×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vfx talent behind boom

Scout & About: Canada 2012

Visual effects, it seems, are in Montreal’s DNA.

A couple of the most innovative and influential vfx software outfits of all time — Softimage and Discreet Logic — were homegrown ventures. Their legacy continues today with such providers as Rodeo FX, Moment Factory and Hybride Technologies.

In fact, so robust is the effects biz in Quebec’s largest city that it’s pulling back many artists who had once left for other centers, says Rodeo FX prexy Sebastien Moreau, who himself spent years working at Industrial Light and Magic in San Francisco before returning home to set up his own shop six years ago.

His chief technology officer Jordan Soles caught the Montreal effects fever too — leaving Sony Pictures Imageworks to join Rodeo a couple of years ago.

The Quebec tax credit for visual-effects work done in the province is a big factor in this boom, but so is the quality of the work being done in the city, Moreau says. “They get good value for the money they spend.”

Rodeo worked for all the major Hollywood studios, including the “Twilight” franchise, “Mirror Mirror” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Multimedia company Moment Factory raised its profile earlier this year when it provide the eye-popping visuals for Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show. It had already made its mark through its work for Celine Dion, Jay-Z and the stunt at the Coachella music festival during which it launched 1,500 illuminated beach balls into the crowd.

Moment Factory co-founder Sakchin Bessette says Montreal’s high-tech prowess is due to synergies among the city’s theater and performance scene, its robust vidgame business, and its tradition of vfx software development.

All this “makes people think, ‘Yeah we can do it!’ It makes the impossible seem possible,” Bessette says. “Like the Cirque du Soleil. If they can pull it off, why can’t we?”

Located several miles north of Montreal, Hybride celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. The studio was bought four years ago by French games giant Ubisoft, which has a major presence in Montreal.

Hybride has worked with all the main Hollywood players over the past two decades. The company collaborated with Robert Rodriguez on several pics; James Cameron came calling to complete work on “Avatar”; and “Hunger Games” lists the company in its credits.

Hollywood is not coming to Quebec just for the tax-credit savings, according to Hybride prexy Pierre Raymond, echoing many of his colleagues.

“They’re coming for the production values,” he says. “If they can get more shots without jeopardizing the quality, then they’ll call.”

Marc Bourbonnais, head of vfx shingle Modus FX, stresses that town’s shops are not dependent on Hollywood films shooting in Montreal; they’re looking to provide effects for films shot anywhere.

“Montreal has depth,” adds Emilie Dussault, head of business development at Mokko Studio, which recently worked on the “Chronicles of Riddick” sequel, set for a 2013 release, and built its rep with Discovery docu “Last Day of the Dinosaurs.”

“I don’t think people realize yet the potential that Montreal can offer.”

Related Links:
Canucks give U.S. a break

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Chrissy TeigenBaby2Baby Gala, Arrivals, 3Labs, Los

    Chrissy Teigen Receives Giving Tree Award at 2019 Baby2Baby Gala

    Chrissy Teigen accepted the “Giving Tree” Award at the 2019 Baby2Baby Gala on Saturday with a speech chockful of her trademark humor and humility. Upon receiving a standing ovation, Teigen laughingly told the star-studded crowd to sit down, joking that she is more accustomed to receiving an accolade for “Best Titties” at the Spike TV [...]

  • Co-host Rita Moreno performs on stage

    Rita Moreno's Role in New 'West Side Story' Is More Than a Cameo: 'It’s a Real Part'

    During her live show, “An Evening with Rita Moreno,” Saturday night, Rita Moreno told the audience she will have a “real” role in next December’s “West Side Story” remake, which recently wrapped shooting, and that she initially had concerns about the film’s production. “At first, it was interesting when I heard there were rumors that [...]

  • Charlize Theron American Cinematheque

    Seth Rogen, Seth MacFarlane Roast Charlize Theron During Bawdy American Cinematheque Ceremony

    As Charlize Theron accepted the 33rd American Cinematheque honor at the Beverly Hilton on Friday night, the atmosphere more resembled a roast than a reverential evening celebrating the cinematic achievements of an Oscar winner. Presenters like Seth Rogen, Kristen Stewart and Seth MacFarlane shared bawdy jokes and reveals about what it’s really like working with [...]

  • Katie Couric

    Katie Couric Says Matt Lauer 'Ultimately Turned Out to Be Two Very Different People'

    Katie Couric discussed Matt Lauer, the Me Too movement and female leadership in business at the Dress for Success annual Women Who Inspire breakfast in New York City on Wednesday. Couric, who spoke during a fireside chat at the nonprofit’s female empowerment event, was asked about Lauer’s ouster from the “Today” show, and the many [...]

  • Tina Turner Musical

    Oprah Winfrey Joins Tina Turner for the Opening Night of 'Tina' Musical on Broadway

    On Thursday night in New York City, Tina Turner joined the ranks of Cher, Donna Summer, the Temptations and the Jersey Boys — Carole King, too — baptized, as it were, in the disco inferno of a high-powered Broadway jukebox. “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” joins a steady stream of bio-musicals bent on squeezing, often [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content