News release

New Animation Studios for N.S.

NOTE: imX communications inc. is correct.

Halifax and Ottawa companies are about to give birth to two new animation studios in Nova Scotia.

Halifax's imX communications inc., together with Funbag Animation Studios Inc. and PIP Animation Services Inc. of Ottawa, will establish Helix Animation Inc. in Halifax and Helix Digital Inc. in Sydney.

The new production houses will create a minimum of 77 jobs over three years: 22 in Halifax and 55 in Sydney. They are actively recruiting qualified and classically trained animation artists.

While the new Helix studios will be primarily service facilities, they will also give rise to three new co-productions, including a television series based on the comic strip For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston, an animated Christmas musical, The Other Side of the Pole, and Crafty Cow, a Canadian-British co-production based on a character from The Real Howard Spitz starring Kelsey Grammer.

"We decided to establish both Helix production houses in Nova Scotia for a number of reasons," said Chris Zimmer, president of imX communications. "The province's vibrant film and television production community, world-class digital telecommunications infrastructure and competitive tax credits make this an attractive location."

In Halifax, Helix Animation staff will perform layout, design and posing services primarily for Canadian and U.S. clients. The partners have entered into an agreement with Adner Animation Productions Inc. to manage the Halifax studio.

Sydney's Helix Digital will supply ink, paint and composite services to a similar international client base.

"Both facilities will be part of a worldwide, high-speed, digital-production network connecting them with Funbag and PIP, as well as studios in the Far East and other partners in the animation production process," said Frank Taylor, vice-president of business affairs, Funbag Animation Studios.
"The establishment of these two studios is the keystone in creating the capacity to carry out most aspects of the animation process in this province," said Dulcie Clark, president of PIP. "This translates into real financial savings and greater quality control for Canadian producers, who will no longer have to look outside of the country to complete their projects."
"Over the past few years, Nova Scotia's film and television industries have experienced unprecedented growth. Today's announcement will help to ensure that this growth continues," said Manning MacDonald, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. "These new studios will create good jobs in the entertainment industry here, will perfect local expertise and will fuel Nova Scotia's growing reputation for producing award-winning film and television work."

Economic Development and Tourism will provide Helix Animation with a rebate of 10 per cent on the company's incremental payroll for four years, up to a maximum of $425,000. A rebate of 10 per cent will also be provided to Helix Digital on the company's incremental payroll for five years, up to a maximum of $642,867. Payments will be made to the companies at the end of each year after the jobs have been created. The province will start to recoup its investment through payroll taxes from the new jobs as the rebate is being paid out.

Both Helix Animation and Helix Digital have to achieve their job targets if either company is to receive a rebate.

Production at both studios is scheduled to start this fall.


BRIEF BACKGROUND ON PARENT COMPANIES

An independent production company, imX communications inc. of Halifax offers financial and creative film and television partnerships. The company has established an international reputation for specializing in award-winning international co-productions. Recent co-production features include Love and Death on Long Island and Margaret's Museum.

Funbag Animation Studios Inc. of Ottawa is a full-service animation production company currently producing more than 130 half-hours of television programming per year.

PIP Animation Services Inc. of Ottawa is an animation service facility specializing in high-end digital production services.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotia will soon be home to two new animation studios.

A partnership of Halifax and Ottawa companies will set up Helix Animation Incorporated in Halifax and Helix Digital Incorporated in Sydney.

The studios will employ a minimum of 77 people over the next three years.

They'll provide services for Canadian and American clients, and begin co-productions of their own.

The productions include a TV series based on the comic strip "For Better or For Worse," an animated Christmas musical, and "Crafty Cow," a character from the movie "The Real Howard Spitz."

The studios will receive provincial assistance in the form of payroll rebates if they meet their job targets.

Both Helix studios plan to start production in the fall.

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Contact:

Mary Anna Jollymore
Economic Development and Tourism 902-424-4998 E-mail:
Krista Jera Olmstead
Double Helix Animation Studios 902-422-4000 E-mail: