Archive for the ‘LAIKA’ Category

Chris Butler Featured At Ottawa

SEPTEMBER 23, 2012: Director Chris Butler spoke about ParaNorman‘s creative process during the Ottawa International Animation Festival. The program took place on September 23 at Canada’s National Arts Center Theatre in Ottawa. The discussion also addressed the stop-motion feature’s cutting-edge technology, specifically the integration of CG in the stop-motion world.  The talk was moderated by Ramin Zahed, Editor-in-Chief, Animation Magazine. For more information, click here.

ParaNorman Day Declared In Oregon And Portland

AUGUST 17, 2012: Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Portland Mayor Sam Adams honored ParaNorman‘s official theater release with separate declarations today, proclaiming August 17, 2012: ParaNorman Day In Oregon and Portland.

SIGGRAPH Panel Showcases ParaNorman’s Fusion Of Stop-Motion And CG

AUGUST 8, 2012: Nearly 1,500 attendees at SIGGRAPH got a first-hand look at ParaNorman‘s interdependent combination of stop-motion and CG in an environment where hand-crafted movement is seamlessly integrated with computer technology, from initial concept to final frame. In a special session, Brian Van’t Hul (VFX Supervisor) was joined by Steve Emerson (Compositing Supervisor) and Andrew Nawrot (CG and Look Development Supervisor).  They discussed the collaborative relationship of the technologies.  The event took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

ParaNorman Takes The Stage At Comic-Con

JULY 13, 2012: On a sunny Friday the 13th at San Diego’s Comic-Con, ParaNorman took center stage during a highly anticipated panel in a sold-out Hall H.  In addition to Travis Knight, Sam Fell and Chris Butler, several cast members participated, including: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.  The event showcased the debut of new footage from the film.  For a look at the festivities, click here.

Mary Sandell Named Head Of Production

MAY 9, 2012: LAIKA has named Mary Sandell Head of Production. The appointment was announced today by Travis Knight.  A producer on Coraline, Ms. Sandell is a production executive and producer with over twenty years of experience managing high-profile commercials, feature films and television series.  She joined LAIKA in 2005, after spending two years as producer of DreamWorks’ primetime animated series for NBC, Father of the Pride.

“Mary is an exceptional leader.  I’ve known her virtually my entire professional career and continue to be amazed by the depth of her talents,” said Mr. Knight.  “Both a standard-bearer for business and a champion of artists, Mary is that rare creative executive who fully earns the title. Her ferocious intellect, tireless work ethic and intense passion for animation make Mary Sandell the perfect partner to move LAIKA’s film slate from shadowy notions to fully realized works of art.”

“I am excited about the opportunity to head up production as LAIKA moves toward expanding its film release schedule,” said Sandell. “The studio’s dedication to innovation in the art of animated filmmaking and its commitment to telling bold, distinctive and enduring stories is truly inspiring. I look forward to working with LAIKA’s team of world class artists, technicians, and visionaries as we take on the production challenges associated with cutting edge animation entertainment.”

Earlier in her career Ms. Sandell worked with Vinton Studios, the predecessor to LAIKA, in a variety of production roles including Executive Vice President of Production overseeing all commercial and entertainment production. During this time, she managed the start-up and produced the first two seasons of The PJs, the Emmy® Award winning, first-ever, stop-motion primetime series for television, produced in conjunction with Eddie Murphy Productions and Imagine Entertainment.

Also at Vinton, Ms. Sandell was a senior producer in charge of managing CG and stop-motion commercial campaigns and entertainment projects. Her work included the launch and production of the M&M’S® campaign; management of high-profile commercial campaigns for national and international brands and production of fifty animated short stories for the Disney Channel’s Adventures in Wonderland.  A native Californian, Mary holds a B.A. in political science from Lewis and Clark College in Portland and a J.D. from the University of Oregon, School of Law.

Los Angeles Times Visits Blithe Hollow

APRIL 29, 2012: From The Los Angeles Times: “The small New England town of Blithe Hollow is more than a little odd; it’s a wonderfully wonky world of Gremlin-like cars, wavy plaid shirts and irregular picket fences. It has also been cursed with ‘eternal damnation’ after a witch trial 300 years ago, making it a prime target for a zombie attack.”

