London visual effects facility The Mill, which contributed greatly to the effects in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, is leaving the feature film industry to focus exclusively on its core advertising business.
Mill Film was set up as a division of The Mill in 1997 and went on to become the only U.K. visual effects company to receive an Academy Award with its work on Gladiator. The core Mill Film team of 35 people has been regularly increased to around 150 via a freelance talent base.
Robin Shenfield, ceo of The Mill, cites the volatile nature of the film business and ripe opportunities in advertising as reasons for the departure. He says that film work is “hugely dependent on U.S. studios bringing work to the U.K. to take advantage of tax breaks.”
The Mill has successfully opened a New York studio and has further plans to expand into North America. The London base has recently acquired two additional high-definition flames and intends to add further editing and visual effects units inside London advertising agencies. The company will also continue to invest in the growth of its online review, approval and media asset archive service, BEAM.TV.