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The U.S. company Reel FX chooses Montréal for its new animation studio

400 jobs will be created over the next three years.

Montréal, Friday, April 27, 2018 – Reel FX is expanding its operations to Montréal and plans to make the Montréal studio its animation flagship in Canada, thereby creating 400 jobs by late 2020. A leader in animation in the film industry and in virtual and augmented reality, the U.S. company, which is already established in Dallas and Hollywood, chose Montréal from among several North American cities. With three major films in production at the Montréal studio, the newly recruited team is already working alongside the team at the Reel FX head office in Dallas. Reel FX will also contribute to the professional development of the next generation through a program called RFX University.


De gauche à droite: Benoît Dorais, , président du comité exécutif de la Ville de Montréal, François Blais, ministre de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale, Steve O’Brien, président et chef de la direction de Reel FX, Hubert Bolduc, président-directeur général de Montréal International et Pierre Gabriel Côté, président-directeur général d'Investissement Québec.


To facilitate the studio’s arrival in Québec, the Gouvernement du Québec is providing Reel FX with assistance by 2020 of over $440,000 to enable a training plan to be carried out with its 400 future employees.


That announcement was made by Mr. Steve O’Brien, President and CEO of Reel FX, Mr. François Blais, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, Mr. Benoit Dorais, President of the Executive Committee of the City of Montréal, Mr. Hubert Bolduc, President and CEO of Montréal International, Mr. Pierre Gabriel Côté, President and CEO of Investissement Québec, at the strategic forum called “Montréal: alive with the international” organized by Montréal International, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal and Investissement Québec.


“After a year of planning and coordination, we’re very proud to finally have a studio in Montréal, a city known worldwide for its unique culture. We considered other cities before choosing Montréal, where we received a welcome second to none and where we already have a number of friends,” stated Mr. Steve O’Brien, President and CEO of Reel FX. “We decided on Montréal for several reasons, including its unique culture, the amazing talent pool in visual arts, the outstanding quality of the universities, and the competitive operating costs found in Québec,” he added.


“The Gouvernement du Québec is proud to support the Reel FX project by providing over $440,000 in financial assistance to support the company in training its 400 new employees. It is important for Québec to have access to a qualified workforce. The national labour force strategy, which will be submitted soon, will include, among other things, a number of measures fostering skills development in all fields, including in new technologies. That way, we will be able to encourage more training and job creation projects like the one announced today,” stated François Blais, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity.


“The Administration is happy to welcome Reel FX in our metropolis. This reaffirms that Montréal is an attractive city on the international scene and that it offers a wealth of talent. We also welcome with great enthusiasm the corporation’s decision to create 400 jobs here, in a promising sector,” stated Ms. Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal.


“We heartily welcome the arrival of Reel FX, which confirms Greater Montréal’s enviable position as world leader in the VFX and animation industry. Their executives were drawn by the vitality of its ecosystem, which has the largest concentration of jobs in the country,” stated Mr. Hubert Bolduc, President and CEO of Montréal International. “We’re very proud to team up with Reel FX and have them contribute to the city’s economic growth and reputation.”


“We commend Reel FX’s decision to set up a studio in Québec. That speaks of the strength and talent of the local industrial sector. The Québec video games and animation sector is flourishing and represents fertile ground for any company wanting to invest here. We’re proud of helping promote the benefits of choosing Montréal for this key player in the animated film industry,” said Mr. Pierre Gabriel Côté, President and CEO of Investissement Québec.


Reel FX has set up in the Pointe-Saint-Charles sector and, by the end of May, will have over 50 employees at its studio in the Nordelec complex. The company hopes to take in up to 200 by the end of this year and then about 100 annually by 2020, for a total of 400 new jobs. In addition to working on major animated films, those employees will become involved in developing Reel FX’s virtual and augmented reality experiences component through its Flight School division and thereby position the Montréal studio as a key player in this thriving industry.


RFX University: paid training for Montréal animation graduates


Reel FX also intends to make a huge contribution to the city's creative and technological ecosystem by offering a specialized training program for promising young Montréal talents. In fact, in late 2018, the company hopes to propose to Montréal a program similar to the one already offered in Dallas, Texas. The program called Reel FX University provides six months of paid training to graduates in arts, illustration, animation and similar disciplines. The participants have the chance to work on a current project at Reel FX and then, at the end of the training, have the opportunity to be hired by the company.


About Reel FX – Reel FX is a company of artists, sculptors, animators, technicians, visionaries, creators and storytellers. After 25 years of operations, the group of creators is up to nearly 200 employees at its studios in Dallas, Hollywood and Montréal. Reel FX creates content for screens and settings of all shapes and sizes: animated films, advertising films, virtual and augmented reality experiences, mobile and interactive content, live events and amusement parks. The talent of its craftspeople has been rewarded by the most prestigious awards at the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, Annies and Clios. The company has three divisions: Reel FX Animation Studios, which creates animated films and large amusement parks; ATK PLN, a strategic creative group devoted to commercial and branding projects; and Flight School, which creates immersive, multi-platform experiences using virtual and augmented reality.


About the training program – The financial support from the Gouvernement du Québec, which is provided through the Manpower Training Measure of the Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale, will enable the company to implement its training plan. This will allow its new employees, who will have to be trained in the techniques and technologies developed by Reel FX, to develop these new skills. They will receive very specialized training, given by experts recognized in their field. The jobs created as part of this project will largely be positions involved in animation, lighting techniques, special effects and supervision.


About Montréal International - Created in 1996, Montréal International is a non-profit organization, funded by the private sector, the governments of Canada and Québec, the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal and the Ville de Montréal. Its mandate is to attract foreign investment, international organizations and strategic talent to Greater Montréal.


About Investissement Québec - Investissement Québec’s mission is to foster the growth of investment in Québec, thereby contributing to economic development and job creation in every region. The Corporation offers businesses a full range of financial solutions, including loans, loan guarantees and equity investments, to support them at all stages of their development. It is also responsible for administering tax measures and prospecting for foreign investment.

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