Vancouver Gaming Company Launches Okanagan Venture

Pirate Express | BCBusiness
Atomic Cartoons is behind such titles as Pirate Express.

Atomic Cartoons inks a joint venture agreement that will expand its presence into Kelowna

Vancouver-based gaming studio Atomic Cartoons and Kelowna’s Yeti Farm Creative announced Tuesday that they had entered an exclusive three-year contract , pegged at an estimated $3 million, which will expand Atomic’s presence in the Okanagan. 

Yeti Farm and Atomic Cartoons will collaborate on the production of two animated series for children, including the Leo Award-winning series Rocket Monkeys, which airs on Teletoon in Canada and Nickelodeon in the U.S.

“We’ve growing steadily in the last few years and wanted to broaden the talent base we have access to a new area for talent recruitment,” says Rob Simmons, partner at Atomic Cartoons. 

The venture is a boon for Kelowna’s growing digital media industry, which has benefited from a strong pool of animation talent and the legacy of Club Penguin, the Kelowna-based studio that sold to The Walt Disney Co. for $350 million in 2007.

Disney Online Studios Canada Inc., formerly Club Penguin, built a critical mass of talent in Kelowna that allows smaller studios to become part of that community, says Simmons.

“They helped put in the educational support behind creating new employees,” says Simmons, whose studio has collaborated with Okanagan College on its animation program curriculum.

“We’ve worked hard to make Kelowna an attractive market for the animation industry, particularly television production,” said Jon Summerland, Okanagan Film Commissioner in a statement. “It is a very win-win proposition for the strong animation industry in Vancouver, and it’s wonderful to Atomic capitalize on this opportunity and help our local studios grow.”

Atomic Cartoons is a full-service animation company and the producer of titles such as “Pirate Express” and “Atomic Betty.” The studio has seen a boom from its Teletoon productions, which will soon push Atomic from 150 employees to 200, including at least 30 in of Kelowna.