Digital company follows Vancouver tax rebate drum beat

Visual effects company Rhythm & Hues Studio is gearing up to launch a Canadian branch and expand its operations in Asia.

R&H, based in El Segundo, Calif., will open its Vancouver branch no later than Jan. 9 prexy Lee Berger told Variety. The plan is to start start small but possibly grow to as many as 150 staffers. Move marks the company’s first expansion to Canada.

“Rhythm & Hues has done a great job of expanding in Asia and we’ve been able to give competitive prices for our work to our clients because of that. And we felt we also needed to be also in a territory that gave a tax credit, as part of the arsenal or the list of things we could offer our clients that would keep us competitive,” Berger said.

Tax credits have turned Vancouver into a center for digital production, with Pixar, Moving Picture Co., Digital Domain and others opening branches there. No site for the office has been chosen yet.

Company is also eyeing its next expansion. Sometime in 2012 it will open another facility in India, where it already has branches in Mumbai and Hyderabad. Berger said the new facility will likely be in a different city, so it can draw on a fresh talent pool.

R&H also has a facility in Malaysia, so this would make four Asian facilities in addition to the Vancouver branch and the California HQ.

Known for its expertise in digital animals, R&H also has an active development slate for its own pictures (Daily Variety, June 9) and the additional capacity is expected to help when it starts to put its own pics into production. It was a producer on Warner Bros.’ “Yogi Bear.”

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