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Double Negative to Close VFX Facility in Singapore (EXCLUSIVE)

Special effects company Double Negative is to close its Singapore production facility.

The company said that the closure will result in the redundancy of the majority of its staff in Singapore and that closure would take effect by May 20 of this year.

The company said the closure was a part of a geographical rebalancing of its activities, but offered little detail.

“We must be responsive to the requirements of our clients and ensure our global operation is well balanced to meet their needs. The changing global dynamics of the film industry has focused the growth and development of our operations elsewhere in the world,” said Alex Hope of Double Negative.

On Wednesday a competing VFX company in the Asia region told Variety, that it had received calls from film producers seeking to move effects shots work away from Double Negative as a reaction to the closure news.

“Double Negative continues to go from strength to strength and we are having our busiest year to date. We are continuing to recruit globally and are looking forward to an exciting year ahead,” said Hope.

In 2014, Double Negative merged with Prime Focus World, part of Indian group Prime Focus Limited. Last year Double Negative and PFW announced that they would open a joint facility in Mumbai, India.

The Singapore facility was opened in 2009 and has been involved in production of effects for films including “Godzilla,” “Man of Steel” and “Mockingjay Part 1 & 2.”

The London- and Vancouver-based company was provided with a government subsidy, described as a ‘bond,’ in order to open the facilities in Singapore. Among the conditions of the bond is understood to have been commitments to the employment of local staff. It was reported that foreign staff were predominant among 80 redundancies announced by Double Negative in September last year.

 

Singapore has a high cost of living and nearly full employment for its nationals. Government restrictions on imported labor keep salaries costs high in comparison with other countries in Asia and have led to staff shortages in some sectors.

Singapore’s Economic Development Board did not confirm or deny the status or withdrawal of its subsidy for Double Negative, but said that it remains committed to providing incentives in order to build its media sector.

“The global digital media sector has been rapidly evolving, and countries have reacted by applying various principles to incentivizing business activities. While the details of the incentives we offer are confidential, Singapore remains committed to grow the Digital Media sector as part of our broader Infocomms and Media strategies,” the Singapore EDB told Variety in an emailed statement.

“We remain committed to providing incentives to new and existing firms in Singapore to support their long-term plans, with the objective of creating desirable careers and ensuring sustainable economic growth. Leading companies like Lucasfilm, Bandai Namco, Ubisoft and Koei Tecmo continue to have substantial presence in Singapore.

“Beyond providing incentive support, the Singapore Economic Development Board partners companies and institutes of higher learning such as National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and DigiPen, to better equip Singaporeans with the capabilities to create high-quality content for global audiences. These skills are also increasingly in demand in sectors beyond games, animation and VFX.”

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