Animation studio Laika lays off its workers due to Corona pandemic

Oregon based animation studio Laika has laid off 15 per cent of its workers amid the pandemic. Having recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, the studio has laid off 56 of its 362 employees due to Covid-19 safety concerns to rehire them when possible.

“(Laika) holds the safety and well-being of its employees as its highest concern,” a representative said in a statement. “With no end in sight to the pandemic, we have rolled off 56 staff from our crew intending to hire them back at a future date when we can expand the number of people we can safely have in our buildings.”

All five of the studio’s previous films have been nominated for a best-animated feature Oscar. Kubo and the Two Strings won the BAFTA Award and a second Oscar nomination for visual effects. Missing Link bagged the Golden Globe Award earlier this year. The studio is in the pre-production stage of its sixth movie and the majority of its staff is working from home, with only essential staff currently working on site. Stop-motion animation is difficult to produce by working remotely, unlike most animation and visual effects studios who could quickly shift base to work-from-home systems.

Laika president and CEO Travis Knight had told employees back in early April that everyone would be kept on payroll even while the studio remained closed. At the time of the statement, he had expected the studio to stay closed until 1 May.


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Ashwathi Anoopkumar