Largest Hand Drawn Animation Studio Formed in Canada-Colombia JV

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — ConVRter Technologies Inc. of Vancouver, announced that it is forming Last Studio Standing Inc. ( with Conexion Creativa of Colombia in order to make the largest hand drawn studio in the Americas.

The company is focusing on science fiction-based animated film and television productions including science based children’s content.  In addition, they will co-produce adult animation content that does not fall into the manga genre. “We are taking a new path for animated film, but one that is well traveled in graphic novels and popular with audiences, yet not as prevalent in the mainstream media as it should be,” said ConVRter Technologies CEO Jonathan Kitzen.

Conexion Creativa has over two decades of animation experience and has produced nearly 10,000 minutes of on-air programming to date. “With the new JV we will now be entering the North American and European market for the first time,” said Hernan Zajec, president of Conexion Creativa. Until now, Conexion Creativa had been focused on Spanish language programming for Central and South American audiences, but with the new Canadian entity, the company plans on homing in on English language entertainment for the first time.

The formation of Last Studio Standing marries the latest improvements in Computer Generated Imaging (CGI), visual artificial intelligence, convolutional neural networks, sound design, and new Ultra HD workflow with old-school organic drawing. Conexion Creativa is the last large hand drawn animation studio in all of North and South America, and one of only two in the world still using a paper workflow. Conexion Creativa will focus on character design and the core of the animation. The plan is a hybrid of hand drawn and computer generated backgrounds that combines the two systems for a fast and efficient workflow.

“Hand drawn still has its place in a world of CGI. There is still a desire for that organic look, that quality a computer cannot create, however, with this hybrid approach, I think we get the best of both worlds,” said Zajec. “CGI has its place but that doesn’t mean that hand drawn is dead—there is a desire for both according to extensive market research,” added Kitzen.

The first film from Last Studio Standing is Tonya (almost) Saves the Earth, a sci-fi comedy to  be released in the Spring of 2017. In the film, a 13-year-old high school student is abducted at random and asked to mount a defense of humanity against aliens who believe the humans are too violent and aggressive for the safety of the galaxy. As evidence, the aliens rely on intercepted Hollywood films that show human’s triumphantly killing the aliens time and again. “At first we thought it was just a fun film – but after Brexit, Trump, and the rise of anti-religious and anti-immigrant political movements it really became a film about xenophobia and the fear of ‘other’ that is a very human fear,” said Jessica Hendrickson, who is a creative producer on the project. “It is a good film because Last Studio Standing is all about making two competing styles get along so it is metaphorically about story, the real world, and combinations that have new outcomes – it is a good place for a company to start,” said Zajec.

About ConVRter Technologies
ConVRter is a Canadian based corporation founded in 2013 and the recipient of National Research Council funding for experimental vision systems.

About Conexion Creativa
Conexion Creativa is an award winning Colombian animation studio with the largest output of any Latin American company. It is currently the largest hand drawn animation studio in the Western Hemisphere.


Want to make an animated film? Apply to NFB’s Hothouse program for emerging Canadian animators!

hothouse-logoWant to make an animated film?

Apply by December 11 for the chance to be part of the NFB’s

Hothouse program for emerging Canadian animators

NFB studios across Canada to take part in Hothouse’s 11th season

November 26, 2015 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is seeking submissions for its Hothouse apprenticeship program for emerging Canadian animators, now in its 11th season.

Canadian filmmakers and artists can apply at by December 11 for the chance to be one of six participants in a 12-week paid apprenticeship program with NFB animation professionals—a one-of-a-kind experience working with the NFB’s Oscar-winning Animation Studio.

This year’s mentoring director is Malcolm Sutherland, a Montreal-based director, animator and designer for film, television, web commercials and music videos. A participant in the very first Hothouse, he’s the first alumnus to return as project mentor.

In another first for Hothouse, NFB studios across the country are getting in on the act as well: grassroots filmmaking and community-building are this year’s mantras as participants work remotely through their nearest NFB production centre, while the Animation Studio in Montreal remains the creative engine.

The theme for Hothouse 11 is Found Sound 2.0―a reboot of last year’s successful theme, in which organizers trawled the Internet for audio clips that were intriguing, unusual, unnerving, or somehow full of subtext and hidden meaning. This year, there’s a new twist: participants can either use one of 14 pre-selected audio clips or submit an audio clip of their own choice. Found sound begs for satire and subversion, so applicants are encouraged to think of the audio as a springboard for their own creativity: don’t be afraid to re-interpret, comment on or play with the original meaning.

In addition to Sutherland, some of Canada’s most acclaimed new generation of animators got their start in Hothouse, including Patrick Doyon, nominated for an Oscar for his NFB animated short Sunday/Dimanche, and Howie Shia, whose NFB short Flutter received the Open Entries Grand Prize at the Tokyo Anime Awards.


Submissions must be received by 5pm EST on Friday, December 11, 2015, and must be sent via e-mail (no snail mail submissions will be accepted). The six successful candidates will be notified by Friday, December 18, 2015. The program will run from February 1 to April 22, 2016.
For more information, visit
Hothouse continues to be about re-imagining ways of making animation: ways that are faster, more flexible, and that embrace the many possibilities in the animation process while maintaining creative and technical excellence. With Hothouse, the NFB is looking for six talents who are willing and able to jump head-first into this intensive experience.

