Visual Effects Association Throws in Towel and Ceases Operation

Unable to raise enough money to support its legal case fighting to end international subsidies affecting the visual effects industry, an association recently decided to close down.

Barely more than a year old, the Association of Digital Artists, Professionals, and Technicians (ADAPT) is disbanding due to a lack of financial support.

Over the course of its brief existence the association was unable to raise enough money to cover the costs of its main objective: lobbying the federal government to help put an end to subsidies that are driving the visual effects (VFX) industry abroad.

“After months of campaigning, we were only able to raise a minuscule amount, which would only cover two percent of the total legal costs,” one of the group’s leaders, Scott Lay, wrote in an announcement on the VFX Soldier website.

Formed during a downturn in the VFX industry, ADAPT was working with a Washington, DC, law firm specializing in international trade law to try and put an end to international subsidies that give tax breaks to U.S. production studios if they take their VFX business abroad. International subsidies for VFX work began trending in the late 2000s after the United Kingdom started to offer tax credits to U.S. studios. Canada soon followed suit, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

To help keep VFX work and jobs in the United States, ADAPT was asking the federal government to levy a mandatory duty against producers who took advantage of these subsidies, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In addition to its legal case, ADAPT tried to raise support for the issue by organizing demonstrations, participating in industry panels, and lobbying politicians and the state of California. Its efforts were unsuccessful as the group was unable to bolster enough backing, financial or otherwise, to continue its cause.

Lay laid out several potential reasons for the discouraging show of support, including how quickly the industry collapsed and work began to move to Canada.

“This left many out of work without money and others being forced to move to Canada,” he wrote. “Others were able to take advantage of the recovering economy and move into other industries which made them reluctant to help an industry they probably would no longer work in.”

Also at issue might have been the association’s inability to “rally the troops,” or it could have been a general disinterest among the VFX community to take a stand against the subsidy issue, added Lay, who hoped the last reason was untrue.

Whatever the reason, the decision to cease the association’s efforts, “brings to end years of work in the hopes of trying to give the VFX industry a fighting chance,” Lay wrote. “While we are upset that many chose not to help fund the effort, we want to thank those that did, and apologize that we couldn’t take it to the finish line and make history.”


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!