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‘The Gold Standard’: The Visual Effects Company Behind ‘Dune’ Officially Opens Its Toronto Studio

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

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

“I’m really excited to make Toronto our next location to aim for an Oscar win,” DNEG chief executive Gavin Graham said at a news conference on Friday.

The company, which also has studios in Vancouver and Montreal, is riding on its latest Oscar win for Best Visual Effects for Dunes, the hit science fiction film directed by Canadian Denis Villeneuve.

DNEG has won multiple Oscars in the visual effects category, for films like Tenant, Blade Runner 2049and Creation.

“The work we are doing is truly cutting edge innovation,” said Paul Salvini, Global Chief Technology Officer for DNEG at Friday’s press conference.

“We’re thrilled to be here, thrilled to have the talent that we’re going to be able to have in Toronto…to continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what’s possible with filmmaking.”

Tory: Toronto is ‘the place you should be’

Toronto Mayor John Tory said 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 where you should be,” Tory said Friday.

Toronto Mayor John Tory joins representatives from visual effects and animation studio DNEG at the opening of its Toronto office on Friday. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

“This is a particularly significant investment and opening…to have the world’s benchmark company…based in Toronto.”

Tory said he was encouraged that the company has already hired 150 people, with plans to hire more.

“As we recover, these are many kinds of jobs — good jobs, well-paying jobs, creativity-based jobs — that we’re going to need in the city,” Tory said.

Toronto’s film production industry set a record last year with over $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.