Sunday, October 25, 2020

How a Canadian pioneer is pushing innovative filmmaking to the outer limits


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Pulling off global technology deals as the United States and China battle for digital supremacy is no easy thing. “They are very national companies,” Rituit said of the consortium, which includes San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm Inc. and China Telecom Corp. Ltd. “When you are trying to put together a U.S. investor, a Chinese player and a player from Taiwan … It’s not easy.”

Yet he did it. Now there’s every reason to think Felix & Paul is headed for another level. The COVID-19 lockdowns have complicated plans for an indoor exposition (although they continue), but the same forces that have proved a boon for Netflix Inc. also caused a spike in sales of VR equipment. In other words, demand is catching up to the studio’s ambition to supply quality content.

Felix & Paul’s business strategy so far has been to grow at a measured pace, but the co-founders talk as if they are ready for more. “Just the financing,” Rituit answered when asked what stood in the way of the company becoming the next Walt Disney Co. “The ambition, the creativity, the technological capacity, the engineering creativity, the purely creative needs and the enthusiasm are really slowed down only by financing.”

The money will surely come. Even as other studios get serious about VR content, Felix & Paul will retain an advantage: its relationship with NASA, which has embarked on a long-term plan to resume human exploration of space. The journey will fascinate a global audience, and a Canadian company will be there to document it.

“The next step is to go to deep space and follow the core missions of NASA, the core missions of human space flight,” Lajeunesse said. “The next steps we are looking at are the Moon, and then Mars.”

You heard that right: Mars. COVID-19 hasn’t crushed everyone’s confidence.

Financial Post

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