Move expands Cinesite’s feature animation capabilities into Vancouver.

Antony Hunt

Cinesite Studios has acquired Vancouver-based full service animation facility Nitrogen Studios Canada. Terms of the transaction, which closed on March 1, were not disclosed.

The studio animated the children’s show Thomas And Friends and is in production on the second season of Guillermo del Toro’s TV show Trollhunters for DreamWorks Animation, which Netflix will air later this year. Its credits include Seth Rogen’s Sausage Party.

Nitrogen employs 70 creative and production staff and the Cinesite board will work with Nitrogen’s senior team to fast-track the Vancouver facility into the Cinesite Studios group. 

This marks the second acquisition for Cinesite Studios in Vancouver following the July 2015 merger with the visual effects studio Image Engine. Cinesite has facilities in London, Montreal and Vancouver.

Antony Hunt (pictured), group CEO of Cinesite Studios Group, said: “As one of the largest independent studio brands producing visual effects and animation, this acquisition delivers to our group the same capacity in Vancouver that we already have in Montreal, both for VFX and feature animation.

“This allows our customers to invest their production dollars in the two best locations for filmmaking in North America. The opportunity to work with the creative team and crew at Nitrogen allows us to expand our storytelling capabilities, with established creative talent who are ready for new challenges.”

Hunt added: “The creative team are experienced and talented; they animated Thomas And Friends, one of the world’s leading pre-school brands, and are now seeing great success with their recent work on Guillermo del Toro’s Trollhunters. We look forward to collaborating with them to serve our customers and of course on our own content.”

Nitrogen principal Nicole Stinn said: “We have known the folks at Cinesite for a long time and have admired what they have achieved over the past few years. When the opportunity presented for us to make our home with them, we knew it was right for all our stakeholders, staff, customers, suppliers and collaborators. We are delighted to be joining the Cinesite family.”

The Cinesite Studios slate includes the untitled feature animation Harold Lloyd project, the feature film Riverdance, produced by Comic Animations and Ireland’s River Productions, and Imaginary Friend produced by Jeremy Renner and Don Handfield’s The Combine, with Straight Up Films and Comic Animations.