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in Filmmaking
on Feb 5, 2009

Slash Film passes on the sad news today that The Orphanage, the San Francisco-based special effects house that worked on such films as Iron Man and Superman Returns but was also known to indies for their so-called “Magic Bullet” tape-to-film process back in the early days of digital cinema, has closed its doors, an apparent victim of the economic downturn.

Co-founder Stu Maschwitz is also the author of the excellent Pro Lost blog, which I’ve linked to here before. From his most recent post:

Today I had the heart-wrenching task of joining my co-founders Scott Stewart and Jonathan Rothbart in announcing that The Orphanage will be suspending operations indefinitely. We started the company ten years ago, tripled in size each year for our first three years, and worked on some of the biggest and best effects movies made. We produced shorts and even features, we spawned a commercial division and an animation company, and we hung out in the halls with Frank Miller, Ethan Hawke, and M.C. Hammer. We did DI before it was called DI, we gave birth to Magic Bullet, and we did really, really good work.

But that’s not what matters the most.

It’s no accident that our company’s name described a place for people, people who may be thrown together, but who ultimately create their own destinies. Scott once described his vision of an orphanage as “a hundred success stories waiting to happen,” and that is exactly what came to pass inside our offices. We have had the privilege of working with many “Orphans” over the years, and watching them grow and take on new responsibilities has been the single greatest part of coming to work every day.

A message to the visual effects industry: You will never find a better employee than a former Orphan.

And to the Orphans: It has been a privilege and an honor to work with you.

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