Brown Bag Films, or Brown Bag, is an Irish computer animation studio, based in Dublin, Ireland with a 2D facility based in Manchester, UK. Best known for its character CGI-animated television series' and short films, including the Oscar nominated Give Up Yer Aul Sins and Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty. Brown Bag Films was established in 1994 by Cathal Gaffney and Darragh O'Connell and garnered a number of awards, including nominations for Academy Awards (Best Animated Short Film 2001 for Give Up Yer Aul Sins and 2010 for Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty), four Emmy Award wins in Outstanding Individual Achievement for Peter Rabbit and a host of BAFTA, Emmy and Annie nominations for their shows Bing, Octonauts, Doc McStuffins and Henry Hugglemonster.
Brown Bag Films produce high-profile international TV series, including Acamar Films and Tandem Films co-production Bing for CBeebies, Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins and Henry Hugglemonster, Silvergate Media's Octonauts for CBeebies and Emmy Award winning Peter Rabbit for Nickelodeon, Chorion's Olivia for Nickelodeon US, Wobbly Land for Hit Entertainment/Nickelodeon UK, the animated teenage soap Crap Rapfor RTÉ and the remake of Enid Blyton's Noddy in Toyland for Chorion/FIVE UK. They also do additional animation in the shorts in the 2015 Bob the Builder series while Rainmaker Entertainment is the main animation studio for the series.
Current productions include new seasons of BAFTA and Emmy-nominated series Octonauts for BBC, Doc McStuffins and Henry Hugglemonster for Disney US, Peter Rabbit for Nickelodeon US and BBC. Brown Bag Films have a slate of original children's and family feature projects in development and are also engaged in international co-productions.
Give Up Yer Aul Sins was nominated for Best Animated Short Film in the 2001 Oscars. The short film Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty, directed by Nicky Phelan and produced by Darragh O'Connell, was also nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2009. It has been a wholly owned subsidiary of 9 Story Media Group since 2015.
Independent era (1994-2015) Edit
Brown Bag Films was established in 1994 by Cathal Gaffney and Darragh O'Connell, producing their first series 'Peig' for RTÉ using hand-painted acetate cels shot on 35mm film. In 1995, the studio moved to an old Georgian house off Gardiner Street, producing a few commercials and illustrations. Wolves, Witches & Giants was created in 1996 for ITV Studios.
The studio moved to a new premises in Dublin city centre in 1997, establishing Ireland's first digital ink-and-paint workstation. They work on the Warner Bros feature film The King & I, coordinating European animation with LA via the a 56K modem. Barstool and Taxi are produced for RTÉ and they begin to grow their commercials service.
In 1998, Brown Bag Films produce the series Why? for RTÉ which sold in over 100 countries worldwide.
In 1999, Brown Bag Films release their short film The Last Elk, directed by Alan Shannon. The film goes on to win numerous international awards.
In 2002, Brown Bag Films was nominated for its first Oscar, Give Up Yer Aul Sins, directed by Gaffney and produced by O'Connell and the company grew to a staff of 22.
In July 2007, Brown Bag Films moved to a new studio in Smithfield Square, Dublin, designed by Douglas Wallace Architects, and began production on their first animation series, Olivia, for Nick US. In the same year development began on Noddy in Toyland.
In 2008, the studio began working on Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty, directed by Nicky Phelan, landing a second Oscar nomination.
In 2009, Brown Bag Films delivered 20 hours of animation to international broadcasters and was awarded European Producer of the Year at Cartoon Tributes, Norway. The studio has grown to more than 160 people and is equipped with a high-definition picture and 5:1 audio post production facility.
In July 2010, the company established an office in Los Angeles to produce animated feature films. In March 2012, Doc McStuffins premiered on Disney Junior, breaking rating records for the most watched preschool première ever.
In 2011, they premièred Darragh O'Connell's short film, "23 Degrees, 5 Minutes", voiced by John Hurt. They began production on Doc McStuffins – the first show commissioned by newly rebranded Disney Junior US. The Octonauts was nominated for a Bafta. Brown Bag Films began production on their own original series, Henry Hugglemonster, based on a book by Niamh Sharkey, for Disney Junior US.
In March 2012, Doc McStuffins premieres on Disney Junior and breaks rating records for the most watched pre-school première ever. It immediately becomes the No 1 pre-school show in the U.S.A. Brown Bag Films continue production on Henry Hugglemonster and a second season of the Octonauts, and are joined by a very special new staff member - Toby the Studio Dog!
In 2013, Brown Bag Films begin production on their short film ANYA, made to raise awareness for the charity To Russia With Love. The Octonauts and Doc McStuffins are nominated for Baftas. They begin production on a second season of Henry Hugglemonster and Doc McStuffins. Brown Bag Films recruit 30 new staff and expand the studio into a third premises.
In February 2014, Brown Bag Films announce their new show Bing, based on the book series by author and illustrator Ted Dewan. They continue production on a second season of Henry Hugglemonster and Peter Rabbit, a third season of Doc McStuffins and a fourth season of the Octonauts. Brown bag Films launch Brown Bag Labs, an online space for behind-the-scenes fun and tutorials from the studio. Octonauts brings home an IFTA for Best Children's Programme. They celebrate their 20th Anniversary! Brown Bag Films short film Anya is released online to raise funds for To Russia With Love charity. They announce the opening of their 2D studio in Manchester. Their short film An Ode To Love is awarded Best Irish Animation at Foyle Film Festival. They release the Christmas Special episode of their new online series Trouble In Paradise.
Brown Bag Films currently have three network series in production, Henry Hugglemonster, Doc McStuffins, and Bing, with more than 160 people working in the studio. In January 2015, their pilot episode of The Stinky and Dirty Show, based on the 'I Stink!' book series by Jim and Kate McMullan, debuted on Amazon Prime and is later greenlit for a full season. Bing is awarded for Best Writing in a Children’s TV Episode by The Writer's Guild of Great Britain. Doc McStuffins is awarded for Outstanding Children's Program at the 46th NAACP Image Awards and receives a Peabody award at the 74th Annual Peabody Awards.
9 Story Media Group (2015-present) Edit
In August 2015, Brown Bag Films was acquired by 9 Story Media Group.
In March 2016, Brown Bag Films announced that they were in production on a new series for Disney Junior, Vampirina, based on the Vampirina Ballerina series of children's books written by Anne Marie Pace and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Vampirina will debut in 2017. Brown Bag Films will also provide the CGI animation for Nature Cat: The Movie.