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Canadian Government Announces Funding For 3 Montreal Animation/VR Studios

The fast-growing animation, vfx, and new media industries in Montréal are getting a boost from the Canadian government, which is awarding a total of $650,000 CAD in repayable contributions to three different studios.

The funding, which come from the Canada Economic Development (CED) for Quebec Region, will go to L’Atelier Animation, Tonic DNA, and Luckyhammers Entertainment. The respective projects from those companies will generate a total investment of over $3 million CAD and result in the creation of nearly 150 jobs in the Montréal area.

“By helping businesses invest in equipment and tools that will make them more productive, and by encouraging product marketing and market development projects, the Government of Canada is remaining true to its commitments of stimulating expansion, innovation and exporting,” Marc Garneau, minister of transport and Parliament member said last Friday.

L’Atelier Animation, which was the animation service provider for Ballerina and the just-released Netflix series Robozuna (pictured above), is receiving the largest investment at $450,000. The studio, which is ramping up for the upcoming production of the cg feature Fireheart will use the funds (as part of a total investment of $1.982 million that is making) to expand its facilities.

The key activities to be undertaken will be purchasing and installing computer equipment, tools and materials, leasehold improvement work, and employee training. The studio expects to create 72 full-time jobs through the expansion.

“L’Atelier Animation is currently experiencing significant growth, and technological services need to keep pace,” says Peter Skovsbo, general manager, L’Atelier Animation. “As a Quebec studio, L’Atelier will use CED’s funding to acquire state-of-the-art 3d animation technology and strengthen its position among industry leaders.”

Tonic DNA (formerly Studio Pascal Blais), which produces hand-drawn, cg, and stop-motion animation, mostly for commercials, but also for shorts and other long-form projects, will receive a repayable contribution of $125,000. The studio is investing a total of $806,840.

Tonic DNA will use the funds to continue its recent growth through the purchase of equipment and the implementation of an international marketing strategy, with a focus on the United States, Mexico, and Europe, that will include hiring new sales staff and participating in more trade events. Fifty full-time jobs are expected to be created through the investment.

“Beyond its financial contribution, CED’s involvement is a strong motivator, and it increases our confidence in our ability to get our projects off the ground,” says Bernard Lajoie, executive producer, Tonic DNA.

Luckyhammers Entertainment, which develops mobile and virtual reality games, will use its $75,000 investment to purchase computer and virtual reality equipment in order to set up the first vr room in Canada using StarVR technology and increase its production capacity. Twenty-four new jobs have already been created through the company’s overall investment of $250,000.

Quebec’s vfx and animation industries have exploded in the past five years, recording job growth of 190%. Last year, Quebec province generated animation/vfx contracts totalling $262 million and employed 3,000 people. This doesn’t take into the province’s video game industry, which employs an additional 10,000 workers, largely centered in the Greater Montréal area.

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