VFX house Atomic Fiction has opened a new office in Montreal, a sister studio to the company’s home in Oakland, Calif.
The 15,000 square foot downtown facility is already home to more than 40 artists and support staff, overseen by senior producer Julie Cardinal. Atomic Fiction hopes to ramp up to 120-140 employees in Montreal over the next two years, including 100 artists.
In a written statement, Atomic Fiction co-founder and VFX supervisor Kevin said the company does not view Montreal as a satellite office. “It’s a flagship studio, and we’re building a culture that allows artists to thrive, develop their careers and create amazing work,” Baille said.
The facility is already at work on Robert Zemeckis’s upcoming film, “The Walk.” Co-written, co-produced and directed by Zemeckis, “The Walk” details the story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit, who in 1974 walked between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Petit. Baille is overseeing the company’s vfx work on the film in Montreal.
Atomic Fiction is a pioneer in the use of cloud rendering for visual effects. That makes it possible for the company to ramp up production quickly without having to purchase and install racks of servers for rendering.
Montreal’s generous tax incentives have lured digital production to Quebec from California, British Columbia, the U.K. and elsewhere. Atomic Fiction’s president of feature visual effects Marc Sadeghi told Variety every project at the company will be worked on in both the Oakland and Montreal offices, but acknowledged that some projects may be more heavily focused in the new studio due to Montreal’s tax incentives.
While Montreal’s vfx scene has earned a bad reputation for leaving artists unpaid, Sadeghi said Atomic Fiction is confident in its corporate culture, and has even found recruiting to be slightly easier north of the border.
“We feel like our practices actually create a bastion of stability for the artists,” Sadeghi said. “We feel like the connectivity between us and the Oakland office also adds that cultural fit as well.”
Founded in 2010, Atomic Fiction’s feature film credits include “Star Trek: Into the Darkness,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Flight” and “Looper.”