News / Calgary

Toy Story animator thinks Calgary could be next hotspot for animation

Steve Rabatich adds to industry with a self-animated Christmas special

Rabatich previously worked in Vancouver, when the animation industry was just kicking off there – and now hopes to bring the same growth to Calgary.

Elizabeth Cameron / For Metro

Rabatich previously worked in Vancouver, when the animation industry was just kicking off there – and now hopes to bring the same growth to Calgary.

Former Pixar animator Steve Rabatich think Calgary could be the next hotspot for animation – except much of the province’s talent ends up moving out, to places like B.C.

“There’s a lot of untrained talent here,” said Rabatich. “What has to happen here – they have to get the labour tax credits here the same as B.C. to really kick off the industry.”

Rabatich wants to be the one to help kick off the industry here – beginning with a Christmas special he spent the last eight months animating called Our Little Princess, which has just been picked up for network distribution for next Christmas (but it’s already on YouTube if you can’t wait).

SWAT moves into a condominium complex in NE Calgary during a police situation on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016.

Elizabeth Cameron / For Metro

SWAT moves into a condominium complex in NE Calgary during a police situation on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016.

Rabatich got his start in the 70s, at the California Institute of the Arts, where he was classmates with John Lasseter, the famed chief of Pixar.

Later Rabatich would contribute to the animation team on the first Toy Story movie.

“I did a lot of Mr. Potatohead scenes,” he laughed. “Animation at that level, you can really animate anything. I did the scene, (as Andy opens his presents), ‘Mrs. Potato Head, Mrs. Potato Head, Mrs. Potato Head … hey, I can dream, can't I?’”

Rabatich, meanwhile, is dreaming of creating his own animation studio in Calgary, to keep animation talent from looking elsewhere.

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