2019 is anticipated to be a major milestone year for Vancouver’s animation and visual effects industry, as the sector is on track to crack the $1 billion mark for the first time.
This represents the tripling of the value of the industry to the local economy since 2012 from $324 million, according to the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC).
Recent productions animated in Vancouver include the recent Academy Award-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, as well as Rick & Morty, Hotel Transylvania 1, 2 & 3, Beat Bugs, Bob’s Burgers and Angry Birds.
The local industry received a boost last fall when VEC and Film London signed a memorandum of understanding, which is an agreement to have Vancouver and the British capital work together on scoping business collaborations, cross-promoting intellectual properties at key international events and markets, supporting companies with presences in both cities, and pooling expertise.
A British delegation led by Film London that includes representatives from five major London studios — Axis Animation, Lupus Films, Blue Zoo, Jellyfish Pictures, and GFM Films — are currently in Vancouver to explore leads and co-production opportunities with their counterparts in the city.
“With the global market for animation hotter than ever, there has never been a better opportunity for Vancouver and London to unite for economic development,” said Catherine Warren, CEO of the VEC.
“Technology is transforming the business of animation, and our cities are also renowned tech and startup hubs as well as world-leading creative clusters. Now is the time to build on our animation expertise and deal-making, to leverage and strengthen the ties across our creative industries, and to stimulate job growth and employment opportunities for future generations.”
Both cities are hoping to capture a larger share of the growing global industry, including commissioned content work from Amazon Prime and Netflix, which are slated to double their budgets for animation works by 2021.
A report released last year by the VEC notes the total spend of BC’s film and television production industry has more than doubled from $1.6 billion in 2012 to $3.8 billion in 2017. The total payroll for the film, television, animation, and visual effects industries combined in the province in 2017 was over $2 billion.