Free demo and talk on Oscar-nominated films comes to Walters center

by: COURTESY PHOTOS: WALTERS CULTURAL ARTS CENTER - Mark Shapiro from the marketing and brand management division of LAIKA, will speak at the Walters Cultural Arts Center about the companys stop-motion movies.If you ever wanted to know how to make a troll move, you’re in luck. This month’s Spoken Word lecture at the Walters Cultural Arts Center in downtown Hillsboro will give a “sneak peak” into LAIKA, the local animation studio best-known for its feature-length stop-motion films “Coraline” and “ParaNorman.”

The free Sept. 17 talk will feature Mark Shapiro, who works in the company’s marketing and brand management division.

“It will be exciting to share visuals of what we’re creating here at LAIKA,” he said.

Founded in 2005, the studio has produced two Oscar-nominee (for best animation) feature films that were commercially and critically successful. Its third stop-motion film, “The Boxtrolls,” is due to be released Sept. 26, COURTESY PHOTOS: WALTERS CULTURAL ARTS CENTER - Hillsboro LAIKA studio created Coraline, which was nominated for an Oscar.

At the Spoken Word event, Shapiro plans to show a teaser for “The Boxtrolls” (which is also viewable online at, but will primarily focus on the studio’s work with its previous two features.

“I’m going to talk about the remarkable creativity here at LAIKA,” he said. “We’re an ambitious, fearless stop-motion studio.”

He will bring along production puppets to show his audience why it takes to bring one of the studio’s feature films to life. The animation technique involves objects being moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, giving the illusion of motion in the finished process.

It can be painstaking. Each second consists of 24 frames, which translates to upwards of 140,000 individual shots per 100-minute film (and twice that when you factor in 3-D).

But Shapiro said his studio believes it’s more than worth it to create what he termed “the handcrafted style of LAIKA.” What’s more, he sees the company as helping carry on a long history of filmmaking and animation in the Portland area.

by: COURTESY PHOTOS: WALTERS CULTURAL ARTS CENTER - LAIKA's ParaNorman was brought to life through a laborious process.“There are so many talented animators, fabricators and designers who have called Oregon home for a long time,” he said. “And I think what we’re doing here is expanding upon that creativity.”

Travis Knight serves as president and CEO of LAIKA, which is owned by his father, Nike co-founder and chairman Philip H. Knight. The company employs about 250 people at its studio in northeast Hillsboro.

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