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Visual effects house DNEG — Christopher Nolan’s go-to VFX house whose work has earned Oscars for the director’s Inception, Interstellar and Tenet — plans to add a new base in Toronto, and in total an estimated 500 employees across Canada. The news follows the Aug. 18 announcement that DNEG parent company Prime Focus raised $250 million from investor Novator Capital Advisors.
London-headquartered DNEG — whose upcoming VFX credits include Dune, The Matrix 4, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Last Night In Soho and Bond film No Time to Die — has also been expanding into feature animation and content creation in areas such as gaming. In feature animation, it was a digital production partner on upcoming Ron’s Gone Wrong; DNEG also announced that it’s developing an animated retelling of The Great Gatsby with director William Joyce.
DNEG’s plans for a Toronto studio is expected to create up to 200 new jobs (initially in a remote-work capacity due to the pandemic), encompassing VFX for film and episodic projects, feature animation, and technology. DNEG global CTO Paul Salvini said new tech jobs would involve working in areas including AI and machine learning. The Toronto facility will also house a base for ReDefine, DNEG’s brand for work on smaller projects.
The company also plans to create up to 300 new roles across its Vancouver and Montreal locations, including up to 100 new positions in Vancouver for its feature animation division. DNEG’s Vancouver VFX business, which opened in 2014, currently employs roughly 500, primarily in feature VFX with recent work included Dune. The Montreal base opened in 2017 and currently employees roughly 800 who work in features, episodic and animation (as well as ReDefine); credits include Netflix’s Shadow & Bone and Disney+’s The Right Stuff.
Said DNEG chairman and CEO Namit Malhotra, “Growth in our Canadian talent and capabilities will help us strategically align with the demands of the entertainment industry and seize upon our new growth initiatives and content creation opportunities.”
With the Aug. 18 investment, Malhotra, also the founder and non-executive director of Prime Focus, has grown his stake in Prime Focus from 35 percent to approximately 70 percent. Additionally, Novator now owns a 15 percent stake in DNEG.
DNEG employees an estimated 7,000 people across its bases, which in addition to the sites in Canada include its London headquarters, Los Angeles base, and four locations in India (Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai and Mumbai).
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