LAIKA names Ian Sheppard head of development

Ian Sheppard has been appointed head of development at animation studio LAIKA. The award-winning studio is known for the films Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings and Missing Link.

Sheppard most recently served as senior vice president of development for both feature film and television at Skydance Animation. Before that, he was vice president, development at DreamWorks Animation Television. In 2013, he was one of the founding members of the DWA TV team. While there, he developed a number of hit television series for Netflix, including Boss Baby: Back in Business, Voltron: Legendary Defender and Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. Before DreamWorks Animation, Sheppard spent nine years at Nickelodeon as executive director of original movies. He holds a B.A. degree from New York University.

“LAIKA is a company that represents the highest bar for quality and innovation in animation,” said Sheppard in a statement. “I’ve been in awe of their brilliantly original films and I’m thrilled to now contribute to a company that is so devoted to the power and art of storytelling.” He reports directly to Laika president and CEO Travis Knight.

LAIKA was awarded a Sci-Tech Oscar in 2016 for its innovation in 3D printing, and all five of its feature films were nominated for the Oscar for best animated feature. Kubo and the Two Strings received an additional Oscar nomination for best visual effects, and won the BAFTA for best animated film. Missing Link was awarded the Golden Globe for best animated film.

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