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LAIKA & Bowie State University to Build First HBCU Stop-Motion Animation Studio

LAIKA & Bowie State University to Build First HBCU Stop-Motion Animation Studio

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Feature Film Animation Studio Commits to Enhance BSU’s Curriculum & 
Create a Career/Internship Pipeline

What a great way to celebrate Black History month with LAIKA, the Oscar®-nominated and BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning feature film animation studio best known for Boxtrolls, Missing LinkKubo and the Two Strings and Coraline, partnering with Bowie State University to build the nation’s first stop-motion animation studio at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Bowie State’s animation & motion graphics concentration is part of the visual communication & digital media arts (VCDMA) bachelor’s degree program, which is one of the university’s fastest-growing majors. Bowie State was recently recognized as one of the nation’s top HBCU art programs by The Hundred-Seven, which specifically highlighted the five concentrations in the VCDMA program

This is how you create lasting change that will have lasting changes in the animation industry with BSU’s animation curriculum to provide career opportunity for the students of the Historically Black College University. 

I had no idea that LAIKA has been working with BSU for internship opportunities and as time passed the relationship has grown organically to this investment. It will prepare students to be successful in the animation industry. Bowie State’s animation & motion graphics concentration is part of the visual communication & digital media arts (VCDMA) bachelor’s degree program, which is one of the university’s fastest-growing majors. Bowie State was recently recognized as one of the nation’s top HBCU art programs by The Hundred-Seven, which specifically highlighted the five concentrations in the VCDMA program

This is a great opportunity for students to learn valuable skills that will carry them into the professional world of animation. There are a lot of storytelling and narrative elements that have yet to be brought to life via stop-motion animation, especially in the arena of children’s programming. We are looking at this partnership to be an internship and career pipeline that can help diversify the animation industry, which has been a traditionally underrepresented sector when it comes to the voices of people of color, women, LGBTQ and other communities.

Tewodross Melchishua Williams, Chair of the BSU Department of Fine & Performing Arts

LAIKA is thrilled to be partnering with as prestigious an institution as Bowie State University. At its heart, LAIKA is a community of artists, craftspeople and scientists committed to expanding the technological capabilities of our animation medium in order to tell everyone’s stories with boldness, compassion and excellence. Helping BSU students to express their experience, their artistry and their potential through the stop-motion art form speaks to our creative and corporate mandate. We’re so excited to explore their talents and to provide mentorship and tools that will enlarge the scope of their filmmaking vision.

Arianne Sutner, LAIKA’s head of production of the Golden Globe-winning and Oscar®-nominated producer of Missing LinkKubo and the Two Strings and ParaNorman

The donation to Bowie State University (BSU) Green Screen Studio to allow stop-motion animation production the animation style LAIKA is famous for and one of cinema’s oldest techniques. You’ve likely seen at least ONE of LAIKA’s animated classics and may not have realized how they made the films. They have puppets (or other items) and move them frame by frame filmed at 24x per second to make them lifelike and give the illusion of natural movement. It’s quite time intensive and must be carefully planned for each shot.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, LAIKA’s five films have been nominated for Academy Awards for “Outstanding Animated Feature Film.” In addition, Kubo and the Two Strings received an Oscar nomination for its visual effects, only the second time in Academy history that an animated film received such distinction. Kubo and the Two Strings won the BAFTA Award and the National Board of Review, and Missing Link was this year’s Golden Globe winner. LAIKA’s films have won multiple Annie Awards, animation’s highest honor, as well as a Scientific and Technology Oscar® in 2016 for its innovation in 3D printing in facial animation. 

Leave a comment below about LAIKA and BSU Stop Motion Studio and how it will create lasting changes in the animation field.

About Bowie State University

Bowie State University (BSU) is an important higher education access portal for qualified persons from diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, seeking a high-quality and affordable public comprehensive university. The university places special emphasis on the science, technology, cybersecurity, teacher education, business, and nursing disciplines within the context of a liberal arts education. For more information about BSU, visit bowiestate.edu.

About LAIKA

Fueled by the vision of its President & CEO Travis Knight, the animation studio LAIKA was founded in 2005. Located just outside of Portland, Oregon, LAIKA was awarded a Scientific and Technology Oscar® plaque in 2016 for its innovation in 3D printing. All of LAIKA’s five films: Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), The Boxtrolls (2014), Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) and Missing Link (2019) were nominated for the Academy Award® for Outstanding Animated Feature. Kubo and the Two Strings also won the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film and received an additional Oscar® nomination for Visual Effects. Missing Link was awarded the Golden Globe® as Best Animated Film. @laikastudios

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