To read more,  click here.

LAIKA Options Goblins, From Celebrated Novelist Philip Reeve

APRIL 18,2012: LAIKA has optioned Goblins, the Scholastic novel from award-winning novelist Philip Reeve (Mortal Engines) which will be published in the UK on April 5 and in the United States in Fall 2013, and has signed Emmy®, Annie®, and CLIO® Award-winning director Mark Gustafson (The PJs, Animation Director on The Fantastic Mr. Fox) to direct the 3D, stop-motion film. The announcement was made today by LAIKA President and CEO Travis Knight.

Goblins, set in an extraordinary world of brilliantly original monsters and magical creatures, tells the story of riotous, ill-mannered, and all-around bloodthirsty goblins who live in the gigantic ruins of Clovenstone Castle, and spend their time mindlessly fighting, looting and menacing neighboring villages.  Only clever young Skarper understands that an ancient and powerful magic created by a vanquished sorcerer is rising again. Soon giants, cloudmaidens, swamp monsters, treewarriors, rampaging goblins and hapless humans will be swept into a fabulous magical conflict that will determine the fate of their world, and delight discerning audiences of all ages.

Goblins is a fantasy with bite,” said Mr. Knight.  “It practically shimmers with verve, caustic humor, and piercing wit.  Philip Reeve has pulled off a helluva feat, masterfully crafting a sly send-up of classic fantasy archetypes and adventures while lovingly honoring their underlying forms.  Goblins is a thrilling, high energy swashbuckler teeming with wonderful surprises; at once hilarious and twisted, sincere and endearing.  In the hands of LAIKA’s freakishly talented artists and guided by the ineffably gifted Mark Gustafson, it will make a strange, stirring, and altogether beautiful film.”

“I am delighted that LAIKA has optioned Goblins,” said Philip Reeve. “I love the look and feel that they achieved in films like Coraline and Moongirl, and I think the studio’s distinctive approach, led by the deft directing hand of Mark Gustafson, will be the perfect way to bring Clovenstone and its goblins to life.”

Goblins is a fantastic book, full of action, humor, charm and surprising characters,” said Mr. Gustafson. “Philip Reeves has done a wonderful job of turning a familiar genre on its ear and creating a beautifully intricate universe unlike anything I’ve seen before.  I’m personally thrilled to have the opportunity to work with my amazingly talented colleagues at LAIKA to realize the world of Goblins.”

Mr. Reeve is represented by Philippa Milnes-Smith of The Law Agency in London; Mr. Gustafson by The Gotham Group in Los Angeles.

About Philip Reeve:

Philip Reeve was born in Brighton and worked in a book shop for many years before becoming a full-time illustrator and then turning to writing. His first novel, Mortal Engines, won the Nestlé Smarties Gold Award (2002) and was shortlisted for both the Branford Boase Award and the Whitbread Children’s Book Award. He has since won many more awards and accolades for his works including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2006 for A Darkling Plain and the 2008 CILIP Carnegie Medal for Here Lies Author. He lives in Dartmoor, England with his wife and son, Sam.

About Mark Gustafson:

Mark Gustafson has received much praise for his wit, comedic timing and a seamless ability to blend stop-motion, CG and live-action. Mark was Supervising Director of the two-time Emmy® award-winning primetime, stop-motion series, The PJs, produced in partnership with Eddie Murphy and Imagine Entertainment, for which he garnered an Annie Award® for Outstanding Directing in an Animated Television Production.

He has directed some of most recognized animated commercials in the business during his long association with LAIKA/house, the commercial division of LAIKA, including spots or series for the NFL on Fox, ESPN, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Planters, Ben & Jerry’s. Most recently he worked with acclaimed director Wes Anderson on SONY “Made of Imagination” campaign, which is airing internationally. His 1996 Nissan Toys ad set to Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me” won a Gold Clio at Cannes and was hailed by Entertainment Weekly as among the “50 Greatest Commercials of All Time.”

