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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Laika, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 30
1. Laika is Here to Stay, Will Keep Making Films

What's the coolest thing about having your animation studio run by one of the world's richest men? You get to make as many animated movies as you damn please.

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2. ‘Boxtrolls’ Opens with $17.3 Million; Laika’s Best-Ever U.S. Opening

Laika's third feature film, "The Boxtrolls," distributed by Focus Features, opened in third place in the United States with an estimated $17.3 million.

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3. The Challenges of Designing Tiny Costumes for “The Boxtrolls”

Costume designer Deborah Cook talks about the challenges of designing tiny costumes for the characters of Laika's "The Boxtrolls."

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4. ‘Boxtrolls’ Opens at #1 in the UK and #2 in Mexico

While there are currently no wholly animated films in the top ten of the U.S. box office, Laika's "The Boxtrolls" began its foreign rollout in eight territories last weekend.

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5. Academy Reveals 21 Contenders for 2014 Sci-Tech Oscars

Last Friday the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a list of 21 scientific and technical achievements in 16 different areas, which have been selected for further awards consideration.

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6. Laika’s Next Feature Will Be “Boxtrolls”

Laika, the Portland studio that made Coraline and ParaNorman, announced this morning that its third feature will be Boxtrolls. The film, a 3D stop-motion/CGI hybrid, is based on Alan Snow’s fantasy-adventure novel Here Be Monsters. Anthony Stacchi (co-director, Open Season) and Graham Annable (story artist on Coraline and ParaNorman) are directing. Focus Features will release Boxtrolls on October 17th, 2014.

Full details in the release:

PORTLAND, February 7th, 2013 – Marking their third project together, LAIKA and Focus Features, the two companies behind the current Academy Award-nominated animated feature ParaNorman, announced today that LAIKA has begun production on The Boxtrolls. The new movie will be released nationwide by Focus on October 17th, 2014. Focus CEO James Schamus and LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight made the announcement today.

As on the previous animation collaborations ParaNorman and Coraline, Focus will hold worldwide distribution rights to The Boxtrolls, and Universal Pictures International will release the movie overseas (with eOne Distribution handling Canada). Coraline (2009) 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). In addition to its Academy Award nomination, ParaNorman (2012) is in the running for the BAFTA Awards’ animated feature prize. ParaNorman has won two Annie Awards (the animation community’s Oscars equivalent) and been cited as best animated feature film by 14 critics’ groups, more than any other 2012 animated feature.

The Boxtrolls is a 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid animated feature based on Alan Snow’s bestselling fantasy adventure novel Here Be Monsters. The Boxtrolls is being directed by Anthony Stacchi (co-director of the hit animated feature Open Season) and Graham Annable (story artist on Coraline and ParaNorman), and produced by David Ichioka and Mr. Knight. The voice cast includes Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley, Academy Award nominee Toni Collette, Elle Fanning (marking her fourth movie with Focus), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Game of Thrones), Emmy Award nominee Jared Harris (Mad Men), Simon Pegg (Star Trek), Nick Frost (of Focus’ upcoming The World’s End), Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd), and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock).

The Boxtrolls is a comedic fable that unfolds in Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth, class, and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. Beneath its charming cobblestone streets dwell the Boxtrolls, foul monsters who crawl out of the sewers at night and steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least, that’s the legend residents have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are an underground cavern-dwelling community of quirky and lovable oddballs who wear recycled cardboard boxes the way turtles wear their shells. The Boxtrolls have raised an orphaned human boy, Eggs (voiced by Mr. Hempstead-Wright), since infancy as one of their dumpster-diving and mechanical junk-collecting own. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by villainous pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher (Mr. Kingsley), who is bent on eradicating them as his ticket to Cheesebridge society, the kindhearted band of tinkerers must turn to their adopted charge and adventurous rich girl Winnie (Ms. Fanning) to bridge two worlds amidst the winds of change – and cheese.

Mr. Knight said, “The Boxtrolls is a visually dazzling mash-up of gripping detective story, absurdist comedy, and steampunk adventure with a surprisingly wholesome heart. It’s Dickens by way of Monty Python. Tony and Graham have crafted a strange and beautiful world replete with fantastical creatures, good-for-nothing reprobates, madcap antics, and rip-roaring feats of derring-do. But at its core, like all LAIKA films, The Boxtrolls is a moving and human story with timelessness and powerful emotional resonance. We’re thrilled to partner with Focus Features and Universal to bring this remarkable story to family audiences around the world.”

Mr. Schamus commented, “Following our successful collaborations on ParaNorman and Coraline, we are delighted to be embarking on a third wondrous adventure with the LAIKA artisans who transform everyday materials into living creatures infused with dimension, humor, and soul. With a wonderfully appealing menagerie of fun characters, and a generous, open heart at its center, The Boxtrolls will be a must-see for family audiences.”

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7. LAIKA/house Signs Carlos Andre Stevens To Director Roster

LAIKA/house, the commercial arm of ParaNorman production studio LAIKA, announced today that they’ve added Carlos Andre Stevens to their directing roster. Stevens was most recently a director/creative director at LOGAN/NY, and prior to that worked at Seattle-based Süperfad.

