Alberta is ideally positioned to be an interdisciplinary digital media production hub through growth of the animation and visual effects (VFX) industry.
At the 2023 Banff World Media Festival, Calgary Economic Development released Key Frames: A Growth Strategy for Animation and VFX in Alberta, a strategy developed in partnership with the Edmonton Screen Industries Office.
“Animation and VFX are key sectors in the overall screen industry that have gained substantial momentum in Alberta in recent years” said Tori Romano, Business Development Manager, Digital Media and Entertainment, Calgary Economic Development.
Consumer demand for streaming high-quality film and television productions has increased steadily over recent years, which has encouraged development of the global animation and VFX market.
“The digital media and entertainment industry, as a whole, is interconnected,” said Romano. “The Key Frames strategy uncovers the benefits and opportunities Alberta has to drive the growth in the creative economy through the animation and VFX industries.”
In 2020, US $155.3 billion was the global spend for the animation and VFX market. With the global market projected to grow to US $289.4 billion by 2026, this strategy capitalizes on the 10.9 per cent combined annual market growth rate and sets a vision for the future of Alberta’s creative economy.
“Launching the new animation and VFX strategy in Alberta is the next step in powering an already vibrant industry. This toolset empowers our partners to steer our growth and position Alberta prominently in the global VFX and animation scene,” said Tom Viinikka, CEO, Edmonton Screen Industries Office.
The province is already positioned as a leading centre for digital media productions in Canada and a destination for global animation and VFX talent and studios. Ninety-three per cent of Alberta’s animation and VFX studios are Canadian-owned, and 65 per cent of studios have IP projects in the works or on the horizon.
Beyond the entertainment industry, technologies and applications of animation and VFX are increasingly used in marketing campaigns and gamification of learning.
Four pillars for the future of Alberta’s animation and VFX industry
The growth strategy identifies actionable initiatives in four pillars – Talent, Ecosystem, Access to Opportunities and Intellectual Property (IP) – to position the industry for sustainable, long-term growth.
“The pillars outlined in the Key Frames strategy will give studios, decision makers, post-secondaries and key partners tangible guidelines on how best to champion the growth of the animation and VFX industries,” said Romano.
Development of the animation and VFX sectors align with Calgary’s vision to be a creative hub and top location for businesses across industries in the economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy.
- Talent: Growth of the industry can be realized through absorption and retention of locally trained multidisciplinary talent. Many of these bright minds train at one of the more than 10 unique animation, 3D graphics, computing science, game development, digital media and visual effects education and training programs in Alberta.
- Ecosystem: With a push for collaboration over competition among key players, the growth strategy identifies opportunities to facilitate pathways towards an interconnected ecosystem.
- Access to Opportunities: As Alberta’s screen industry grows, the province has the potential to be a one-stop shop for digital media production. The growth strategy identifies opportunities to facilitate access to funding, investment and markets to help the industry scale locally and be a major player internationally.
- Intellectual Property (IP): An environment conducive to creating and retaining intellectual property generates sustainable growth and attracts top talent. Key Frames explores a long-term objective to facilitate IP development and owners to solidify downstream revenue for studios and creators.
Access the full Key Frames: A Growth Strategy for Animation and VFX in Alberta and Key Frames Highlights to dive deeper.
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Key Frames: A Growth Strategy for Animation and VFX in Alberta