It's Raining Pegbars! A Profile Of Animation In Vancouver
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The one sheet from the upcoming The Bottle Imp. © Delaney & Friends.

Also in a growth phase, Studio B and Mercury Filmworks just built a 27,000 square foot facility. The sister studios merged under one roof last fall, along with Dick and Roger's, a fully equipped sound studio. Studio B was founded by artists Chris Bartleman and Blair Peters in 1988. Since then, it has grown to include a team of over 100 artists, writers and producers. Their series Yvon of the Yukon, started airing on YTV this January, with D’Myna Leagues and What About Mimi, set to air this fall. The studio also provides service work for clients such as Disney, Nelvana and Nickelodeon. Mercury Filmworks is a dynamic young company that offers services in digital paint and effects, 3D animation, digital post-production, compositing and visual style development. Clients have included Nelvana, Fox TV and Teletoon.

Danny Antonucci, one of the rebel Rocketeers, founded a.k.a. Cartoon in 1994. His work was featured in a special screening at the Ottawa International Student Animation Festival last fall, beginning with Lupo, and moving through his commercials, his MTV series The Brothers Grunt and his new Cartoon Network series Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy, which also debuted on Canada’s Teletoon in September. The festival gave Antonucci a chance to recruit fresh meat. One of the qualifications for new animators at a.k.a. is an "appreciation of the subtleties of subversive creativity."

David Bowes recently had a blast animating a stop-motion commercial for Telus. The "student film" look for this spot took him back to his film school days, when he taught himself to animate with clay and create spooky in-camera effects. Today, Bowes and his crew will animate anything from foam latex to tapioca pudding. Their half-hour Twisteria special, which aired on YTV in the fall of 1998 is a toungue-twisting tour de force that won a Leo Award for Best Animation and was nominated for 4 Gemini’s. Recent work includes a mouse for McDonald’s and a 2-minute segment in Snow Day in which the action figure Meltar comes to life and advises young Natalie to defeat Snow Plow Man (Chris Elliott). Bowes mentors his crews from the ground up, as stop-motion training is not practical for most schools to offer.

Gordon Stanfield Animation’s 26 episodes of Kleo the Misfit Unicorn, with a second season in development, has begun what we hope to see as a permanent trend of indigenous animation production. Stanfield owns all the distribution and copyright on the show, which is currently airing on YTV. Kleo has also been translated into 15 languages for international distribution. In the pre-school targeted show, Kleo helps guide children through their problems in life, such as lack of confidence, being organized and getting along with others. GSA’s digital ink and paint department has just teamed up with the newly formed Satellite Studios.

Herve Bedard’s company, NOA, produced the first international co-production in Vancouver: Billy the Cat (26 episodes). Bedard was also the first in co-production with the Japanese on his show Cybersix. NOA worked with GSA on Kleo and is now doing another 26 episodes of Billy the Cat.

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