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LAIKA Hit with Layoffs

The Oregon-based studio behind ‘Missing Link’ and ‘Kubo and the Two String’ has let go 15% of their staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the heels of announcing their 15th anniversary less than two weeks ago, Oregon-based stop-motion studio LAIKA has laid off 56 employees, representing 15% of their staff of 362. In a statement sent to AWN, the company said, “LAIKA holds the safety and well-being of its employees as its highest concern.  With no end in sight to the pandemic, we have rolled off 56 of staff from our crew with the intention to hire them back at a future date when we can expand the number of people we can safely have in our buildings.”

Led by CEO Travis Knight, the multiple Oscar-nominated studio behind films like Missing Link and Kubo and the Two Strings has kept staff on payroll during the pandemic even with the studio effectively closed since April; though their films integrate considerable CG animation, the studio primarily produces stop-motion animation, an exacting and time-consuming technique that doesn’t lend itself to working from home. Currently in pre-production on their next, un-announced feature, the studio joins the ranks of other entertainment companies that have shed staff in order to cut costs in the face of an ongoing pandemic with no visible end in sight.

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