Ian Sheppard has been appointed Head of Development at award-winning animation studio LAIKA, known for the films Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings and Missing Link.
A veteran animation executive, Sheppard’s career has included senior positions at Skydance Animation, DreamWorks Animation and Nickelodeon. He joins the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning LAIKA, and reports directly to President & CEO Travis Knight.
“Ian’s talent, taste and rare creative sensitivity make us a better studio. He draws on a wealth of experience across mediums and genres and brings a vibrant energy to our leadership team,” said Knight. “I’m thrilled to welcome Ian to LAIKA, and look forward to crafting a diverse slate of bold, distinctive and enduring stories.”
Sheppard most recently served as Senior Vice President of Development for both feature film and television at Skydance Animation. He was brought on in the studio’s early days to start the development department and oversee the creative development of its ambitious film slate as well as the company’s expansion into high-end animated series.
Prior to joining Skydance, Sheppard was Vice President, Development at DreamWorks Animation Television. In 2013, he was one of the founding members of the DWA TV team, tasked with producing over 300 hours of original content as part of the company’s groundbreaking deal with Netflix. 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, where he served 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. “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.”
Founded in 2005, LAIKA is located just outside Portland, Oregon. The studio was awarded a Sci-Tech Oscar in 2016 for its innovation in 3D printing, and all five of its feature films (Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings, Missing Link) 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.