Saturday, February 23, 2008

Writers' Strike Fall-Out Brings No Happy Ending for Sunset Digital

As recently announced, Hollywood's long and bitter writers' strike ended as the governing boards of the unions representing 12,000 movie and television writers unanimously approved a three year deal with production companies. The strike, which began in November 2007, lasted five months and cost the entertainment industry an estimated $500 million.

Unfortunately, the end of the strike did not have a Hollywood ending for Sunset Digital. The 27-year old famed Glendale, California post production house is closing its doors. The 16,000 sq ft facility contributed to several Academy Award and Emmy winning projects including "The Cooler", "Tomb Raider", and "Jurassic Park 3". Sunset Digital also created DVDs for hundreds of theatrical releases, and in 2003 positioned itself as "Home of the Independent Filmmaker." Negotiations over the past two months of a turn-key sale were unsuccessful, and the auction sale of Sunset's equipment will take place on February 28th.

Post production insiders may recall the first scheduled auction sale of the company's assets on December 12, 2007, where the company would be offered in its entirety prior to a piecemeal sale of the assets. Negotiating a two month extension period with Sunset Digital the day before the first scheduled sale, Rabin Worldwide, an industrial auctioneer headquartered in San Francisco, advanced capital to satisfy the financial needs of the secured lender's equipment lien, enabling Sunset Digital to continue its turn-key sale negotiations. However, with the turn-key option period expiring February 15th and real property concerns in regards to filling vacant space or selling the building, there is no choice but to move forward with the scheduled auction sale.

Though the closure of Sunset Digital may not be entirely due to the writer's strike, the timing of the walk-out could not have been worse. Debt incurred in keeping up with film transfer technology was at a maximum for the company heading into the fourth quarter of 2007. With tight industry margins to begin with, the strike could be considered "the straw that broke the camel's back". Unfortunately, it will never be known if Sunset Digital's doors would still be open for business if the strike had ended a month sooner.

Those interested in learning more about the auction can visit, where hundreds of pictures will show the many different types of machines and computers utilized in the post production industry. Over 600 items, including signed film posters, will be sold at the North Glendale Hilton Hotel. The public is invited to an open house preview of the facility on Feb 27, from 10 am to 5 pm.

No comments: