Two years ago, Walt Disney Animation Canada Inc. expanded its production
services by officially opening a permanent studio in Toronto, in addition
to the one which has been operating in Vancouver since 1996. Both
facilities operate as one co-existing production unit referred to as "the
Canadian studio." It also handles pre-production, such as storyboarding,
character design and layout, thus creating the first full-service facility
in the Walt Disney Television Animation family. Whereas Hollywood had
always been the center of animation production, a fair amount of U.S.
television production has shifted to Canada in recent years, bringing some
Canadian production houses into the limelight. Toronto-based cartoon
producer Nelvana for instance reported strong fourth quarter 1998 results
with a 75% jump in year-end profits -- that year Nelvana shifted to
producing proprietary shows, earning higher margins than in service
production. In 1998, Nelvana produced 14 series including "Bob And
Margaret" (Comedy Central), "Rolie Polie Olie" (Disney Channel), and the
entire CBS Kids' Saturday morning lineup, as well as the animated feature,
"Babar: King Of The Elephants." Canada is also the home of leading digital
animation houses such as Softimage, Discreet Logic and Alias|Wavefront.
Moreover, Canada hosts North America's largest animation festival and the
second largest in the world. Founded in 1976 by the Canadian Film
Institute, the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) has been
nurtured over the past 22 years by public and private sector support, and
has contributed to the artistic evolution of Canadian and international
animation. The upcoming edition of the festival, scheduled for October
21-24, 1999, will again put Canada in the spotlight, giving the
international community an opportunity to reevaluate this strong contender
in 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.