Oscar-winning movie star and UN Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie arrived in Los Angeles Tuesday to meet with refugees displaced by recent upheavals in the economically devastated California visual effects industry.
This was Jolie’s first trip to the Golden State’s globalization-ravaged areas since she was named a special UN envoy this past April. Her three day mission included a fast DreamWorks voice recording session for Kung Fu Panda game promos followed by a lunch of New York dogs at Pinks with a group of former Santa Monica-based lighting TDs, sandwiched between several stops in devastated areas of Southern and Northern California.
During the day-long Southern California leg of her tour, Jolie met with the heads of the Visual Effects Society, the Animation Guild Local 839 and ASIFA Hollywood, who described the plights of displaced workers struggling to find jobs, affordable health care and low cost high-speed disk arrays they could setup at home as they continued their heroic struggle to try and compete against low-cost vfx studios located all across the globe.
She was visibly moved when assembled leaders explained that ongoing efforts to help refugees get desperately needed training were hampered by the fact that digital art education usually costs more than most artists earn in a couple years and UN relief aid so far had not reached the area because of bureaucratic red tape and traffic on the 405.
Jolie told the assembled group of reporters that she’d met with numerous former studio heads whose businesses had been lost or seriously damaged by flooding from newly established international production pipelines in places like Vancouver, London, Mumbai and Singapore. “I am very moved by their stories and it is my hope I can help bring attention to the terrible plight of all the visual effects artists in need in California,” the Salt star said. She continued, “It’s clear that these proud, talented and mostly clean shaven people have handled this ongoing crisis with dignity and grace. But they desperately need our help. Buying millions of $16 3-D movie tickets is not enough. $30 billion a year in international box office receipts won’t help those truly in need. No one chooses to become a refugee. These people have nowhere else to go.”
Image credit: Berlinale 12: Angelina Jolie by Sorkin | CC-BY-3.0