Montréal, February 8, 2016 - 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. This was announced today by Antony Hunt, CEO of the Cinesite Group, and the Premier of Québec, Philippe Couillard at the opening of the new 54,000 sq ft 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. 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 labour force and the importance of Montréal as a world player in this industry," stated the Premier Philippe Couillard.
"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. 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%. 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." said Peter Nagle Chairman of the Cinesite board.
Investissement Québec on behalf of the Government of Québec is advancing a loan of $2.4m to support the creation of infrastructure to allow Feature Animation production. An additional loan guarantee of $19.6m 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. 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," said Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal. "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," added Mr. Coderre.
"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 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. Co-Creator and Producer of the stage show Riverdance, Moya Doherty added "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. 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.
Cinesite, established in London in 1991, is a world class visual effects and feature animation studio. In December 2013, Cinesite released the animated short "Beans" to showcase its creature animation skills. The 30-second animation went viral, amassing over 15 million views on YouTube. Cinesite opened a visual effects and animation studio in Montréal in 2014, and began developing its feature animation pipeline in partnership with 3QU Media around a four-film slate. In July 2015 the well-respected Vancouver business of Image Engine Design Inc. became part of the group, making the visual effects and animation reach from Vancouver, to London via Montréal with capacity for 650 artists and technicians in 60,000 square feet of facilities over the three locations, delivering amazing work. This announcement will add a further 55,000 square feet of facility in Montréal to accommodate the additional capacity of 500 artists, technicians and filmmakers.
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