Still on top

9 Story/Brown Bag Films reclaims the Hot50 Production crown

Previously a two-time Hot50 Production runner-up, Toronto, Canada’s 9 Story Media Group—along with its production arm Brown Bag Films—is now a two-time Hot50 Production winner, having bested contenders including SVOD juggernaut Netflix and award-winning Guru Studio. It’s been a busy year for the company after rebranding its Toronto animation studio as Brown Bag Films in 2017 and subsequently integrating with Brown Bag’s studios in Dublin and Manchester.

In January, 9 Story grew its US presence with the acquisition of New York-based Out of the Blue Enterprises (Super Why!) and appointed co-founder Angela Santomero (Blue’s Clues co-creator) as chief creative officer. 9 Story US now serves as the anchor of the company’s creative development and research division. “Angela and her team head up the entire development process, which feeds our production pipeline. Having really strong development, production and distribution is the type of competitive advantage we all work so hard for,” says Brown Bag Films MD Cathal Gaffney.

This year, the amalgamation efforts resulted in 10 greenlights, including Clifford the Big Red Dog (Scholastic/PBSKIDS/Amazon), a third season of Vampirina (Disney Junior) and a second season of The Magic School Bus Rides Again (Scholastic/Netflix). The company also bagged 15 Daytime Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Preschool Children’s Animated Series for Nature Cat, Peg + Cat and The Stinky and Dirty Show. “Being recognized by our peers means an awful lot, but ultimately, it’s about building a great animation studio where talent can thrive on quality projects,” Gaffney adds.

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