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Animation, VFX studio Cinesite acquires majority stake in French Canada’s Squeeze

Squeeze is behind animated series Cracké

London-based animation and VFX studio Cinesite, which has offices in Montreal and Vancouver, has acquired a majority stake in French-Canadian animation and motion-capture studio Squeeze.

Located in Quebec City and Montreal, Squeeze was co-founded in 2011 by Denis Doré and Patrick Beaulieu, with chief financial officer François Houde joining in 2014.

Boasting a creative team of more than 200 artists and technical experts, the company works with clients including Disney, Marvel, Universal and Warner Bros. It has a motion-capture studio in Montreal and is the creator of Cracké, an animated TV series broadcasted in over 210 territories.

Cinesite said the acquisition would allow it to further increase its animation content and service offerings for international markets, while bringing motion-capture and Unreal engine capabilities into the group to service video game and film productions.

Squeeze is the fifth studio to join the Cinesite group, following Image Engine in 2015, Nitrogen Studios (renamed Cinesite Vancouver) in 2017, German VFX studio Trixter in 2018 and, most recently, L’Atelier Animation last month.

Squeeze will retain its brand and creative centre, while its staff will continue to work under the leadership of CEO Doré and Houde. The studio is currently in production on various gaming and theme park projects, as well as an unannounced animated feature film.

The Squeeze management team will work with Cinesite Animation chief operating officer Brad Wald to integrate the company and expand its Montreal footprint to meet the growing demand for animated content.

The deal means more than 780 employees now work for the Cinesite group across Canada to deliver animated content under the Cinesite, L’Atelier Animation and Squeeze brands.

Cinesite’s studios in London, Montreal and Vancouver have completed 10 animated feature films to date, including The Addams Family and its sequel (MGM), Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank (Paramount Animation) and Riverdance: The Animated Adventure (Netflix).

The company is currently in production on Hitpig and Animal Farm (Aniventure), Iwaju (Disney+) and a CG reimagining of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Nickelodeon and Point Grey Pictures.

Cinesite Group CEO Antony Hunt said: “Squeeze is a fantastic addition, not only for its successful original IP Cracké and for its world-class animation portfolio, but also for its mocap capabilities and scale, and the opportunity to further enhance a dynamic Montreal-based hub for the Cinesite group as a rapidly growing family entertainment powerhouse.”

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