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Cinesite Opens Animation Studio in Montréal

Future world-class animation hub to create 500 new jobs by 2020.

MONTRÉAL -- London-headquartered VFX house Cinesite has chosen Montréal, Québec, to make its investment in a new state-of-the-art animation studio with the intention of getting nine feature animated films into production over the next five years. The news was announced on Monday by Antony Hunt, CEO of the Cinesite Group, and Philippe Couillard, the Premier of Québec, at the opening of the new 54,000 square-foot animation studio in downtown Montréal. The new facility will have the capacity to employ 500 permanent staff to work on animated films by 2020.

“Cinesite is amongst the world leaders in the visual effects and animation industry,” Couillard said in a statement. “Our government supports this project’s realisation, which will promote the advancement in Québec of a leading-edge expertise in the production of animated films, a rapidly growing field at the moment. In doing this, my government is actively working to increase the competitiveness of Montréal. This investment acknowledges the talent, creativity and quality of Québec’s labor force and the importance of Montréal as a world player in this industry.”

“The support we received from the Premier of Québec, Mr. Couillard, along with the Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation, and Investissement Québec, has allowed us to make this decision to invest, for ourselves and the city of Montréal,” said Peter Nagle, Chairman of the Cinesite board. “Together we can use this investment to kick-start a world-class animation hub in one of the coolest cities in the world. This will also allow our award winning visual effects capacity to increase by 100 percent. This is very exciting and our Cinesite team is working alongside the founding members of Animate Montréal, which we also announced today. This initiative will help focus attention on what is needed to get Montréal animating; I expect we will all be busy.”

Investissement Québec on behalf of the Government of Québec is advancing a loan of $2.4 million to support the creation of infrastructure to allow feature animation production. An additional loan guarantee of $19.6 million towards an overall budget of at least $90 million is being advanced to the production company to help with the financing of each of the first three animated films. Six more films are planned to follow the initial three films, which will see the facility at full capacity with over 500 new permanent jobs by 2020.

“After Cinesite’s resounding success in the visual effects industry in Montréal, the opening of an animation studio will further strengthen the local digital production ecosystem,” said Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal. “This cutting-edge field has added 500 workers, attesting to the quality of the training programs offered here and confirming Montréal’s standing as a true smart city with a deep pool of creative talent. I would also like to highlight Montréal International’s strategic support. The organisation has been working tirelessly to promote our growth sectors to foreign investors and consolidate our position as a competitive business city.”

“Drawing on the sophisticated techniques developed over the last 20 years in the visual effects industry, we wanted to build a new creative home for the world’s best storytellers, writers, directors and animators,” said Eamonn Butler, Cinesite’s Head of Animation. “Whether you are an established filmmaker or an emerging writer, we want you to think of our studio as a new destination where your work can be nurtured and flourish.”

Comic Animations will join SPA Studios and Atresmedia Cine to co-produce the animated feature Klaus at the new facility. The holiday season film will be written and directed by Sergio Pablos (Despicable Me, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan), and produced by Jinko Gotoh (The Little Prince, Finding Nemo). The project will be a treaty co-production with Spain.

“Working with like-minded people who have a can-do attitude and respect the creative talent and process, coupled with Cinesite’s amazing new facility, the decision to come to Montréal was made very easy,” added Klaus director Sergio Pablos.

Comic Animations and Dublin-based River Productions will begin development on an animated feature, taking as its inspiration the international stage phenomenon Riverdance. This will feature the Grammy-award winning music from the show, composed by Bill Whelan.

“To see an animated feature film, inspired by Riverdance, will be an innovative and exhilarating milestone in a show which has had many great moments in the last twenty years,” added Riverdance co-creator and producer of the stage show Moya Doherty. “We look forward enormously to see it take shape and fly!”

In addition to these projects, Comic Animation and its partners have an active development slate that includes several more feature animation films in various stages of development.

Source: Cinesite

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.