Rhythm & Hues invests in 3 ventures with Taiwan

By ANIMATION XPRES... | 9 January, 2012 - 16:34

One of Hollywood's biggest animation and visual effects companies is about to begin an ambitious program of investment in Taiwanese technology and artistry.  

Rhythm & Hues Studios, the Academy Award-winning animation and effects company headquartered in Los Angeles, will signed the memorandums of understanding with Taiwan in two signing ceremonies last week; in Taipei on Dec. 30th and Kaohsiung on Dec 31st, 2011. These will be the first formal steps in establishing three separate, stand-alone enterprises that will leverage Taiwan's technological and creative strength and capacity.
With facilitation from Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), Rhythm & Hues' (R&H) Taiwan plans include establishing a film investment fund called East Grand Films to co-finance and co-produce major Hollywood motion pictures. East Grand Films will capitalize on the R&H's strong relationships with Hollywood filmmakers and distribution executives to gain access to select investment opportunities in visual effects centric feature films. By focusing on films that match specific investment criteria, the fund expects to realize significant returns with profit sharing amongst its Taiwanese investors.  

Secondly, R&H will establish a new state-of-the-art Visual Effects Center (VFX Center), in Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan.  The VFX Center will eventually employ 200 Taiwanese digital artists, trained by R&H experts, and, will work directly on Hollywood movies. The facility will join Rhythm & Hues' five other existing international facilities based in India, Malaysia, Canada and the United States. The move will broaden the reach and capacity of what is already one of the largest production pipelines of its kind in the world, operating 24 hours a day. Third, Rhythm & Hues will build a next generation cloud computing facility specifically designed for servicing the visual effects and animation industry.  The facility will leverage R&Hʼs technology and vast experience with globally distributed digital production pipelines to offer complete cloud based solutions for animation and visual effects professionals.  To design and develop this new facility, R&H will be signing a memorandum of understanding to create a 3 way partnership with Chunghwa Telecom, one of Asiaʼs largest telecommunications company, and Quanta Computers Inc, one of the worldʼs largest manufacturer of notebook computers and other electronic hardware. 

The plans are the latest in Rhythm & Huesʼ ongoing international expansion, which began ten years ago with the founding of its first satellite facility in Mumbai. Since then, R&H has successfully brought facilities online in Hyderabad, India, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and most recently, in Vancouver, Canada. The company's workforce is currently comprised of 1300 employees, a number which puts it in the top tier of employers in the visual effects and animation industry.While the studio is benefitting from guidance provided by the Taiwan government consisting of introductions and strategic consultation, the first suggestions of cooperation came from acclaimed Taiwanese film director Ang Lee, with whom Rhythm & Hues has been collaborating on LIFE OF PI, the upcoming film for Twentieth Century Fox. 

According to Lee Berger, president of Rhythm & Huesʼ Film division, "We were sharing our vision for the future with Ang and he suggested Taiwan, which is known for its cutting-edge technology. He opened doors for us with the MOEA, and we've been extremely impressed with the support and guidance we've received from the Taiwan government ever since." 

John Hughes, President and co-founder of R&H, added “We are very excited to be able to present our ambitious plans for Taiwan and we are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”