The Oscar-nominated and BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning feature film animation studio LAIKA is best known for animated films like Coraline, Kubo, and the Two Strings, Missing Link. They are partnering up with Bowie State University to fund the first in the nation a stop-motion animation studio at Historically Black College and University (HBCU).
This partnership is meant to improve the university’s animation program and provide a clear goal of creating a path to the industry. LAIKA’s contribution would finance renovations to Bowie State’s green screen studio to enable stop-motion animation development.
“Laika is thrilled to be partnering with as prestigious an institution as Bowie State University,” said Laika’s head of production Arianne Sutner, producer of Missing Link, Kubo, and ParaNorman. “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.”
“This is a great opportunity for students to learn valuable skills that will carry them into the professional world of animation,” said Tewodross Melchishua Williams, chair of the BSU Department of Fine & Performing Arts. “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.”