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Fuel VFX goes up in smoke

VFX house's staff gone, buyers in the wings

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Australian visual effects company Fuel VFX looks set to be sold, just weeks after being placed into voluntary administration less than a fortnight ago.

The visual effects house secured cornerstone work in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, The Avengers, Mission Impossible and Iron Man 2 but was hit with a cash crisis stemming from a slow down in local production activity.

All 80 Fuel VFX employees has been let go on the appointment of the administrators.

Administrators Jirsch Sutherland Partners said that while a number of salvage strategies had been canvassed including a possible white knight investor, the most likely scenario was now the sale of the business or assets following a recent call for expressions of interest.

The first Fuel VFX creditor's meeting was held last week with the next meeting scheduled at the end of the month. The administrators has indicated that the company collapses after an anticipated feature film production failed to materialise.

The identities of the potential buyers have yet to be named although Deluxe Australia, which recently acquired six Omnilab companies including visual effects house Iloura, has been suggested as a potential suitor.

Meanwhile, back in Hollywood, a parallel story has emerged as Academy Award winning special effects company Digital Domain Media Group, announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week and agreed to sell its production business to Searchlight Partners Capital for US$15 million.

Digital Domain’s founders included "Titanic" director James Cameron and has been a significant VFX studio for both films such as "Titanic" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button but also spreading VFX technology to advertising land. ®

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