Tangent Animation, a studio in Toronto and Winnipeg, announced yesterday that they were shutting down production on all projects. The unexpected news came as a likely shock to staffers, who were working on multiple feature film projects for Netflix at the time.
The total number of workers affected is not clear, though we have heard up to 400 people worked between Tangent’s two locations. It is also unclear if the studio will reopen or reorganize at some point. The only thing anyone knows at the moment is that the studio has shut down production and laid off everyone. Cartoon Brew reached out to Tangent for comment, but has not heard back yet. We will update the story if they respond.
Established in 2014, Tangent had previously produced Netflix’s Next Gen and the Spanish/Canadian co-production Ozzy. Notably, the studio had built an unconventional production pipeline using open-source Blender software rather than the standard Autodesk Maya pipeline. Tangent’s sister companies are Tangent Labs, which recently launched the cloud-based cg production pipeline Loupe, and Tangent Interactive. It’s unclear if the latter companies were impacted by the production shutdown.
Ironically, even though the studio promoted its usage of Blender, its upcoming project was Netflix’s long-awaited limited series Maya and the Three.
A source with knowledge of the situation told Cartoon Brew this morning that Tangent had already completed work on Maya, which will launch on Netflix later this year.
Apparently, both Netflix and Tangent were to some extent responsible for the collapse of the productions. The crews who are now unemployed were caught in the middle of an unfortunate situation.
Both Monkey King and High in the Clouds have celebrity producers who lack extensive knowledge of animation production – Stephen Chow and Paul McCartney, respectively – which likely complicated the relationship between Netflix and Tangent.
The shutdown of Tangent happens almost five years to the day when another major Toronto cg studio, Arc Productions, unexpectedly declared bankruptcy and shut down.
UPDATE: Jorge Gutierrez, creator of Netflix’s upcoming Maya and the Three, has commented on Twitter about the studio’s closure:
This is heartbreaking. I wholeheartedly adored working with all the brilliant and ridiculously talented artists, artisans and producers at Tangent. What they accomplished with Maya and the Three is EPIC. I’m jealous of future directors that will be lucky to create with them. https://t.co/Q2TX8HHrX4
— Jorge R. Gutierrez (@mexopolis) August 4, 2021
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