LAIKA, Inc. will build a state-of-the-art feature film animation campus to house its burgeoning entertainment division, it was announced today by President and CEO Dale Wahl. LAIKA owner and Chairman of the Board Philip H. Knight has purchased 30 acres of land in Tualatin, OR, just 12 miles south of Portland, as the future site of LAIKA’s world class animation facility, which is scheduled to open in 2008. “LAIKA Entertainment has a world-class roster of talent and projects and I felt it was time to provide them with a full-time home,” said Mr. Knight. “Just as we anticipate our films will look like no others before them, so too will this campus make a bold and distinct architectural statement.”
LAIKA Entertainment’s expanding film production schedule will see its employee roster soar to over 400 within the next two years. “The LAIKA campus is an essential part of our strategy to be a major force in the global animated film business, and will play a key role in defining the culture we want to establish for our entertainment division.” said Mr. Wahl. “This facility will be a sought after destination for the highest caliber of animation talent in the world.” Phase one of campus construction will include buildings dedicated to CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) animation; stop motion animation, and core corporate services including reception, executive offices, conference rooms, fitness center, cafeteria and theatre. Groundbreaking is planned for early 2007 and an architectural firm and construction company will be announced shortly. “The addition of a world class feature film animation studio to the Portland area is a major boost for the local creative community,” says Steve Oster, Executive Director of the Oregon Film & Video Office. “An undertaking of this scale also has enormous positive implications for the economic growth and cultural enrichment of the region. We’re thrilled that Phil Knight and LAIKA are stepping up to the plate in such a big way.”
LAIKA is owned by Phil Knight, co-founder and Chairman of Nike. The company was rebranded as LAIKA in the summer of 2005, when it absorbed Vinton Studios, an animation leader and innovator for more than 30 years. LAIKA Entertainment currently has two animated feature films in production and was a production entity on the Oscar(TM) nominated animated film Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride.” “Coraline,” based on the international bestselling children’s novel by Neil Gaiman, is being adapted for the screen and directed by Henry Selick (“Nightmare Before Christmas,” “James and the Giant Peach”) with Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, and the comedy duo of French & Saunders leading the voice cast. World wide distribution will be handled by Focus Features. “Jack & Ben’s Animated Adventure,” a heartwarming original story of brotherly love set in the animal kingdom, is being directed by animator and writer Jorgen Klubien. In addition, LAIKA recently acquired the film rights to one of the UK’s current bestselling children’s novels, writer/illustrator Alan Snow’s “Here Be Monsters,” and will develop it as an animated feature film. LAIKA/house, the commercial division of the company, produces animated commercials and shorts for global clients including Coca-Cola, Wrigleys, Samsung, ESPN and Esure UK.
LAIKA/house will continue to operate at the company’s current headquarters at 1400 NW 22nd Avenue in Portland. Throughout its history, the company has won 11 CLIO Awards, three London International Advertising & Design Awards, five Mobius Advertising Awards, two Cannes Lion International Advertising Festival awards, two Academy Awards out of five nominations, 11 Prime time Emmy Awards, and honors from the New York International Film & TV Festival, Annecy Awards, Annie Awards, and the World Animation Celebration Festival. For more information, please visit www.laika.com
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