The visual effects company and its leader spell out how they're successfully tackling its evolving industry.

Interview: Prime Focus World's Founder & CEO Namit Malhotra

on June 18, 2013 by Shawn Robbins
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The visual effects industry has been through some turbulent times in recent years. One of the companies still feeling strong about their position, however, is Prime Focus World. Recently, BoxOffice was invited for a short discussion with its Founder and CEO, Namit Malhotra.

Malhotra spent a number of years in Mumbai developing an entrepreneurial model that listened to client needs. Providing consistent quality in both visual effects, animation, and 3D conversion, Prime Focus World undertook impressive growth early on as it targeted tentpole movies. The company grew west and took advantage of tax rebate-friendly regions, positioning itself to land both talent and business benefits.

At the end of the day, filmmakers and studios are looking for the next best thing. Malhotra's metaphorical key to success: "Don't just make pie again, constantly do something new. An adaptive company can do that."

The quickly expanding nature of the film industry on a global scale has brought about new challenges, but Malhotra believes that Hollywood and American movies are what still define the gold standard in most markets. "Hollywood leads the innovation of technology," he said, "then the world follows and uses it as a reference point. The expectation is that you're getting a top-shelf experience, and our company is devoted to that."

From a practical standpoint, the line is blurring between visual effects-driven and character-driven movies. In fact, visual effects are now part of nearly every line-item in a film's production budget--from grip to costumes, environments, locations, etc. "In the complexity of what they (effects- and character-driven movies) do, one has more creative freedom and the other has real-world restraints." Ultimately, whatever is presented has to be seamlessly integrated between effects and that which is captured in-camera.

Prime Focus World is largely known for their work on films like Avatar and Frankenweenie. In fact, with this summer's The Great Gatsby, the company "proudly delivered" on director Baz Luhrmann's vision by integrating its 3D conversion division with visual effects staffers. Some more of their work can soon be seen in World War Z and White House Down.

Where does Prime Focus World see the effects industry heading in the near future? From Malhotra's perspective, the main obstacles of the world have existed for the last few years. Big event movies have become the safest, most secure bets, and his company recognizes that international markets are playing a more substantial role (accounting for roughly two-thirds of the global box office, as opposed to the 40 percent it used to).

"Studios and filmmakers have to offer on a global basis, which we view as a positive," says Malhotra. "Digital markets have developed now, so the hardest part is over. It's helped studios to predict strategically--they know what to expect now."

Prime Focus World underscores the fact that the visual effects business is changing rapidly. The international audience is growing, demand for big franchise movies is increasing, and with those things, so follows the desire for more visual effects and 3D presentations. Not only are audiences looking for the next best thing, but so are filmmakers themselves. Namit Malhotra's company is building its reputation with the concept of a company servicing all of those needs through new technology, new financing models, and new creativity.

Tags: White House Down, World War Z, The Great Gatsby, Frankenweenie, Avatar, Prime Focus World
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