Archive for the ‘LAIKA’ Category

New Voices Added To ParaNorman Cast

JUNE 14, 2011: New York and Portland – Tucker Albrizzi (Good Luck Charlie), Alex Borstein (Family Guy) and Jodelle Ferland (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) have been added to the voice cast of ParaNorman.  The trio joins Academy Award nominee Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show), Jeff Garlin (Toy Story 3), John Goodman (Monsters, Inc.), Bernard Hill (Titanic), Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Leslie Mann (Rio), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (How to Train Your Dragon), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In) and Tony and Emmy Award winner Elaine Stritch (30 Rock).

Jon Brion To Score ParaNorman

June 14, 2011: Two-time Grammy Award-nominated composer Jon Brion has signed to create the original score for ParaNorman. LAIKA President and CEO Travis Knight made the announcement today.  Mr. Brion’s original score for Focus’ Academy Award-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind earned him a Grammy Award nomination for Best Score Soundtrack Album, among other honors.

He was previously a Grammy nominee in the same category for scoring Magnolia.

A highly accomplished singer/songwriter, arranger, and conductor, Mr. Brion is renowned for his production work.  He holds co-writing credits on albums by such artists as Kanye West, Beck, Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright, the Eels and Dido.

Mr. Knight said, “Jon Brion is so prodigiously gifted it’s almost unseemly. His virtuoso compositions are at once moody and imaginative, clever and subtle. Jon’s inventive, genre-defying musical storytelling will provide the perfect accompaniment to ParaNorman’s groundbreaking visuals and emotionally resonant narrative.” Mr. Brion stated, “I’ve been waiting for the right animation project for some time now. This production and the people at LAIKA and Focus have an inspiring amount of heart. One can’t help being swept up in the passion.”

Animafest Showcases Coraline

JUNE 3, 2011: Coraline screened in Croatian as part of Animafest 2011, the World Festival of Animated film, held in Zagreb May 31-June 5.  Prior to the movie, attendees were shown clips and making-of visuals from Coraline that also included production puppets and armatures.  Animafest is the second oldest animation festival in Europe.  For nearly thirty years, it has screened films from around the world.  The ASIFA-approved event was founded by the City of Zagreb in 1972.  In 2005, Animafest began including animated features.  For more information, please click here.

Coraline Plays To Full House In Singapore

MAY 18, 2011: Coraline screened in 3D at the Cathay Cineplex during the inaugural Singapore International Children’s Film Festival.  Big Eyes Big Minds created the event which is Singapore’s first film festival devoted solely to kids.   The Singapore International Children’s Film Festival offered screenings of films from around the world.  In addition, the festival featured acting and writing workshops.  For more information, click here.

Dan Casey Appears On Creativity Panel

MAY 11, 2011: Dan Casey served as a panelist at the 2011 Center for Companies That Care Symposium on May 11 at The Nines Hotel in downtown Portland.  During Dan’s session, on Innovation and the Creative Process, panelists shared real world wisdom about creativity in business, best practices and metrics. Michael Shea, Creative Director at Nike also took part.  Matt Lounsbury, Director of Operations of Stumptown Coffee moderated.  For more information, go to:

ParaNorman: Stop-Motion Feature Opens In Theaters August 17, 2012

MAY 4, 2011: Focus Features and LAIKA, the two companies behind the Academy Award-nominated animated feature Coraline are re-teaming for LAIKA’s next two projects. The first of the duo, ParaNorman, will be released nationwide on August 17th, 2012.  The second, yet-to-be-named, picture will be released nationwide in 2014. Following the groundbreaking Coraline, ParaNorman is only the second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. Focus CEO James Schamus and LAIKA President and CEO Travis Knight made the announcement today.

As on Coraline, Focus will hold worldwide distribution rights to the movies, and Universal Pictures International will release them overseas. Coraline is Focus’ second-highest-grossing movie of all time, with over $75 million domestically. The picture earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature Film; and was named one of the year’s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute (AFI) with an AFI Award.

Currently in production, ParaNorman is being directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler, from Mr. Butler’s original screenplay. Mr. Fell was director of The Tale of Despereaux and Flushed Away. Mr. Butler was storyboard supervisor on Coraline and storyboard artist on Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. The voice cast includes Academy Award nominee Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Tempestt Bledsoe (The Cosby Show), Jeff Garlin (Toy Story 3), John Goodman (Monsters, Inc.), Bernard Hill (Titanic), Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Leslie Mann (Rio), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (How to Train Your Dragon), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In), and Tony and Emmy Award winner Elaine Stritch (30 Rock).

