to rationalize into a fewer number of groups. “We think there is a model where there are core companies — like ours — and partnerships (with smaller shops), so that you have the full benefit of the community for all the players involved,” he says.

In France, the vfx and post-production sector has benefited from the tax incentive for foreign production, as well as the support provided for domestic film and TV production. The company can then complement that with the tax incentives offered in Belgium, Luxembourg and Canada, which is why it set up subsidiaries in those countries.

Its pact with Eight VFX in Santa Monica helps bring in biz from Hollywood, and allows Mikros Image to benefit from Eight VFX’s local knowledge.

“When we are dealing with American films, the relationship has to be through the visual effects supervisors, which is sometimes more complex to handle. So that’s why we have been partnering with Eight VFX, because we needed to have someone who was more familiar with their way of handling things,” he says.

Mikros Image recently worked on the 3D conversion of Tarsem Singh’s “Immortals.”

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