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Alex Frisch and Vico Sharabani Team up to Launch Unique New VFX Studio

February 1, 2012 | By

Alex Frisch (left) and Vico Sharabani.

VFX artists Vico Sharabani and Alex Frisch have teamed up to launch COPA (Co-Op of Artists), a global collective of high-end VFX artists working in the commercial and feature film industries.

COPA is based on a unique model – a virtual studio that is connected via hubs in strategic cities around the world. The new group is structured around COPA headquarters in LA and NY, anchored in NY by EP Yfat Neev, former Rhino and Gravity FX EP, and in LA by acting EP Steve Reiss, former Speedshape and Sea Level VFX EP.

“We are taking high-end VFX work in a never-before-seen model and an A-level team to build not just a company, but a community of the world’s best talent,” said Sharabani. “This is a new collaborative model that will upend the current landscape, allowing us to adapt to projects of any scope by taking the best talent in the world anywhere on the planet at any time.”

Working in a co-op structure, COPA artists will convene daily in a common cloud-based online workspace, eliminating constraints of time and distance. Following a motto of “virtual, but also local,” COPA’s model provides clients with face-to-face contact via unique online tools, as well as local spaces to meet and check on work. Each local office is equipped with meeting and viewing spaces, and will soon roll out proprietary technologies the studio is developing.

After a year of quietly tweaking this new model with projects for Lincoln and Crayola via McGarry Bowen, the studio is coming to life with the release of the music video “Turn me On” for David Guetta and Nicki Minaj, 150 shots for the feature film A Late Quartet, and a new P&G commercial for Leo Burnett directed by Dave Meyers from Radical Media.

Frisch, co-founder of Method Studios, has been working on this new business model for more than two years. “Meeting with Vico less than a year ago was the catalyst that ignited COPA and brought our common visions to life,” Frisch said.

Sharabani, founder of RhinoFX, is returning to the VFX fray after a year-long industry sabbatical, during which time he had his second child, got involved in the TED community, and dedicating time to nonprofit and environmental work.

“It’s like I met another me,” noted Frisch. “We both moved to the US in the late ’90s and started what turned out to be wildly successful VFX shops in 1998 and left them at around the same time in 2009. Now we’re both ready to re-imagine the future of VFX together.”

The studio’s global collaborative network includes COPA headquarters in Los Angeles and New-York, and partnerships with existing studios in Chicago, Tel -Aviv, Toronto, Serbia, London and Paris.

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