President Obama visits DreamWorks, VFX animators protest

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President Obama greets audience members on Nov. 26, 2013, when he visited the DreamWorks Animation studios in Glendale. (Credit: KTLA)

President Obama greets audience members on Nov. 26, 2013, when he visited the DreamWorks Animation studios in Glendale. (Credit: KTLA)

President Obama is back in Washington after a two-day swing through Los Angeles. Why was he here? To raise money and highlight the motion picture and television industry’s place in the economy.

In a speech at the DreamWorks Animation studios in Glendale, Obama praised the entertainment industry, noting that it supports “hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs.”

Obama raised an estimated $2.5 million  for House and Senate Democrats during the visit to Los Angeles.

DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg raised millions for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and donated $3 million to the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action.

While at DreamWorks, the president was given a demonstration of motion-capture technology being used for the upcoming film “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” He then went to a recording studio, where he shook hands with actors Steve Martin and Jim Parsons, who were recording scenes for the film “Home.” The president also met with a host of entertainment industry executives, speaking with them about issues like piracy and intellectual property rights.

This morning, Obama attended a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the Hancock Park home of Marta Kauffman, a co-creator of the NBC comedy “Friends.”  Attendees paid up to $32,400 each to hear the president talk at the private event.

Bill Allison is Editorial Director at the Sunlight Foundation, which advocates for transparency in government. He spoke to KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis about Obama’s reliance on Hollywood’s fundraising powers.

Variety senior editor David S. Cohen also talked to Steve about a group of about 40 disgruntled visual effects artists who protested outside DreamWorks to call attention to the loss of jobs to other countries. Foreign tax incentives lure companies to move their VFX work abroad.