Thursday, October 10, 2013

Disney closes Pixar Canada

In a blow to Canadian animation, Disney has decided to close their Pixar Studios in Canada. According to Variety,  Disney spokesperson Barb Matheson said “A decision was made to refocus operations and resources under the one roof...not great news, obviously.”  It is, of course,  a tragedy for everyone working at Disney in Vancouver. But to the grizzled animation veterans at FLIP, this all feels eerily familar.

After all, opening and closing studios is what Disney does. There was Disney Tokyo, where I worked back in 2003 on Piglet's Big Movie. They closed down soon afterwards. There was Disney Florida, which made awesome films such as Mulan and Brother Bear, until they too got closed down, despite the revenues that came from the tourists who paid to come and view them at the Orlando park.

Way back in 1987 Disney opened a facility in London to make Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, where I got my first ever animation job. Then there was Disney Paris, which made Mickey's Runaway Brain, and promptly got closed down.

The big mystery is not so much - why did Disney close Pixar in Canada? - but why did they open it in the first place, given the dismal history of satellite studios?

Pixar released the following statement: “The team at Pixar Canada is incredibly talented and we are so proud of the excellent work we have produced there. However, as we look at the creative and business needs of our studio, we’ve made the decision to refocus our efforts and resources under one roof in Emeryville and will be closing the studio in Vancouver."

You can read the full story at Variety. And while you're at it, check out this preview of Partysaurus Rex, made in Canada.

And, of course, good luck and god speed to everyone who got laid off. We hope that the crew finds new work soon.


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