Jeremy Kipp Walker, Chaz Salembier Join Laika Live-Action Team

Laika, the Portland-based animation studio behind movies such as Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, has hired Jeremy Kipp Walker and Chaz Salembier as part of a push into live-action filmmaking.

Walker becomes executive vp, live-action production after serving as head of production for Netflix’s independent film division. His credits include The Big Sick, Half Nelson, Table 19, Mississippi Grind and It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

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Salembier, a veteran of Walt Disney Studios, becomes creative vp, live-action film at Laika, charged with identifying and developing stories for the indie studio’s live-action film slate, starting at the Cannes Film Festival.

Both Laika hires will report to Matt Levin, president of live-action film and series, who joined the indie studio in the new role in February after a long tenure at Netflix.

Besides production on its sixth animated movie Wildwood, directed by Laika founder Travis Knight, the studio is also developing its first live-action project, a film based on screenwriter John Brownlow’s action thriller novel Seventeen. 

“I have had the privilege of working closely with Jeremy for over 10 years — he’s one of the most talented and respected producers in the business and I could not ask for a better partner,” Levin said in a statement. “Chaz is an exceptional creative executive who will be an incredible champion for filmmakers and bold, original storytelling at Laika.”

Laika was founded in 2005 by president and CEO Knight and has animated film credits that include Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings and Missing Link.

The studio is also in development on The Night Gardener, an animated film from an original idea by Bill Dubuque, creator of the hit series Ozark.

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