Québec has truly become a global special effects hub over the past decade. This success story is no mere coincidence, however. The industry, mainly concentrated in the Greater Montréal area, owes its beginnings and meteoric growth to the ingenuity and artistic talent of Québec entrepreneurs. Today, over 1,000 of the 12,600 direct jobs in the film and television production industry are in visual effects and 2D/3D computer animation for the audiovisual sector. Key Montréal players in the field include Autodesk, Rodeo FX, Modus FX, Mokko Studio, Digital Dimension, Moment Factory, Hybride and Vision Globale, to name just a few.
Industry support that pays off
To support the growth of the special effects industry, the Québec government is offering companies favourable tax terms that meet industry needs. Incentives for the film and multimedia industry include the Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit, which covers 25% of eligible production costs, and additional assistance covering 20% of certain labour costs. With such support measures and many others, Québec’s tax scheme for the special effects industry is among the most competitive in the world.
Tax incentives have spurred many foreign special effects companies to open and expand subsidiaries in Montréal over the past few years. Cinesite Inc.’s decision to open a special effects studio in Montréal, announced on January 20, is just one in a line of recent investment projects undertaken by companies such as BUF, Technicolor, Framestore and Mikros. These projects alone will add at least 650 jobs in the industry by 2018.
Made-in-Montréal special effects hitting movie theatres near you
While watching X-Men: Days of Future Past, Cinderella, Into the Woods, RoboCop, Edge of Tomorrow, Paddington or Dracula, remember that there is a piece of Montréal genius on your screen. These achievements follow other notable made-in-Québec special effects projects such as those of six-time Emmy Award winner Digital Dimension (Clash of the Titans, Pink Panther 2, LOST, The Last Samurai). Around 170 foreign movies have been shot in Montréal in the past five years, with filmmakers relying heavily on Québec’s post-production and special effects expertise.
And that’s not all! The work of Montréal studios reaches far beyond the big and small screen. Take, for instance, the special effects created by Moment Factory for Madonna’s Super Bowl 2012 halftime show, or the shows of artists such as Cirque du Soleil, Céline Dion, Arcade Fire and Nine Inch Nails.
With so much talent in the area, it’s not without reason that White Star Capital, a fund that invests seed and start-up capital in forward-looking companies in the information and communications technology industry, announced in January that it would open an office in Montréal.