A Vancouver-based studio is hoping to reanimate an Ottawa neighbourhood once known as the city’s animation centre.
Thunderbird Entertainment opened its new studio, Atomic Cartoons Ottawa, on Wellington Street W., right in the heart of Hintonburg, earlier this month. The area used to be known as “animation alley,” according to studio manager Chris Wightman, and was home to some of Canada’s first animation studios.
It’s a reputation Wightman is hoping the company can bring back.
“Ottawa [is becoming] a place where we’re pitching, creating our own stories and our own productions, and they’re getting made here,” Wightman told CBC Radio’s All In A Day.
“Ottawa is an amazing city and it’s a great home of culture and arts and amazing talent and schools,” the company’s CEO, Jennifer Twiner McCarron, agreed.
“We looked all over Canada and felt Ottawa would be a great home.”
Animation in Ottawa
Thunderbird is also hoping to replicate the success they found in Vancouver, where the company began with just 14 employees and has grown its workforce to more than 500.
Twiner McCarron said she expects Ottawa’s branch to be buzzing with more than 200 employees in the near future. For now, she said, Atomic Cartoons, Thunderbird’s kids division, is looking for 18 animators.
“We want to help build out Ottawa the same way we are … building out Vancouver,” she said. “We see those possibilities in Ottawa.”
Atomic Cartoons has already started working on a new animated series for Netflix called The Last Kids on Earth, to be produced in Ottawa.
The series, based on a New York Times bestselling book series by Max Brallier, will include 26 episodes. Its makers describe it as a show about a zombie apocalypse that meets The Breakfast Club, and say it will feature some interactive episodes.