Madagascar: A Little Wild Madagascar: A Little Wild

Having grown fast in the pandemic, Vancouver’s Mainframe Studios is now going one further and opening a brand-new virtual studio based in Toronto.

Mainframe, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based Wow! Unlimited Media, is looking to hire 100-plus staff from across Ontario. The new studio will be connected to Mainframe’s Global Studio Pipeline, which it developed in 2018 to facilitate outsourcing to international studios, then used last year to help transition employees to remote working.

How can an animation studio be both virtual and in Toronto? The answer: there will eventually be an actual studio in the city, but the company has decided to launch the unit while staff are still working remotely. Once the physical location has opened, Mainframe will adopt a hybrid working model, just as it will for its Vancouver headquarters.

The company’s Ontario-based leadership team includes Tanya Green as head of preschool, Jennifer Bradley as director of 2d production, and Christine Huot as manager, people and culture. There are already local artists currently working on studio productions.

Mainframe started 2020 with around 400 employees. It thrived in the pandemic, and as early as May 2020 announced a plan to scale up its business by permanently embracing a work-from-home model. It now employs around 650 staff. Vancouver staff are expected to start coming back to the studio in early 2022.

The studio, which specializes in cg animation, has recently worked on Dreamworks’ Madagascar: A Little Wild (image at top), Mattel’s Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures, and Netflix’s Spy Kids: Mission Critical. It has 12 titles in production including its first 2d series, Youtube Original The Guava Juice Show.

Kim Dent Wilder, Mainframe’s executive vp, said in a statement: “We’ve had our eye on the amazing talent in Eastern Canada for years. In addition to our Global Studio Pipeline, our recent growth speaks to Mainframe’s strong position to manage projects, attract great talent, and provide the necessary tools for artists including the ability to collaborate virtually across Canada.”

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