The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures today announced the election of LAIKA president and CEO, producer, director, and animator Travis Knight to its Board of Trustees. The museum also announced the appointment of motion picture producer and former chair of the Academy Museum Inclusion Advisory Committee, Effie T. Brown, as an honorary trustee—a lifetime position—effective July 1, 2023.
As the governing body of the Academy Museum, the Board leads the museum toward a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, in addition to securing adequate resources to advance the museum’s mission. Knight and Brown will help continue the success of the museum and its social impact for audiences worldwide.
As LAIKA President and CEO, Travis Knight has led all key creative and business decisions at the studio since its founding in 2005. He was the lead animator on Coraline (2009), producer on ParaNorman (2012), The Boxtrolls (2014), and Missing Link (2019), and he won the BAFTA Award for directing Kubo and the Two Strings (2016). Under his leadership, LAIKA has garnered worldwide distinction for its melding of the age-old craft of stop-motion with the most cutting-edge cinematic advances and manufacturing techniques. As a result, every LAIKA film has been nominated for an Animated Feature Film Oscar. Kubo and the Two Strings also garnered a Visual Effects Oscar nomination, only the second time in the history of the Academy that an animated film was heralded in this way. Knight made his live-action directorial debut with Paramount’s hit film Bumblebee (2018). He is directing LAIKA’s next animated feature film Wildwood, which is the most ambitious stop-motion animated film ever attempted.
Effie T. Brown is the CEO and majority owner of Gamechanger Films, where she leads the charge in producing, developing, and financing content by and about women, POC, LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.
Prior to joining Gamechanger Films, Brown produced Sundance Film Festival winners, Real Women Have Curves (2002), Dear White People (2014) and Rocket Science (2007). Turning to television, Brown appeared and produced HBO’s Project Greenlight as well as executive produced Lee Daniels’ Star on FOX and Disney Channel’s Zombies (2018).
In 2021, Gamechanger Films co-financed Netflix’s Passing (2021), starring Tessa Thompson. Other recent projects include Amazon’s Run Sweetheart Run (2020), and The Inspection (2022), which was a co-financing and producing venture with A24. The Inspection (2022) received three Independent Spirit Awards nominations, was honored at the GLAAD Awards, and won Outstanding Independent Motion Picture at the NAACP Image Awards.
Gamechanger’s 2023 slate includes climate justice documentary Save Yourself! in partnership with TAZO Tea, Sorcerority, starring and co-produced by Taraji P. Henson and Gabrielle Union, and Haant, a horror feature rooted in Gullah-Geeche mysticism.
As a distinguished member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Brown also serves on the Academy Museum Inclusion Advisory Committee and the Producers Branch Executive Committee.
The Board of Trustees has also re-elected Patricia Bellinger Balzer, Arnaud Boetsch, Olivier de Givenchy, Ray Halbritter, Ryan Murphy, Regina Scully, whose current terms end June 30, 2023, for another three-year term.
Ted Sarandos, Board Chair and Co-CEO of Netflix, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Travis Knight to the Board of Trustees. He is an extraordinary leader who has already made such an impact on the industry at large through his groundbreaking advancements in the art of stop-motion animation and live-action moviemaking.” He continues, “We are also proud to recognize Effie T. Brown, a talented producer who has been a crucial voice for diversity and inclusion at the museum, with this lifetime honorary position.”
Academy Museum Director and President Jacqueline Stewart added, “I join Ted and the entire Academy Museum Board of Trustees in welcoming Travis and Effie. Their commitment to philanthropy and to the advancement of all the disciplines of moviemaking will help the Academy Museum share with our visitors the stories of the past, present, and future of cinema.”
Knight joins current and re-elected Board members Ted Sarandos, Chair; Miky Lee (Mie Kyung Lee), Vice-Chair; Kimberly Steward, Secretary; Jim Gianopulos, Treasurer; Patricia Bellinger Balzer; Jason Blum; Arnaud Boetsch; Olivier de Givenchy; David Dolby; Sidonie Seydoux Dumas; Eric Esrailian; Julia S. Gouw; Ray Halbritter; Tom Hanks; Bill Kramer; David Linde; Eva Longoria; Ryan Murphy; Isis Mussenden; Dominic Ng; Katherine L. Oliver; Alejandro Ramírez Magaña; Shira Ruderman; Regina K. Scully; Jacqueline Stewart; Emma Thomas; Janet Yang; and Kevin Yeaman. Brown joins Honorary Trustee Sid Ganis.