Pixomondo, the international visual effects studio, will open a new studio in Baton Rouge that will create 75 new direct jobs in film, TV and commercial production work. The company’s work won an Oscar at Sunday’s 84th Annual Academy Awards for visual effects, or VFX, in Hugo. Pixomondo will occupy more than 6,000 square feet at Celtic Media Centre and make an initial capital investment of $1.2 million.
Opening in May, the Pixomondo Baton Rouge studio will be the German company’s 12th international location. Annual salaries will average more than $65,000, plus benefits, and Pixomondo will hire 50 people in its first year, expanding to 75 by the end of its second year. According to Louisiana Economic Development, the studio will result in the creation of 49 indirect jobs, for a total of more than 120 jobs.
“Opening an office in Baton Rouge fits perfectly with our overall company vision,” said Thilo Kuther, the Pixomondo founder and CEO. “Louisiana offers a very generous production tax credit that we can pass on to our clients to bolster our project load as well as our growing teams in Los Angeles, London and Germany – not to mention China and Canada. Baton Rouge is a beautiful city with a wealth of resources. We’ve already connected with the Louisiana State University computer science department to help set up remote render farms and virtualization with our other studios.”
The state began working with Pixomondo six months ago to gauge the company’s interest in establishing a visual effects studio that could partner with major movie and TV productions in Baton Rouge and Louisiana, where annual film production now exceeds $1 billion and ranks third behind the California and New York markets. The rapid growth of the Louisiana film industry attracted the company, as did Louisiana’s permanent tax credits of up to 35 percent for Louisiana-based payroll expenditures on digital media and film projects.
In 2009, Governor Jindal signed a law to strengthen the Louisiana Motion Picture Investor Tax Credit, increasing the 25 percent tax credit to 30 percent – and, adding another 5 percent on Louisiana-based payroll for a total credit of up to 35 percent. For every dollar of tax credits spent on film production, Louisiana gains more than five dollars of economic activity.
The year before Governor Jindal took office, Louisiana saw 79 productions file for tax credits that planned to spend $408 million in Louisiana. In 2011, there were 151 projects filmed in state, and their expenditures in Louisiana amounted to $1.4 billion. That means over the past four years, Louisiana’s film and TV industry has grown by 250 percent, more than tripling in size. Louisiana’s film industry is supporting more than 8,000 jobs now that weren’t in the state a decade ago.
The Baton Rouge studio will work with Pixomondo’s international locations on major projects that require around-the-clock production across different time zones. Project work will include visual effects for corporate campaigns as well as film and TV productions.
Founded by Kuther in 2001, Pixomondo has created visual effects for more than 30 feature films, including Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Red Tails,Sucker Punch, Super 8, Fast Five, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, 2012 and Hugo. The company is currently in production on VFX for Snow White and the Huntsman and The Amazing Spiderman, and TV series that include Game of Thrones, Terra Nova, Hawaii Five-0 and Grimm.
Louisiana has been on a roll in digital media, with recent announcements like the expansion of EA’s gaming center, the launch of a major new Gameloft development studio and the new GE Capital Technology Center in New Orleans.