German VFX Giant Trixter Films Opens Toronto Studio

Iron Man 3 VFX H
Digital Domain

The 'Iron Man 3' effects maker is the latest foreign player to launch a Canadian beachhead

German animation group Trixter Film has launched a Canadian studio to do visual effects on international co-productions.

The Toronto facility is Trixter's fourth after earlier studios opened in Munich, Berlin and Los Angeles. Michael Coldewey, who founded Trixter with Simone Kraus, said the Munich-based group had eyed a Canadian base for some time.

The studio will be run by financiers Michael Gianfriddo and Ken Mandeville via a newly-launched Toronto-based holding company, Trixter Inc. in which the duo have taken unspecified stakes. The latest Trixter studio will offer animation and visual effects services, while also developing, producing and co-producing film, TV and other media content with international producer partners.

"Partnering with Ken and Michael is strategically the best choice because now we will closer to our U.S. clients and also offer the advantages Ontario provides to our international co-productions," Coldewey said Friday in a statement. Gianfriddo is CFO of Trixter Inc. and Ken Mandeville chief executive of business development and COO.

Trixter's credits include Iron Man 3, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers and the sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron. Trixter is the latest VFX and animation player to open a Canadian beachhead as the post production business is increasingly driven by competitive tax incentives.

Rival German VFX group Pixomondo in July 2014 expanded its Canadian presence as the visual effects contributor to HBO's Game of Thrones opened a new facility at Revival 629 in downtown Toronto. The German visual effects house last year closed its operations in London, while also establishing a studio presence at Pinewood Toronto Studios on Toronto's portlands.

Elsewhere, foreign VFX players like BUF, Atomic Fiction, Technicolor, Framestore, Cinesite and Moving Picture Company have set up or expanded in Canada thanks to the offer of generous federal and provincial tax credits and subsidies for digital work completed locally.