Animation in Oregon – A 50 Year History

In 1975 an animated short film called “Closed Mondays” won the Oscar. It was created in Oregon by filmmakers Will Vinton and Bob Gardiner. The creatives behind that short film soon became known as Will Vinton Studios and they went on to develop iconic and lasting campaigns like the California Raisins. In the 1990’s Vinton Studios became LAIKA and this marked the next phase of Oregon’s long and celebrated journey in stop motion animation; a journey that’s collected numerous Oscar nominations for films like “Coraline” and “Kubo & the Two Strings” and a best Animated Feature Golden Globe win for LAIKA’s “Missing Link” and an Oscar win for ShadowMachine’s “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” alongside numerous Oscars for LAIKA’s pioneering technical innovations in the animation field.

Based just outside Portland, LAIKA promotes the spirit of a city known for embracing the free-thinking, the counter-cultural, and the adventurous. We’re proud of our home, its history, and its culture. And, by their own admission, LAIKA wouldn’t be the same creative, industry-defining company if it was born anywhere else. They have embraced this culture internally, fostering an environment that supports and celebrates creativity.

Check out Laika’s incredible YouTube channel for more insight on their history and work.

Animation talent in Oregon runs deep. Starting with those headliners of our stop motion studios – LAIKA and ShadowMachine – the animation community here stretches even further. Studios like Bent Image Lab, House Special, Hinge Digital, Deep Sky, and animation pioneers like Joanna Priestly, Chel White, Bill Plympton and Rose Bond call Oregon home and their legacies stretch into the present creative workforce that create commercials, features, short films and experimental explorations, year in and year out.