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A Closer Look: Canada, a major player in the animation industry

Two years ago, Walt Disney Animation Canada Inc. expanded its productionservices by officially opening a permanent studio in Toronto, in additionto the one which has been operating in Vancouver since 1996. Bothfacilities operate as one co-existing production unit referred to as "theCanadian studio." It also handles pre-production, such as storyboarding,character design and layout, thus creating the first full-service facilityin the Walt Disney Television Animation family. Whereas Hollywood hadalways been the center of animation production, a fair amount of U.S.television production has shifted to Canada in recent years, bringing someCanadian production houses into the limelight. Toronto-based cartoonproducer Nelvana for instance reported strong fourth quarter 1998 resultswith a 75% jump in year-end profits -- that year Nelvana shifted toproducing proprietary shows, earning higher margins than in serviceproduction. In 1998, Nelvana produced 14 series including "Bob AndMargaret" (Comedy Central), "Rolie Polie Olie" (Disney Channel), and theentire CBS Kids' Saturday morning lineup, as well as the animated feature,"Babar: King Of The Elephants." Canada is also the home of leading digitalanimation houses such as Softimage, Discreet Logic and Alias|Wavefront.Moreover, Canada hosts North America's largest animation festival and thesecond largest in the world. Founded in 1976 by the Canadian FilmInstitute, the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) has beennurtured over the past 22 years by public and private sector support, andhas contributed to the artistic evolution of Canadian and internationalanimation. The upcoming edition of the festival, scheduled for October21-24, 1999, will again put Canada in the spotlight, giving theinternational community an opportunity to reevaluate this strong contenderin the animation industry.

For detailed information on the upcoming annual Ottawa Student Animation Festival, visit the festival's official web site.

Read more about Canadian software producers and users in the March 1999 issue of Animation World Magazine: "Along the Banks of the St. Lawrence..." by Emru Townsend.

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