One of Vancouver's biggest players in film animation shutters weeks before Christmas

The Vancouver film animation and visual effects studio that won an Academy Award for its work on Life of Pi has closed its doors. 

CBC News has obtained an email sent to staff at the Moving Picture Company (MPC) Wednesday announcing the immediate closure of its Vancouver studio.

The company has not responded to CBC's request for interviews, but in the email it cited "increasing external market pressures" in Vancouver, as well as more attractive opportunities in other locations. 

"This decision has not been taken lightly," the email said.

It's not known how many staff members will be losing their jobs just weeks before Christmas. At its peak in 2013, more than 800 artists worked out of the Vancouver studio. 

Mike Zimmer/CBC

Brenda Bailey, executive director of the Digital Media Association of B.C., said it's a big loss for the city. 

Included in MPC's repertoire is work on The Lion King, Sonic the Hedgehog, Watchmen and Call of the Wild

"They're an important player and they're also really involved with the community here," Bailey said. 

'They're an important player and they're also really involved with the community here.' - Brenda Bailey, DigiBC

The Moving Picture Company was a member of the Digital Media Assocation of BC, which focuses on educating youth and post-secondary students about the industry.

Bailey heard the news in an email sent to her directly from the company. 

She said more needs to be done to create a competitive environment for the film industry in B.C. due to the increased cost of doing business. 

"I think that there is a little bit of uncertainty right now in terms of the tax credits and business doesn't thrive in uncertainty," she said. 

The company also operates studios in Montreal, London, Los Angeles and Bangalore, India. 

There is no word whether any of the other studios are affected by the closure.