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Sony Imageworks India to Shut Down (EXCLUSIVE)

Visual effects studio continues to contract

Continuing its recent pattern of contraction, Sony Pictures Imageworks is closing Imageworks India in Chennai.

In answer to a query from Variety, Sony issued the following statement: “Sony Pictures Imageworks will not renew its lease in Chennai, India when it expires in March. This facility made significant contributions to such productions as ‘MIB3’ and the upcoming ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2.’ Imageworks is committed to its headquarters in Culver City and facility in Vancouver, BC.”

Imageworks India was launched when Sony acquired Indian animation studio FrameFlow in 2007. Veteran vfx producer Joe Gareri was hired as general manager of Imageworks India and Imageworks’ web site still lists him in that role. Imageworks did not disclose the number of employees who will lose their jobs but insiders say the Chennai branch had around 100 employees, very few of whom will be relocated.

The Imageworks web site boasts that “The Imageworks India satellite office is located in the International Tech Park Chennai. A state of the art digital pipeline is completely integrated with Imageworks Culver City headquarters.”

At around the same time it expanded to India, Imageworks also opened an outpost in New Mexico. That branch closed in 2012. Recently the company has been relocating jobs to its Vancouver office, though some Imageworks employees say they fear that more layoffs are inevitable as Sony Pictures looks to cut $250 million in costs.

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