One hundred employees lost their jobs at Pixar Canada this Tuesday as the Walt Disney Co. suddenly closed its 20,000-square-foot operation in Vancouver’s hip Gastown location.

Pixar came to BC three years ago along with the arrival of other U.S. animation studios including Digital Domain and Sony Pictures Imageworks. The Canadian arm was responsible for testing new ideas and producing direct to video shorts based on Pixar’s feature length films.

The sudden closure comes after Disney’s 2013 internal review aimed at cutting costs. By consolidating operations and keeping everything under one roof at its headquarters in Burbank, California the studio, who shut down the Vancouver operation the same day employees were notified, will move closer to their cost saving goals.

“The team at Pixar Canada has produced a wonderful slate of short films since opening in 2010, including Air Mater, Small Fry and Partysaurus Rex,” read a statement from Pixar. “As the dynamics of the animation industry continue to change rapidly, we continue to fine-tune our studio and its production processes. We have made the determination to refocus our creative and business efforts and resources under one roof.  Pixar Canada will cease operations immediately.”

Pixar’s departure is no sign of decline in Vancouver’s business climate though. Provincial Jobs Minister Shirley Bond noted in a statement that the interactive digital media sector received $26-million in tax breaks in 2012-2013 and an additional $350-million set aside for the film and television industry.

The Globe and Mail reported that, according to the Vancouver Economic Development Commission, more than 1,300 digital media companies in British Columbia employ 22,000 people and generate about $3-billion per year in revenues. About 60 per cent of those companies are in Metro Vancouver.

With the computer animation and effects scene still booming in the city, it won’t be long before the former Pixar employees are scooped up by other studios.

Source: The Globe and Mail

FickrCC/Vancouver Film School

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