Shortly before its 15th anniversary less than two weeks ago, Oregon-based stop-motion studio LAIKA laid off 56 employees, representing 15% of its 362 employees. In a statement sent to AWN, the company said, “LAIKA The safety and wellbeing of its employees is paramount. With no end in sight to the pandemic, we have fired 56 people from our crew to hire them again at a later date when we can increase the number of people we can safely have in our buildings. "
Led by CEO Travis Knight, the multi-Oscar-nominated studio behind films like Missing Link and Kubo and the Two Strings has kept employees on payroll during the pandemic, even though the studio has been closed since April. Although their films contain considerable CG animation, the studio mainly produces stop-motion animation, a sophisticated and time-consuming technique that is not suitable for working from home. The studio is currently in pre-production for its next unannounced feature and is among the other entertainment companies that laid off staff to cut costs in the face of an ongoing pandemic with no visible end in sight.
Dan Sarto is the Editor and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.