In the press release announcing his arrival, Stevens said that his decision to move to LAIKA was based partly on the city’s lifestyle amenities:

“New York City was terrifically fun, but I need more nature. I was a competitive downhill and freestyle skier growing up, so I love the fact that I can be at the beach, in lush forests and on snow-capped mountains in less than a two-hour drive from Portland. Skiing ignited a passion for risk-taking that I continue to seek out in both my professional and personal life. The quality of life in Portland enriches creativity.”

His reel and various commercials directed by him can be seen on LAIKA’s website.

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8. “The BoxTrolls” Teaser Trailer, Laika’s Next Film

Utterly charming and refreshingly different teaser trailer for LAIKA’s next film The BoxTrolls, which will be released in 2014. The film is directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable.

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9. Third “Box Trolls” Teaser Released

The third (and presumably final) teaser for LAIKA's "The Box Trolls" was released today.

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10. This Bear Animation Is Not Computer Animated

This short animation of a seemingly CG bear climbing stairs is garnering a lot of attention on the Internet because it's actually a CG bear printed as 3-D models and then animated in stop motion.

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11. How Will Vinton Lost His Studio to a Rapper Named Chilly Tee

Laika does amazing work as an animation studio, no doubt about it, but the studio's history is somewhat less admirable. The company was built on top of Will Vinton's eponymous Portland studio in a shrewd corporate takeover by billionaire Nike co-founder Phil Knight. After Knight took control of the company in 2002, he placed his son Travis Knight, a failed rapper named Chilly Tee with little experience in animation, in charge of the entire company.

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12. Venice Film Festival Selects ‘Boxtrolls’ And Two Animated Shorts

The Venice Film Festival, which is the world's oldest film festival, announced the line-up today for their 71st edition. The festival is known for not giving much consideration to animated cinema, but they always throw in a few animated films.

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13. LAIKA Chief Surprises Comic-Con Crowd By Saying He Wants To Do Hand-Drawn Animation

At a presentation for LAIKA's third stop motion feature "The Boxtrolls," LAIKA's CEO Travis Knight told San Diego Comic-Con audiences that he hopes to make a hand-drawn animated film at some point in the future.

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14. House Special Launches in Portland

A new commercial studio, House Special, launched in Portland, Oregon last week. The company was started by Lourri Hammack, Kirk Kelly and Al Cubillas, who ran Laika's former commercial division Laika/house.

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15. How Laika Pushed 3D Printing to New Heights with ‘The Boxtrolls’

Laika is revolutionizing stop motion animation with 3D printing. We visited the set of their latest film, 'The Boxtrolls,' to find out how they do it.

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16. “Made of Imagination” By Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) returns to animation – stop-motion animation – to cleverly illustrate a child’s conception of how Sony’s Xperia smartphone works. The animation, created at Laika/house, was directed by stop motion veteran Mark Gustafson, who also directed the animation in Fantastic Mr. Fox. Tiny bits of behind-the-scenes footage here. Or just watch the commercial.

(via Mashable)


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17. Wes Anderson + stop motion + robots? Sold. This ad for Sony was...



Wes Anderson + stop motion + robots? Sold.

This ad for Sony was animated bu the stop motion team at LAIKA/house with Fantastic Mr. Fox’s animation director Mark Gustafson.



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18. New, Longer “ParaNorman” trailer (#4)

Just released: another trailer, an alternate cut for Laika’s new stop-motion feature ParaNorman. Compare it to trailer #3 to note the additional scenes. Lookin’ good to me – this is shaping up to be a very interesting year for features.

(Thanks, Ovi Nedelcu)


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19. Laika President Travis Knight Thinks Stop Motion Is A “Completely Awful Process”

In this LA Times story about the resurgence of stop motion animated features, Travis Knight, the producer of Laika’s ParaNorman and one of its lead animators, had this to say:

“Stop-motion is probably the worst, most painful way to make a film. It’s a completely awful process to engage in, an anachronism.”

The one thing stop motion has working in its favor? It’s not computer animation. Knight, who is also the president and CEO of Laika, added:

“But the stories have a warmth and a charm. You’re not looking at ones and zeros. You’re looking at the hands of the artists who made it.”

Photo of Travis Knight, with his father, Nike chairman and Laika owner Phil Knight. (Quote via Kirsten Lepore)


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20. Post-premiere thoughts. Also a grave box.

posted by Neil
Last night I went to New York for The Dark Knight Rises premiere. I really enjoyed it. I think I preferred The Dark Knight movie, because it had Heath Ledger's Joker and a plot I found hard to predict. Dark Knight Rises doesn't have those things: once the set-up is done you have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen and when (even if you've worked hard to keep yourself spoiler free, as I had), but how it happens is the delight. I preferred the last movie, but this is a better Batman movie, and, I suspect, a better film. (It's my third-favourite film of the year so far: Moonrise Kingdom and The Cabin in the Woods are ahead of it.)

I wore a suit. I walked the red carpet (which was, of course, a black carpet). I was even interviewed...



