Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) is opening a new facility in Vancouver as it expands into series. The studio is hiring immediately and set to open in January 2022.
The Vancouver location will focus on long-form series and specials, all exclusively bound for Disney+. Its first project will be the Moana spin-off series, produced by Osnat Shurer (Raya and the Last Dragon), which will debut in 2024.
Meanwhile, features will continue to be produced at WDAS’s Burbank base, which is due to expand beyond its current 900-plus employees. The studio will also handle shorter-form series such as the upcoming Baymax and Zootopia+. It will remain the home of story development, storyboarding, and production design for all WDAS projects.
The Vancouver facility will be headed by Amir Nasrabadi, who was most recently executive vp and general manager at Wildbrain Studios. He led the short-lived Pixar Canada in Vancouver, which Disney shut in 2013. His résumé also includes senior leadership roles at Illumination and Paramount, and a stint as vp of finance and operations at WDAS.
At its Investor Day in December, Disney revealed that WDAS (and Pixar) would start producing series. As well as the shows mentioned above, WDAS is also at work on Tiana, a spin-off from The Princess and the Frog, and Iwájú, a science-fiction series WDAS is producing with pan-African entertainment company Kugali.
Announcing the Vancouver studio, WDAS president Clark Spencer said in a statement: “With Burbank and Vancouver both home to some of the world’s most talented artists and technicians, we believe the storytelling and visual quality created within each location will meet the incredibly high standards we set for ourselves and audiences have come to expect from Disney Animation.”