It's Raining Pegbars! A Profile Of Animation In Vancouver
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Classical Studios
Al Sens, Marv Newland, the NFB and Hugh Fouldes all set the foundation for what was to happen next. In the 1980s, a new batch of independent, artist-run studios took root. Today’s line-up of classical studios include: AKA Cartoons, Bardel Animation Ltd., Bowes Productions Inc., Carbunkle Cartoons, Delaney & Friends, Barking Bullfrog Productions, Natterjack Animation Company, Network of Animation (NOA), Reel Wonders Productions, Gordon Stanfield Animation Ltd. and Studio B Productions Ltd. Most of these studios got their foothold doing service work for eastern Canadian and US clients. In the 1990s, with a reputation for quality work and the support of B.C. Film, the tides gradually began to turn. Now the Vancouver studios are producing their own content.

Bardel showed the world their stuff with their work on The Prince of Egypt. TM & © 1998 DreamWorks LLC.
The fishin’ trip goes array in this scene from The Champ in Snapper Bob. © Natterjack.

Barry Ward of Bardel is still high on the accolades they received from the direct to video Joseph for DreamWorks, a gig they landed after working on The Prince of Egypt. Ward and his artists are proud of the feature quality work they delivered. Although the show is finished and the large facility they opened during its production is closed down, Ward is taking steps into computer and Web animation. Bardel's Scream Team project uses Softimage to create a flat, UPA-style design, economizing with CG production techniques to get the look and feel of classical animation. They're also working on a Flash animation called Mr. Dick, about a naked guy whose unclothed state is treated as a handicap in society.

Natterjack, founded in 1993 by Steven Evangelatos, currently employs 45 full-time animators, assistants and production staff on service work, commercials and in-house shorts. Their shorts include The Champ in Snapper Bob, Christmas Card "Season's Cretins," and the riotously funny The Beckers in "Cannibalism and Your Teen" which screened at Annecy last year. Drawn in stylized black line against a white background like a 1950's advertisement, dad lends his son the car for some teenage socializing, and warns him about bad kids at school who are experimenting with: cannibalism! At the end of the film, our teenage hero has given in to peer pressure and practically consumed every bit of flesh on his body.

Chris Delaney notes that the boom in service work three years ago has resulted in a strengthening of the industry overall. Delaney & Friends is currently in development on The Bottle Imp, a series based on a Robert Louis Stevenson story, to air on Canada's Teletoon Network this fall. They have also produced The Adventures of Nilus the Sandman, a series for the Family Channel. With plans to develop four features, Delaney & Friends is poised for expansion.

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