A new commercial studio, House Special, launched in Portland, Oregon last week. The company was started by Lourri Hammack, Kirk Kelley and Al Cubillas, who ran Laika’s former commercial division Laika/house. Like the earlier Laika division, House Special will produce commercials in a variety of media including stop motion, CG, and hand-drawn.
Laika announced last May that they would disband their commercial unit to focus exclusively on feature films. While commercials had served a prominent role in Laika’s earlier incarnation Will Vinton Studios, they didn’t make as much sense after Nike founder Phil Knight acquired the company in 2003 and shifted the company’s focus to feature filmmaking. Laika CEO Travis Knight told Oregon Live a few months ago that, “It’s become clear that we need to devote all of our artistry, innovation, and resources towards our feature films in order to craft the distinctive and evocative stories for which LAIKA has become known.”