Brown Bag Films wins Disney deal – 40 digital media jobs on way

20 Dec 2011

Twice Oscar-nominated Dublin digital animation studio Brown Bag Films has won a major contract from Disney that will see its new pre-school series The Happy Hugglemonsters air across 150 countries next autumn.

The deal is a win for Ireland’s digital economy, as it could generate up to 40 jobs during the course of the project.

The series follows the adventures of fun-loving, five-year-old Henry Hugglemonster, the middle child in a happy, wacky, close-knit monster family – The Hugglemonsters.

The Happy Hugglemonsters is the latest series being developed and produced by Disney’s London-based production hub.

Led by Beth Gardiner, vice-president, Production, Disney Junior, EMEA, the Disney team is working with Brown Bag Films to deliver the 52 x 11-minute series – developed from a series of books created by Niamh Sharkey called I’m a Happy Hugglewug and published by Walker Books. The illustration style of the books is retained in the series’ animation.

Each story transports preschoolers into the world of Henry Hugglemonster as he guides the audience through the ups and downs of being part of a loving, bustling monster family.

The series is directed by Emmy Award-winning director Norton Virgien (Rugrats, Doc McStuffins), the lead writer is Sascha Paladino (Wonder Pets, Ni-Hao Kai-Lan) and the series is produced by Gillian Higgins (Doc McStuffins, Octonauts).

“We are delighted to announce the production of this series, it is great to work with home-grown talent like Niamh Sharkey and to bring an original idea like this to a global Disney Junior audience is hugely satisfying for all involved,” said Cathal Gaffney, co-founder and CEO of Brown Bag Films.

40 additional jobs at Brown Bag Films

“This series will see over 40 additional staff employed full time in Brown Bag Films over the coming 18 months and demonstrates how the creative economy has such an important role to play for Ireland,” Gaffney said.

Brown Bag Films is also producing Disney Junior series Doc McStuffins, set to premiere on Disney Junior worldwide in 2012. Doc McStuffins is an imaginative animated series about six-year-old Doc McStuffins, who communicates with and heals stuffed animals and toys out of her backyard clinic.

Created in May 2007, Disney’s EMEA production hub drives the investment in and development of long-form animation outside of North America, for both European and global distribution. It has already achieved great success with series such as UK-produced Jungle Junction, which has proved to be a huge hit with Disney Junior audiences internationally.

The series has now rolled out in more than 150 countries worldwide, winning a BAFTA nomination and more than 23m viewers in EMEA alone.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years