Three short years after opening it’s first satellite studio in Vancouver, Pixar announced that the studio is to be shut down. The studio was located in the Gastown area of Vancouver, which has seen a recent boon in animation shops that have recently moved to the Canadian town. “A decision was made to refocus operations and resources under the one roof,” said Disney spokesperson Barb Matheson from Toronto. Disney is the parent company of Pixar. Approximately 100 artists and employees are now unemployed by this unexpected news.
These artists worked primarily on Pixar shorts and TV animation, such as Partysaurus Rex, Small Fry and many of the Cars Toons shorts. “As the dynamics of the animation industry continue to change rapidly”, said Pixar in a printed statement. “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.”
There is no word on whether Pixar will move any of the artists from Canada to their main studio in Emeryville, California. Ironically, a local Vancouver publisher BCBusiness published a puff piece on the studio just the day before the closing titled, Inside Pixar Canada’s Offices.
The closure seems contrary to the rest of Vancouver’s growing community of computer animation and effects companies, all of which seem to be doing well in the city. Among other thriving operations are Rainmaker Entertainment (formerly known as Mainframe Entertainment Studios) and Sony Picture’s Canadian animation facility, which had a key role in such recent hits including Hotel Transylvania, The Smurfs 2 and Oz the Great and Powerful.
This closure also throws into question the second of two planned Toy Story TV specials, the first, Toy Story of Terror, was produced in Emeryville, and will air on ABC next week. The second, as yet unnamed Toy Story special was to be completely produced at Pixar Canada, and air next spring on ABC.