Laika, the animation studio responsible for Missing Link, Kubo and the Two Strings, Coraline, and more, is teaming with Bowie State University to build the nation’s first stop-motion animation studio at a historically Black college and university (HBCU). The partnership hopes to “enhance BSU’s animation curriculum, with the goal of providing a career pathway for BSU students into the animation industry,” with donations that “will fund upgrades to Bowie State’s green screen studio to allow stop-motion animation production. The art form, one of cinema’s oldest techniques, entails the incremental movement of objects, such as puppets, filmed 24X per second to create the illusion of movement.”
Per the official press release, the partnership between Laika and Bowie State University, a public historically Black university in Prince George’s County, Maryland, came about “as a way to create internship opportunities for BSU students,” with Laika committing to making “a long-term investment at Bowie State to prepare students for success in the animation industry.”
“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.”
Arianne Sutner, Laika’s head of production, added: “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.”
Established in 1865, Bowie State University “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. ”
Stop-motion studio Laika has credits that include Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), The Boxtrolls (2014), Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), and Missing Link (2019).
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