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LAIKA Adds Ian Sheppard as Head of Development

Former Skydance, DreamWorks Animation and Nickelodeon executive will report directly to President & CEO Travis Knight.

Ian Sheppard has just been appointed Head of Development at LAIKA, the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning animation studio behind the films Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings and Missing Link.

The veteran animation executive joins the Oregon-based studio after stints in senior positions at Skydance Animation, DreamWorks Animation, and Nickelodeon; he will report directly to President & CEO Travis Knight. 

“Ian’s talent, taste, and rare creative sensitivity make us a better studio,” said Knight. “He draws on a wealth of experience across mediums and genres and brings a vibrant energy to our leadership team.  I’m thrilled to welcome Ian to LAIKA, and look forward to crafting a diverse slate of bold, distinctive, and enduring stories.”

Sheppard most recently served as Senior Vice President of Development for both feature film and television at Skydance Animation. He was brought on in the studio’s early days to start the development department and oversee the creative development of its ambitious film slate as well as the company’s expansion into high-end animated series. Prior to joining Skydance, Ian was Vice President, Development at DreamWorks Animation Television. In 2013, he was one of the founding members of the DWA TV team, tasked with producing over 300 hours of original content as part of the company’s groundbreaking deal with Netflix. While there, he developed a number of hit television series for Netflix, including Boss Baby: Back in Business, Voltron: Legendary Defender, and Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. Before DreamWorks Animation, Ian spent nine years at Nickelodeon where he served as Executive Director of Original Movies. Ian holds a B.A. degree from New York University.

"LAIKA is a company that represents the highest bar for quality and innovation in animation,” said Sheppard.  “I've been in awe of their brilliantly original films and I'm thrilled to now contribute to a company that is so devoted to the power and art of storytelling."

Source: LAIKA

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.