Vancouver, Canada — LookFX, a highly regarded small vfx studio with offices in Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver, has closed its doors — but its staff is not disbanding.
The staff of Look has moved en masse to Mass Market, a commercials vfx company that is entering the feature vfx business. Though the Look name has perished, the staff will become Mass Market’s features division. Look’s current projects move with them.
Look officially ceased operations doors Monday and its staff is already at work at Mass Market. LookFX partners Henrik Fett and Mark Driscoll will be co-managing directors of Mass Market’s feature division. They will report to Jay Lichtman, managing director of MassMarket.
“Look has struggled for some time,” LookFX president and co-founder Driscoll told Variety. “We came into 2014 limping significantly from the overages we had on ‘Noah,’ and we were rebuilding, then a show went belly-up on us in New York, a significant installation project.”
As a result, said Driscoll, “Look is not able to survive financially. We came to that realization a few weeks ago, where given all the things we talked about and the regular summer slump of work.
“When it became clear that (LookFX) was going to have to be closed, the opportunity came with (Mass Market) to salvage some of this, an opportunity provide employment and benefits for as many people as we can.”
Almost all Look staffers are moving to Mass Market, with the exception of some who were hired on for specific shows. Look’s credits include features “Man of Steel,” “Grand Budapest Hotel” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” as well as TV shows “Black Sails” and “Nashville.”
Mass Market’s Lichtman said, “In many ways it is business of usual for the bulk of the LookFX team,” but they will benefit from “a more robust pipeline and financial environment.” Lichtman said bringing Mass Market’s technology with Look’s talent will benefit the artists.
“Look has always enjoyed a great reputation, but that’s almost in spite of the technology they’ve used,” Lichtman said. Mass Market means to “compete with the big boys.”
“We’re swinging for the fences. We plan on investing in in-house bespoke technologies. For us that is the only way for us to compete. I want Look to be renowned for creature work and effects.”
Mass Market has offices in Venice, Calif., New York and Vancouver, Canada. The seven Look staffers in New York and the 10 in Los Angeles have moved into Mass Market’s offices. Look’s Vancouver office will remain intact under the Mass Market banner.