'The gold standard': Visual effects company behind 'Dune' officially opens Toronto studio

·2 min read
Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part One. Visual effects studio DNEG won the Academy Award for its work on the film. (Warner Bros. - image credit)
Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part One. Visual effects studio DNEG won the Academy Award for its work on the film. (Warner Bros. - image credit)

Oscar-winning visual effects and animation company DNEG officially opened its Toronto studio on Friday.

The studio, located at the corner of Spadina Avenue and Adelaide Street W., already employs 150 people and the company says it's on track to hire 200 employees in its first year.

"I'm really excited to make Toronto our next location to target an Oscar win," said DNEG general manager Gavin Graham at a news conference on Friday.

The company, which also has studios in Vancouver and Montreal, is riding high on its latest Oscar win for best visual effects for Dune, the blockbuster science fiction film directed by Canadian Denis Villeneuve.

DNEG has won several Academy Awards in the visual effects category, for films like Tenet, Blade Runner 2049, and Inception.

"The work that we're doing is truly cutting-edge in terms of innovation," said Paul Salvini, global chief technology officer for DNEG at Friday's news conference.

"We're thrilled to be here, thrilled to have the talent that we're going to be able to have in Toronto...to keep innovating and push the boundaries of what's possible with filmmaking."

Tory: Toronto is the 'place you should be'

Toronto Mayor John Tory says the opening of the DNEG studio in Toronto is a step forward in the city's post-pandemic recovery.

"It's important because it sends a signal all over North America, all over the world, that Toronto is a place you should be," said Tory on Friday.

Martin Trainor/CBC
Martin Trainor/CBC

"This is a particularly significant investment and opening...to have the gold standard, the global standard company...set up in Toronto."

Tory said he's encouraged that the company has already hired 150 people, with the intention to hire more.

"As we recover, these are many of the kinds of jobs— good jobs, well-paid jobs, jobs that are founded on creativity— that we're going to need to have in the city," said Tory.

Toronto's screen production industry set a record last year with more than $2.5 billion in direct spending.

According to city statistics, Toronto saw 1,468 productions and 7,800 production days in 2021.

More than 35,000 people are employed in the screen industry in Toronto, according to the city.

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