Kelowna has earned the attention of an animation studio that’s worked with everyone from Nickelodeon to Warner Bros., and next year when they plant roots in the OkanaganValley, new job opportunities are expected to bloom.
Vancouver-based animation studio Bardel Entertainment Inc. announced Monday a decision to expand operations into Kelowna.
“It is a great opportunity to reach a new talent pool of animators, work with industry leaders such as the Nickelodeon Animation Studio and to provide the alternative of a smaller-town lifestyle for our crews and their families,” said company CEO Delna Bhesania.
Kelowna’s small-town charms were only part of the equation, however. The economic case for the secondary location came from the benefits of having an international airport and access to the regional tax incentives provided by the B.C. government, explained Tracey Mack, the company’s director of development.
A growing talent pool in the area, which is made evident with companies such as Club Penguin, helped as well.
That said, nobody can say when the business will open its doors or how many jobs will come with the satellite office.
“Right now we don’t know,” said Mack. “It’s early days and a lot of it will depend on the talent we can find to work there—the more talent we can find, the more work we can send up there.”
Bardel is currently in discussions with Okanagan College in Kelowna for the development of a two to four year animation program, to help build talent in the region.
They also intend to post an email address for people in Kelowna who may be interested in working, to send resumes.
Bardel is an animation script-to-screen service provider, working with major US studios such as Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Fox, Disney, Sony and Warner Bros.
It is one of a few studios in Canada with production expertise in feature film, television and interactive online content.
The company’s own proprietary shows include the award-winning, Silverwing, The Christmas Orange and Zeke’s Pad.
At peak performance, its Vancouver office employs 200 to 300 people.