OMDC SUCCESS STORY: GURU STUDIO
Guru Studio is one of Canada’s leading independent entertainment companies, renowned for its internationally acclaimed animated series. With over 250 employees and $12 million in annual revenues, Guru’s star has risen fast since Frank Falcone founded the company in 2000.
Established as a digital animation studio, Guru built a reputation for placing character and narrative at the heart of its work. When it first launched, Guru went against the prevailing wisdom and concentrated on jobs that focused on character and story driven animation as opposed to providing the usual grab-bag of post production services like on-air graphics and special effects. Quickly gaining recognition for its high-quality productions, Guru soon started fielding calls for increasingly prestigious assignments. In fact, their very first project was to internationalize the US advertising campaign for Hershey’s Kisses in Latin America. This work set the stage for further international collaborative creative opportunities with global brands.
As in any business, the only constant has been change. Guru’s induction into children’s television came when it was asked to help with the Emmy-Award winning children’s series, The Backyardigans. Unsurprisingly, Guru impressed with the speed, efficiency and quality of its creative work, spawning a new area of growth for the company.
In 2007, Guru took a pivotal leap into producing original content for television, which resulted in the international hit preschool series Justin Time. Now airing in over 80 countries, the show received the 2014 Canadian Screen Award for Best Preschool Series and was nominated for a prestigious Emmy® and six Annie Awards.
Staying true to its story-driven creative focus, Guru is now co-developing and producing a slate of brand new series like Dinopaws, for Treehouse and the BBC; Ever After High for Mattel; and, Paw Patrol, the #1 preschool show in the US in collaboration with Spinmaster and Nickelodeon. Many of these shows have gone on to become huge global consumer products phenomena.
Today, the company is a fully diversified business with a 360° operation, including financing, development, marketing, licensing, digital content, and global distribution across all platforms. Falcone credits the OMDC for helping Guru “punch above its weight” and supporting the strong animation business that has developed in Ontario. Our stable tax credit system has allowed Guru to produce work that is among the best in the world. Guru is busy laying plans for its future around this key support mechanism.
And that means audiences around the world will have even more great content to look forward to!
“It’s a very exciting time to be producing animated entertainment. We continue to look at creative ways to expand our reach as we create, produce and distribute entertainment. Ontario is a very mature environment for producing animation, and we’re fortunate to be based here.”
—Frank Falcone, President and Creative Director
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