In the comedy thriller, a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Mr. McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.

Arianne Sutner, animation producer on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and Travis Knight are producing ParaNorman. Academy Award winner Brian Van’t Hul (King Kong, Coraline) is the movie’s visual effects supervisor; Emmy Award winner Nelson Lowry (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride) is its production designer; and Tristan Oliver (Fantastic Mr. Fox, the Academy Award-winning Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit) is the director of photography on ParaNorman.

Mr. Schamus commented, “Everyone at Focus is proud to be partnered with LAIKA again on their newest wondrous creations. Travis Knight is both an extraordinary businessman and a visionary artist who we know will shepherd these projects with imagination and originality. We’re thrilled to have ParaNorman as our next movie together, one which marries the stunning visuals of 3D stop-motion with a compelling, heartfelt, and funny story anchored by a terrifically relatable underdog hero.”

Mr. Knight added, “ParaNorman is a story of intense beauty and emotional truth. It’s audacious, has genuine heart, and is funny as hell. We’re incredibly excited to share this wonderful story with the world.  And we’re privileged to work again with Focus Features, with whom we share a commitment to bold, distinctive, and enduring films.  LAIKA and Focus are truly kindred spirits. James Schamus and his extraordinary team have built their reputation on original thinking, old-fashioned muscle, and an unerring fidelity to creatively rich and thematically challenging cinema. We’re thrilled to extend the relationship that began with Coraline and look forward to being a part of the Focus/Universal family for years to come.”

Focus Features and Focus Features International ( comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.

In addition to the LAIKA movies, current and upcoming Focus releases include Moonrise Kingdom, the new feature from two-time Academy Award nominee Wes Anderson, starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman; Cary Joji Fukunaga’s acclaimed romantic drama Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender; Joe Wright’s sleeper hit thriller Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, and Cate Blanchett; Mike Mills’ comedy/drama Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor and Academy Award nominee Christopher Plummer; John Madden’s espionage thriller The Debt, starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, and Jessica Chastain; writer/director Dee Rees’ contemporary drama Pariah, which world-premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; the untitled father/son drama from writer/director Paul Weitz starring two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro and Paul Dano; and Lone Scherfig’s romance One Day, based on the bestselling novel, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.

Focus Features and Universal Pictures International are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.

Media Contact: Maggie Begley for LAIKA:

Coraline’s Sweater: A Hand-Knit Story Behind The Story

APRIL 20, 2011: In a New York Times Magazine blog, writer and aspiring knitter Hilary Greenbaum uncovers the artist behind the creation of Coraline’s sweater, Althea Crome.   During the production of Coraline, Althea was “discovered” by Georgina Hayns, LAIKA’s supervisor of Puppet Fabrication.  To read the full entry — and to watch the video about Althea and her miniature creations — click here.

EMC Isilon Enables LAIKA to Transform Big Data Into Movie Magic

APRIL 12, 2011: (From PRNewswire) -  EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC), the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, today announced that LAIKA has deployed more than a petabyte of EMC Isilon® scale-out NAS as the primary storage platform for its end-to-end animation and computer graphics (CG) workflow, simplifying big data management to increase artist collaboration and accelerate project completion. Using Isilon’s SmartPools™ software application, LAIKA has unified three performance tiers into a single file system, consolidating its compositing, computer graphics and stop motion workflows onto a single, shared storage resource, streamlining production operations and improving IT efficiency.  Read more.

Kids Animate It! At Portland Workshop

MARCH 18, 2011: LAIKA sponsored Animate It! a stop-motion workshop at Portland’s Hollywood Theatre.  Approximately 30 kids, ages 7-11, took part in the day of animation education that featured a team of local animators and student volunteers as they presented an affordable stop motion workshop in partnership with Film Action Oregon.  Proceeds funded scholarships and the historic venue in NE Portland.

Mike Cachuela Visits CalArts

FEBRUARY 25, 2011: Director Mike Cachuela stopped by his Alma mater, CalArts, and gave a two hour presentation to students, discussing his career path as well as his approach to animation, film-making and acting, showing examples of his animated and live action films, from his collegiate portfolio to his professional career.  A student in Character Animation at CalArts, Mike’s credits include: Coraline, FernGully, Toy Story, The Life Aquatic, The Incredibles, Corpse Bride and Ratatouille.

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