Ireland’s best-known animation studio, Brown Bag Films, is sprinkling some Oscars stardust on its newest production, with Ruth Negga cast in Angela’s Christmas.
It has been a crazy few years at Brown Bag Films, beginning in 2015 when 9 Story Media Group swooped in to snap it up and increase the company’s output.
Several expansions in Dublin soon followed, with a tranche of films emerging since. Plans are afoot to replicate, or even surpass, the company’s Oscar-nominated films Give Up Yer Aul Sins (2002) and Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (2010).
Three Emmy Awards nominations were garnered for Peter Rabbit (2014), as well as a host of BAFTA, Emmy and Annie nominations for hit shows Octonauts, Doc McStuffins and Henry Hugglemonster.
9 Story hit it big within 18 months, when Brown Bag Films’ co-production of Bing won an award at the fourth International Emmy Kids Awards.
The company’s stand-out project in 2017, Angela’s Christmas, comes from Frank McCourt’s only children’s book, inspired by a story his mother Angela told him as a child.
McCourt won the Pulitzer Prize for his best-selling memoir, Angela’s Ashes.
Angela’s Christmas is already in the early stages of animation and final lighting, with a wrap expected in November.
The film stars Oscar-nominated Negga (Loving, Preacher) in the role of Angela’s mother and Lucy O’Connell (Song of the Sea) as Angela. The film is written by Will Collins (Song of the Sea, Wolfwalkers) and Damien O’Connor (Anya, Doc McStuffins), and directed by the latter.
Ellen McCourt, Frank’s widow, serves as an executive producer on the project and said she was “thrilled to see this beloved story come to life as an animated film”.
“Brown Bag Films’ unparalleled artistry in animation, combined with their Irish roots, make them the perfect partner to tell Frank’s children’s classic in a new way.”
Providing the narration is Malachy McCourt (Brewster’s Millions, The January Man, One Life to Live), Frank’s brother, and Irish-American actor, writer and politician.
“Angela’s Christmas is such a special story,” said Darragh O’Connell, creative director of Brown Bag Films. “McCourt has a way of capturing the mind of young Angela that will have you laughing and crying.
“The story lends itself beautifully to animation and we are so excited to share this with audiences around the world.”