From 2007 through 2009, Mr. Gustafson was Animation Director on the feature film The Fantastic Mr. Fox which was nominated for an Oscar® in the best-animated film category.

About Scholastic UK:

Scholastic UK is part of Scholastic Inc, the largest publisher and distributor of children’s books in the world, and a leader in educational technology. Recognising that literacy is the cornerstone of a child’s intellectual, personal and cultural growth, Scholastic has been working with schools around the world for more than 90 years to create quality products and services that educate, entertain and motivate children, helping them to enlarge their understanding of the world around them.

As a distributor of children’s books through Scholastic Book Clubs and Fairs, Scholastic is the biggest children’s specialist bookseller in the UK and Ireland. It has unparalleled reach to children through schools, increasing opportunities for reading and book ownership for children in the UK and Ireland and donating two million books to schools last year. Scholastic Children’s Books publishes a wide range of books for all ages, including best-sellers and award-winners such as the Horrible Histories® series and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and Klutz’s innovative book and craft packs.

Animation Events, Screenings Highlight Portland Libraries

MARCH 21,2012: Two Portland-area libraries will honor Coraline and ParaNorman at separate events this Spring.  On March 29 at 4:00 PM, Coraline will play at the Tigard Public Library: 13500 SW Hall Blvd.  Enjoy free crafts and snacks during the screening.  Then on April 5 at 6:00 PM, Mark Shapiro will take folks behind-the-scenes of the production.  Mark will also offer a sneak-peak of ParaNorman.

On March 29 at 6:30 PM, the making-of program will take place at the Hillsboro Main Library, 2850 NE Brookwood Parkway.

Production puppets will be on display at both venues.  Click for more information: Tigard Public Library and Hillsboro Main Library.

LAIKA Licenses Shotgun Software For Stop-Motion And VFX Work

FEBRUARY 8, 2012: Shotgun Software announced that LAIKA has purchased a site license of Shotgun to manage production and enhance collaboration for stop-motion and VFX work throughout its studio. LAIKA implemented the flexible, web-based solution as a central platform for modernizing production management of the data-heavy stop-motion process on ParaNorman.

“The traditional method of sharing information and keeping a stop-motion production rolling involves armies of people with clipboards and a massive hallway of shot boards, printouts and schedules,” said Jeff Stringer, LAIKA’s Director of Production Technology. “We have been using Shotgun to manage visual effects work for a long time, and when we started ParaNorman, we saw an opportunity to use it within the stop-motion pipeline also, to modernize some of the processes we were doing manually.

“The biggest benefit Shotgun gives us is the ability to organize approved artwork and relate it to the shots,” Stringer added. “When we are talking about a particular piece of artwork, everyone is now sure they’re looking at the exact same thing. That was not the case before Shotgun.”

“Shotgun is so flexible and easy to customize that we were able to build great tools quickly that let people feed data in automatically and publish easily,” said LAIKA TD Supervisor Rob Blau. “The way Shotgun has branched out across the pipeline throughout ParaNorman showed us that it’s a great solution to help us collaborate much more effectively on stop-motion productions.”

About Shotgun Software

Shotgun is a web-based system that gives all parties involved in a project instant access to critical data, messaging and real-time project progress. Its open API enables studios to use Shotgun as a central platform around which they can quickly build custom tools and bridges to other applications using Python scripting.  Shotgun Software was founded in 2006 by a group of visual effects professionals to build production tracking and pipeline solutions. The founding members worked together on a major studio animated feature and are developing Shotgun to fill the mounting industry need for a commercially viable system for managing complex projects spread across multiple locations. For more information and an online demonstration visit www.shotgunsoftware.com.

Wired.com Highlights ParaNorman

DECEMBER 12, 2011: From Wired.com: “ParaNorman’s unlikely hero cowers underneath a bed as a zombie gets dangerously close, in this new still from the upcoming comedy-thriller, provided exclusively to Wired.com.  ‘Norman is looking on in terror as the zombie tries to find his lost ear,’ says Travis Knight, ParaNorman’s lead animator and president/CEO of
 LAIKA, the studio making the movie. ‘The image is evocative of the tone of the film.’  To read more, click here.

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