Cinesite VFX to Open Montreal Branch

New studio will employ at least 200 people

London-based company Cinesite VFX will join fellow VFX firms looking to benefit from tax incentives as it sets its sights on Canada.

Québec premier Pauline Marois announced Monday that Cinesite is establishing a Montreal subsidiary that will oversee the company’s North American operations. The new Montreal studio will employ at least 200 people, with the potential to reach 250 employees by 2018 with a capital investment of $6.7 million and a payroll investment of $42.4 million. The Quebec government is also providing a $1.2 million interest-free loan to help finance the project.

Cinesite VFX specializes in producing vfx and animation for both film and TV and its clients include the Walt Disney Co., Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., HBO Films and the BBC. Its credits include “Iron Man 3,” (pictured) nommed for a vfx Oscar, and the upcoming “300: Rise of an Empire” and “The Monuments Men.”

The new facility will produce animated films and carry out R&D on the company’s proprietary production tools.

“The creation of lasting employment in Québec is the priority of my government’s economic policy,” Marois said in a statement. “To attain our objective of creating 43,000 quality jobs by 2017, we are supporting the realization of major economic projects such as the establishment in Montréal of Cinesite Inc. in the rapidly growing visual effects sector. Montréal will thus add a firm of strategic importance to its film and television industry and multimedia sector, one likely to attract to Québec greater numbers of major film   and multimedia productions.”

The folks Cinesite FX aren’t the only ones that have opted for Canadian expansion. Fellow London vfx Company Framestore, known for its work on Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” and the “Harry Potter” franchise, opened a studio in Montreal last year. Technicolor also announced an expansion of its post-production facilities and visual-effects production studio there.

Quebec’s generous incentives have fed a gold-rush atmosphere in Montreal, especially in the visual effects field. Several visual-effects companies there, notably Meteor Studios, Damn FX, Red FX, Fake Studios and Newbreed VFX, have left their artists temporarily or permanently unpaid when they got into financial trouble.

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