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Montreal toons are booming. How Oasis Animation is meeting the demand

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After years of continual growth and international service work on productions like The Little Prince, Montreal’s animation boom has only gathered more speed in 2018. In April, Reel FX released plans for a 400-seat studio. Not long after, Technicolor-owned Mill Film said it would be opening its own location by the end of this summer. And just last week, Oasis Animation announced it would be doubling its 2D animation production capacity and artist seat count by the end of 2019 at a launch event attended by Anthony Housefather (Member of Parliament for Mount Royal), David Birnbaum (Member of Quebec National Assembly for D'Arcy-McGee), local media and industry professionals.  

According to “The Globe and Mail”, Montreal has been an industry hub since the 1940s, when Norman McLaren set up Studio A at the National Film Board. Today, the city has benefited largely from advancements in digital technologies, an educated workforce and generous tax incentives, with over 40 companies employing more than 3,000 professionals in animation, visual effects and digital-production services. Globally, Montreal now ranks fourth in these areas.

Oasis Animation is already the largest 2D animation studio in Quebec. The leading Canadian company has announced a $3.33 million major expansion, which will see it grow its production capacity, increase and and modernize its infrastructure and hire 100 new digital animators. The studio is not only recruiting top talent, but developing it by becoming a Toon Boom Authorized Training Centre (ATC).

oasis_animation_toon_boomSource: Oasis Animation.

“Over the past few years, the increasing quality of our productions has been recognized on the international marketplace and helped to showcase the talent of our artists abroad,” said Jacques Bilodeau, founding president of Oasis Animation.

Launching in Fall 2018, the ATC will be free to young artists and the first of its kind in Canada, training them in world-leading animation software Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony. Built directly into Oasis’ Montreal headquarters, the campus is made possible by $216,724 in financial assistance from the ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale (MTESS). By recruiting and training 100 new animators, Oasis will effectively double its production capacity and workforce by next year’s end.

“Although many of our productions, such as Two Nuts and a Richard (Teletoon at Night) and Ben’s City (Société Radio-Canada/CBC), have made their mark in Québec, more than 50 percent of our revenues come from outside Canada, mainly from the United States. In 2018 and 2019, more than 80 percent of our revenues will come from the export of digital animation services,” Bilodeau continues.

peruse_cite_oasis_animation_toon_boomSource: Oasis Animation.

Having experienced year-over-year growth since being founded in 2003, the investment will empower Oasis Animation to compete with other service work studios in the United States and overseas. This injection of Toon Boom-trained talent will also help meet its clients’ surging demands for high-quality 2D animation, including series like Kulipari, Arthur and its own IPs like Billy Stuart, a project in development with Télévision francaise de l’Ontario (TFO) and Société Radio-Canada (SRC).

The studio’s growth is also being supported by two repayable financial contributions —$577,500 the Québec Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation (MESI) and $425,000 from Canada Economic Development (CED)— as well as an over $2 million investment from Oasis Animation itself. This will provide immediate cultural and economic benefits to the local industry and help the production company meet the needs of a global animation market that seems to only have growing amour for Montreal and its talent.

For more information on the Oasis Animation Authorized Training Centre, click here.

Banner image source: Oasis Animation.

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