This morning, on the plane home, I was asked about the premiere on Tumblr, and thought I'd repost my reply here...




So, as a super famous person, do you get random invites to these kinds of things? (spectacular movie premiers) or is this a scenario of 'I would like to see that' and your 'people' take care of such things?
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21. “ParaNorman” Posters

These striking illustrated posters promoting Laika’s latest film ParaNorman are being displayed around various US cities. I saw them in Manhattan yesterday. According to some of the artists who drew the posters for Mondo, passerby are free to grab them off the walls if they wish. Click on the images below for hi-res versions.

Glen Brogan

Little Friends of Printmaking

Drew Millward

Graham Erwin

Dave Perillo


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22. Meet “ParaNorman” Character Designer Heidi Smith

On August 17th, ParaNorman, the second feature film from Oregon-based animation studio Laika (Coraline), will hit movie screens nationwide. The film’s veteran co-directors, Sam Fell (The Tale of Despereaux) and Chris Butler (The Corpse Bride), decided to bring in some exciting new blood (no ghoulish pun intended) to make it happen. One of the new stand-outs has been the film’s character/conceptual designer, Heidi Smith.

Smith came to Laika for ParaNorman back in 2008, just three months out of CalArts and beating out several notable contenders to develop the characters and aesthetic of this stop-motion feature. At CalArts she studied under greats like Mike Mitchell, and her years as a student were a big influence on this, her first major professional project. In fact, it went so far as having ParaNorman’s lead character, Norman, based visually on a childhood photo of one of  her professors.

With influences as varied as Yuri Norstein, Richard Williams and Stanley Kubrick, Smith had a lot to pull from to give ParaNorman its unique look. Cartoon Brew spoke with Smith earlier this month by phone about her experiences working at Laika, working with co-director Chris Butler and seeing her drawings be transformed into maquettes, set pieces and clothing.

Chris: The ParaNorman crew said they hired you because your work looked “scrappy and unhinged,” and had a bit of “nervous quality.” How would you compare the portfolio you got this job based on with the kind of work you ended up creating for ParaNorman?

Heidi: Because I worked on ParaNorman for so long, I think the style I used changed a bit as the project developed. My style changes, and I think that’s natural for an artist. You change and you grow, and I think that you get stronger. Your observational skills get stronger; your inspirations change.

Maybe in the beginning with that portfolio and my first bit of work for ParaNorman my work was kind of more boxy; it seemed a little more rectangular and boxy. As time went on and I worked on it with the others, my style became more organic, especially in the line-work.

Chris: Seeing as how this was your first major project after graduating college and you worked on ParaNorman for two years, I’d imagine this is the most detailed and length project you’ve ever done – professionally, personally or for college. What was it like having that amount of time to grow into it?

Heidi: I think it allowed me to really explore as an artist. ParaNorman’s co-director Chris Butler was really great to work with; his passion made me passionate. It was hard to run out of creative energy working at Laika, as there was always a passion there. I really became a stronger artist for working on this film.

Chris: I’ve read that some of the characters, like Neil, pretty much stayed on track from the original designs to your finished versions, while others had quite an evolution – I’m talking specifically about Mr.

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23. “ParaNorman” Smears

Here’s something I’ve never seen before: sculpted smear models. Over the past decade, 3-D printers have transformed the art of stop motion animation, allowing for unprecedented subtlety and nuance in character animation. Laika has been at the forefront of exploring these new possibilities. This article in Variety discusses Laika’s use of rapid prototyping, and reveals that the new printers they used on ParaNorman had the capability to print out models in full-color. Wow!

(via Smears, Multiples and Other Animation Gimmicks)


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24. “ParaNorman” talkback

From coast to coast, the reviews are coming in and its looking good! Betsy Sharkey in The Los Angeles Times says ParaNorman is “the most fun you’ll have with ghosts and zombies all year”. Manolha Dargis in The New York Times admires “the movie’s meticulously detailed pictorial beauty, which turns each scene into an occasion for discovery and sometimes delight.”

ParaNorman opens today and its a great little film. I highly recommend you check it out – and report to us right here with you opinion in the comments below. Only those who have actually seen the film will be allowed to post below.

Attention those in Southern California: Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra California is hosting a ParaNorman event this Sunday with character and armature designers Vera Brosgol, Jeremy Spake, Heidi Smith, and Alan Cook all flying down for the event. Story boards, models, and lots of designs will be on display. There will also be free posters to the those who attend (while supplies last) and the admission is free! Here is the link.


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25. Get Your Free, Interactive Making Of “ParaNorman” Book

To support its bid for a Best Animated Feature Oscar, Focus Features has released an interactive “making of” ParaNorman booklet. The online version has clips from the film, video interviews with the artists, slideshows, and music from the soundtrack. There’s also a free downloadable PDF for those who just want the glossy photos.

The book is aimed at Academy voters who are only casually familiar with animation. While it lacks the type of content that might appeal to someone interested in a deeper understanding of the process or the motivations of the filmmakers, it’s nevertheless a well-made piece of film marketing. It also points to the future of ‘making of’ animation books, which I predict will increasingly shift away from paper and into a more digital and interactive form.

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