Disney/Pixar launching new studio in Vancouver

Fri May 8, 2009 2:59am EDT
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By Carolyn Giardina

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Woody and Buzz are heading north.

To accommodate a growing slate of nonfeature projects, Disney and Pixar will launch an animation studio in the fall in Vancouver.

The focus will be on Pixar's established characters, including Buzz and Woody from the "Toy Story" films and Lightning McQueen and Mater from "Cars."

"The operation will be small in size and dedicated to producing short-form quality computer animation for theme parks, DVDs, television and theatrical exhibition ... for several different divisions of the Walt Disney Co.," Disney/Pixar president Ed Catmull said.

Pixar general manager Jim Morris said he expects the staff to reach 75 to 100. He added that feature work and all stereoscopic 3-D work will still be done at Pixar's headquarters in Emeryville, California.

The venture is the latest example of a company opening a visual effects (VFX) or animation facility in Vancouver. Other residents include Rainmaker, an animation company; CIS Vancouver, a Deluxe-owned VFX business; and Moving Picture Co., a Technicolor-owned VFX facility.

Tax incentives, a local talent base and proximity to Pixar contributed to the decision. Pixar will receive incentives offered for animation production and research and development.

"Canada, and Vancouver specifically, has had terrific tax incentives for this type of work," Pixar general manager Jim Morris said. "I think they have a desire to grow this sort of business activity and get a critical mass. This will allow us to do more with the budgets that we have."   Continued...

<p>In a handout photo from November, 1999, Buzz Lightyear (L) is forced to remind his pal " Woody" that he is a toy, a child's plaything after Woody discovers that he is a highly valued collectible in Disney/Pixar's animated comedy adventure film "Toy Story 2." REUTERS/Handout/File</p>