Mainframe action

Animator posts solid revs, sees big future

VANCOUVER — Canuck animation leader Mainframe Entertainment has reported revenue of $4.5 million for its first quarter of fiscal 2000, and its prez Ian Pearson told Daily Variety it is poised for a very good year with out-the-door delivery of 52 episodes, and at least double that number in the following year.

Mainframe produces computer animation for TV, direct-to-video, film and interactive media. The firm delivered 10 new episodes of “War Planets” (for Alliance and Summit) and three episodes of “Beast Wars-Transformers” (for Fox Kids) in the quarter. It is in full production of 26 episodes of “Beast Machines” (for Fox Kids) and 13 episodes of “Weird-Ohs” (for Fox Family).

The firm reported a net loss of $560,000 for the quarter, compared with a loss of $2.6 million a year ago, when no deliveries were made.

Mainframe, a five-year-old firm with 250 employees, also has a joint venture with Imax Corp. to co-produce three animated features, starting with “Gulliver’s Travels” due in 2001. The company has other animated features in development.

“We would expand production even more if we could find the people,” Pearson said. “We are looking for animators, technicians and production talent in California, and especially to bring back Canadians working there, but significantly higher Canadian income taxes are a recruiting problem for us.

“Our industry here wants a level playing field, and that means lowering these taxes.”

Pearson said his firm is likely to set up new facilities in Malaysia and Australia within a year.

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