Associated Links

Hothouse program

Malcom Sutherland

Patrick Doyon


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About the NFB

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) produces groundbreaking animation at its studios in Montreal and at NFB centres across Canada, as well as via international co-productions with many of the world’s leading auteur animators. The NFB is a leader in developing new approaches to stereoscopic 3D animation and animated content for new platforms. The NFB has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 14 Canadian Screen Awards, 11 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.


Yeti Farm Creative launches original production division

Sweet Tweets

Kelowna-based Yeti Farm Creative expands
and launches original production division

Kelowna, B.C. – Yeti Farm Creative, a Kelowna-based animation studio founded in 2007, has recently expanded into a 7,000 sq. ft., open space, state-of-the-art, dark fibre, geothermal studio in the heart of the burgeoning tech district of Kelowna, British Columbia. The area is often referred to as Silicon Vineyard because of its proximity to the region’s world-class wine country and the growing number of animation, digital and tech companies, such as Disney Interactive, Bardel Entertainment and Hyper Hippo Games, that have set up shop in the community about 390 km east of Vancouver. Along with their move into the larger, more tricked-out studio, Ashley Ramsay, Catalyst and Co-founder, also announced that the studio has launched YetiLABS, a digital-first animation production and distribution company. Their first two original digital-first productions are Knobs and Sweet Tweets and, although it’s early at this point, Knobs has garnered in excess of 200,000 views between both Facebook and YouTube combined in a little less than one month.


“It is an exciting time at Yeti Farm Creative and YetiLABS,” says Ramsay. She explains that over the past eight years, the team at Yeti Farm Creative has been quietly building momentum for both production services, original content development and digital rights acquisition. “We have strategically managed our growth. We hired the right people, found the right location for our new studio, and we made sure that we attracted key partners.” She adds: “We knew that to fully meet our long-term business and creative objectives, we wanted to balance production services with the investment in developing our own original work. We also had to make sure that we continued to provide the world-class quality of work that our clients expect, while we were growing and expanding. Our client feedback and growing client roster tells us that we have done all of that and more.”

Over the years, Yeti Farm Creative has delivered production services, from design to final animation, to industry leaders such as Atomic Cartoons, DDB Canada, EA Sports and Kickstart Entertainment. They currently have three original digital productions on the go, with two original television properties in development, some of which have interest from major merchandise partners.

Ramsay explains that YetiLABS came about in response to the rapidly changing tides of content consumption, from cable television to mobile. “YetiLABS was actually born about two years ago, but we kept a low profile so that we could develop our projects to the point where we – and they – were ready to share with an audience online.” Ramsay says: “Today, YouTube and Facebook are going head to head in their quest for viewers. YetiLABS is fully immersed and committed to producing and distributing our content for these platforms as they emerge and develop in real time.”

YetiLABS’ first original series is an edgy, youth-based comedy, Knobs (, targeting 14 to 18-year-olds, created by YetiLABS Co-Founder and Studio Creative Director Todd Ramsay. The second original series, Sweet Tweets (, is made up of episodes of newly spun nursery rhymes for infants and millennial parents. Conjured up by well-known creative genius Jon Izen, the series debuts today on YouTube and Facebook. The third series, now in development, is a girl-skewed action sports and lifestyle series that will debut at Kidscreen in February 2016.


For more information or an interview with Ashley Ramsay, please contact Ruth Atherley at: or 604-886-1788.

Rob Davies


What is your name?

Rob Davies

What would you say has been your primary job in animation?

I don’t know that I’ve had a ‘primary’ job in animation to be honest. My longest stint is as one of the founders/owners of Atomic Cartoons in Vancouver. However, I’ve worn many hats in and out of Atomic.
I started as a traditional animation layout artist. Anyone who’s been around for awhile (pre-digital) knows what that is…
Other titles include character designer, art director, storyboard artist, storyboard supervisor, director, producer, series creator, and presently VP of Development at Atomic Cartoons.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?

Before I broke into the ‘toon biz, I worked as a sign painter, dishwasher (lasted one night), construction laborer, duty-free store clerk, T-Shirt designer, political cartoonist, silk screen printer, art supplies store clerk, even worked the camera counter at Kmart…
Can’t say there was anything that was particularly ‘crazy’ (like juggling flaming chain saws at kids’ parties) although the duty-free store at the BC-Washington State boarder was strange. It required I run down the highway to just past the nearest exit to the boarder crossing and then hand customers their shopping bags. This was to prevent Canadians from loading up on smokes and rye whiskey at the duty-free and then hanging a quick right just before customs. I ran in all sorts of weather. It is Canada after all. Eventually they just closed off the street. Easier.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?

I’m grateful to have been a part of anything, to be honest. But I’m most proud of Beetlejuice the Animated Series, Asterix Conquers America, Eek The Cat, Pinky and The Brain, The Zeta Project, Captain Flamingo, and Atomic Betty.

How did you become interested in animation?

It was pretty obvious, especially in math class, that I was destined to do something with a Continue reading