Ang Lee's 'cheaper' remark irritates artist into writing open letter

Taipei, Feb. 27 (CNA) An open letter addressing Taiwanese director Ang Lee has been circulating online after Lee allegedly said he would like the visual effects created by Rhythm & Hues, the house mainly responsible for the visual effects in Lee's highly acclaimed film "Life of Pi", to be cheaper. Phillip Broste, a lead compositor at R&H, wrote in an open letter to Lee that as an artist, he took Lee's "cheaper" remark personally. The visual-effects house has filed for bankruptcy in the United States. The house's branch in southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung City is working independently, according to the city government. Lee was quoted in the letter as responding to a question about R&H's bankruptcy in the U.S. that he "would like it to be cheaper and not a tough business (for visual effects vendors)." "It's easy for me to say," Lee was quoted as saying, "but it's very tough. It's very hard for them to make money. The research and development is so expensive. That is a big burden for every house. They all have good times and hard times, and in the tough times, some may not (survive)." Broste noted that it took hundreds of hours of work by skilled artists and hard-working coordinators to craft the environments and performances in "Life of Pi." He also highlighted the hard work of engineers who wrote the code that built the visual effects in the film, pointing out that this was where the money went. The angry compositor continued that he believes Lee is a thoughtful and brilliant man, and a gifted filmmaker. But he also noted that Lee and other filmmakers are "ignorant to the pain and turmoil" they put artists through. The artist said he is worried that such a remark will stir a hostile environment towards the industry, in which visual-effects artists are already suffering from wage stagnation. Lee's "Life of Pi" won awards for best director, best cinematography, and best visual effects at the 85th Oscar Academy Awards. (By Ann Chen)