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Animation studio moving to DC bringing 50 jobs to Capitol Riverfront

The Boilermaker building, where Pigmental Studios is hoping to locate

An animation studio moving from LA to the District is in negotiations to lease space at the Boilermaker building in Capitol Riverfront for its new headquarters, Elevation DC has learned. 

Pigmental Studios, headed by Marina Martins, announced its move to D.C. earlier this year, saying it would create at least 50 jobs in D.C.

Martins says that number is a little conservative. “It’s probably a little more [than 50 jobs], we will hit that number when we are in full swing with production.” Pigmental is working on two feature films and two TV series. One of the films, Kong, is a new retelling of the Chinese folk tale “Journey to the West,” with an international release date in 2016. The other is a top-secret project in co-production with Sergio Pablos, the creator of Despicable Me. The two TV series are also secret for now.

Pigmental—which, Martins adds, refers to pigment, not “crazy pigs”—currently has 12 full-time employees who will split their time between Los Angeles to D.C."We'll always have a presence in Los Angeles," Martins says, but employees will "be doing a large stint of their time in D.C." 

Pigmental also plans to partner with the D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) to create an apprenticeship program for D.C. residents interested in animation careers. Martins says she’s also partnering with Doug Guthrie and consulting firm Kellogg, who helped D.C. craft a plan to create new “creative economy” jobs, to create an educational program for aspiring animators: some free online classes, some hands-on, paid classes. People will “start off with some free courses, learning how to draw and express yourself creatively, and as people find that they really want to pursue this as a career, then we’ll provide more courses.”

Martins herself has no experience as an animator—her background is in live-action film and documentaries, “but I had optioned these stories that lent themselves to animation,” she says. "I'm learning as much as anyone else...I am having an amazing time."

Pigmental is looking at the space vacated earlier this year by Ideaspace, the much-lauded makerspace that was set to take advantage of the Boilermaker building’s 12,000 square feet of open space on its second floor. (Ideaspace announced it was moving out of the Boilermaker building before it opened.) It was unclear whether Pigmental was planning to take the entire space.

Expect more details soon: Martins says she hopes to move the team to D.C. by “the beginning of the year.”

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is the managing editor of Elevation D.C. She also covers tech, business and science for publications nationwide. She lives in Brookland.
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