VFX/Animation News & Developments for October 2020
  • Friday, Oct. 16, 2020
Mihaela Orzea

Pixomondo Greenlights Virtual Production Studio 
Oscar-winning (Martin Scorsese’s Hugo) VFX company Pixomondo (PXO) announced that construction on one of Canada’s first virtual production studios is underway in Toronto. Set for completion  by the end of 2020, the facility is expected to be the largest in the world and will be overseen by Mahmoud Rahnama, PXO Toronto/Montreal head of studio.

PXO has designed a modular smart stage offering that includes multiple Toronto-based layouts. The stages will be available for shoots, and equipped with on-set PXO personnel for productions using the company’s 3D environment creation services.
Mayfair Equity Partners, which acquired a majority stake in PXO in 2018, is backing the new venture with a significant new financial commitment intended to support the company and accelerate growth in 2021 and beyond.

PXO has assembled a team of technology partners for the new studio, including Unreal Engine from Epic Games, LED manufacturer ROE Visual, and NVIDIA. Initial physical space and other equipment will be provided by Canada’s TV and film equipment rental business, William F. White International. 

PXO CEO Jonny Slow commented: “It’s fantastic to be able to finally announce these new facilities, which represent a major milestone for PXO and a significant additional investment into our Toronto base. I am also delighted to be able to announce the involvement of Epic, ROE, NVIDIA, and William F. White, each of whom has been instrumental in supporting and facilitating our plan to bring a facility of this kind to one of the world’s largest production hubs.”

Recent PXO credits include The Mandalorian (Disney+), Perry Mason (HBO), Raised By Wolves (HBO Max), Carnival Row (Amazon Prime), and The Umbrella Academy (Netflix). 

Upcoming film releases featuring PXO’s VFX work include director Ric Roman Waugh’s Greenland starring Gerard Butler, actor David Oyelowo’s feature directorial debut The Water Man, and Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall.

Orzea Named Head of Folks VFX’s Toronto Studio
Folks VFX, a member of the FuseFX brand family, has named Mihaela Orzea as its new head of studio in Toronto, one of the brands’ seven studio locations across North and South America.

A near 20-year member of the Toronto FX community, Orzea joins Folks VFX after a decade at Pixomondo Toronto, where Mihaela was head of studio in addition to serving as a VFX supervisor and VFX producer on several notable projects, including Ant-Man and the Wasp, Wonder Woman and The Umbrella Academy. Orzea is a well-known mentor and leader in the area, and works as a VFX professor at Centennial College in addition to her full time studio work. Orzea is also a member of the AMPAS Visual Effects branch.

Anderson Joins VFX Legion In B.C.
VFX Legion, known for pioneering remote work, has brought CG supervisor Blake Anderson aboard its studio in British Columbia. The newest addition to the recently launched B.C. division’s leadership team, the industry veteran brings a range of skills and experience managing and collaborating with large work-from-home teams of artists on feature films and episodic series.

Anderson’s 15-years of experience in the industry includes six years as a VFX supervisor for ABC’s hit fantasy TV series Once Upon a Time out of Zoic Studios.  Wonderland, 666, District 9, Stargate Universe, Stargate Atlantis, The 440 and Muppets in Oz are also among his credits.

Helmed by head of production Dylan Yastremski, the new B.C. studio mirrors its L.A. flagship facility’s structure while further expanding the company’s capabilities.  The opening responds to the increasing demand for VFX Legion’s years of experience working exclusively with home-based teams of talent--creating cost-effective, high-quality visual effects for dozens of films and hundreds of TV episodes. 

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