Starz Animation Toronto Opens VFX, Creature Animation Division

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Starz Animation Toronto — the studio behind the just-released animated feature film Gnomeo and Juliet — is expanding, opening a new visual effects and creature animation division.

The new division has already topped 100 employees — drawing especially on the crew of the now defunct C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures company — and is working on three high-profile projects:

  • Camelot, an Irish-Canadian co-production retelling the legend of King Arthur and starring Joseph Fiennes, Eva Green and Jamie Campbell Bower. Camelot is being produced for the Toronto studio’s parent company Starz Entertainment and Oscar-winner Graham King’s GK-tv. Starz Animation Toronto is delivering all 600 shots for the project, set to air on Starz starting April 1.
  • Robosapien: Rebooted, a theatrical live-action family film from Avi Arad Productions, for which Starz Animation Toronto is animating the title character.
  • Dolphin Tale, a fall 2011 release from Alcon Films and Warner Bros., starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. Starz Animation Toronto is provideing all the VFX for this stereoscopic film.

“We’re already known as the guys who can deliver quality performance animation consistently and affordably, as proven these past few years on films like (Tim Burton’s) 9 and our latest, Gnomeo and Juliet,” said head of studio David Steinberg. “The opportunity hit us like a two-by-four to bring that same ‘wow factor’ to the great big world of VFX. We knew we could leverage our pipeline and infrastructure, but the clincher was when we met seasoned supervisors like Bret Culp and Terry Bradley — these guys have 40 years of feature and TV VFX experience between them – and the incredible team of talent they helped us wrangle, who are already producing mind-blowing shots for our clients.”

“It was an easy decision for me and my colleagues to join the Starz team and help develop a new VFX division,” says Culp, who led VFX for films like Silent Hill and such TV projects as The Tudors. “Right out of the gate, this new unit is one of the strongest I’ve ever worked with, both because of the talent we’ve assembled and the great resources and inspiring environment that a place like Starz Animation provides.”