Laika Developing New Animated Features With Victor Maldonado, Alfredo Torres & Pete Candeland

EXCLUSIVE: Oregon studio Laika has brought in new talent, hiring director Pete Candeland, along with Victor Maldonado & Alfredo Torres, the Annie Award-winning duo together known as Headless, to develop new animated features.

The appointments are effective immediately, though there’s no word yet on what the projects are.

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Maldonado and Torres are an L.A.-based team that landed their Annie for the helming of “Win, Lose or Draal,” an episode of the Guillermo del Toro series Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia, produced by DreamWorks Animation and Double Dare You Productions. The duo also directed three episodes of the Emmy-winning Netflix animated series Love, Death & Robots, additionally partnering on the 2007 fantasy Nocturna which won Best Animated Feature at the Goya Awards, Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars. Maldonado directed that title alongside Adrià García, with Torres serving as production designer and tackling numerous other creative responsibilities.

Maldonado and Torres also served as animation segment directors on A Monster Calls, the J.A. Bayona drama starring Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson, which won nine Goyas. The pair were most recently developing features and series at Skydance Animation, which has exited its partnership with Apple, as we were first to report, for a multi-year deal at Netflix.

A multi-faceted talent equally skilled in the areas of 2D, 3D and live action mix animation, Candeland is best known for his high-concept music videos for Gorillaz, the Grammy-winning virtual band of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, as well as spots for the Rock Band game franchise and emotive BBC trailers.

While it’s begun working in live-action in recent years, Laika is best known for its groundbreaking work on the Academy-Award nominated stop-motion features Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Missing Link. The company was founded in 2005 by Travis Knight, who serves as President & CEO.

Currently in production on its sixth animated feature, Wildwood, based on the book series by Colin Meloy and illustrator Carson Ellis, Laika is also developing the animated feature The Night Gardener, based on an original idea from Ozark creator Bill Dubuque. Also in development there is an adaptation of the action thriller novel Seventeen by screenwriter John Brownlow, which will mark the studio’s first live-action feature.

Maldonado and Torres are repped by UTA and Lichter, Grossman, Nichols. Candeland is with Verve and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman.

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