9 Story Media Group/Brown Bag Films
Despite spending months on end working from bedrooms and kitchen tables during the pandemic. 9 Story Media Group—and its production arm Brown Bag Films—secured a record 18 greenlights in 2021, including series pickups for CG-animated Karma’s World (Netflix) and hybrid preschool show Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show (Apple TV+.)
“Even during the lockdowns, we delivered the best work we’ve ever produced as a company,” says Cathal Gaffney, 9 Story COO and Brown Bag managing director. “Across our studios in Dublin, Toronto, New York and Bali, we went to great lengths to ensure everybody felt connected and had a common purpose.”
9 Story also upped its commitment to inclusive storytelling this year, with Brown Bag animating Chris Nee’s Ridley Jones (featuring the first-ever non-binary character in a Netflix preschool show); the debut of autistic character Max on PBS KIDS’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood; its work on Ada Twist, Scientist from Nee and the Obama’s Higher Ground; and long-running series Doc McStuffins winning a pair of NAACP Image Awards.
In other accomplishments, Brown Bag launched a 3D pipeline at its Toronto studio and implemented a return-to-work model that allows its animators to work partly from home.
This year’s Hot50 win marks a return to the top of the list for 9 Story, which last landed in the number-one spot in 2018.
“To be voted into this shortlist by our respected industry peers is an epic endorsement of all the hard work that everyone’s put in,” Gaffney says.