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“Octonauts” Studio Making Animated Adaptation of Frank McCourt Kids Story (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 6/13/2017 Stewart Clarke

Irish studio Brown Bag Films is making an animated special based on a story from “Angela’s Ashes” author Frank McCourt. “Angela’s Christmas” is an adaptation of McCourt’s only children’s book and Oscar nominated Ruth Negga (“Loving”) will voice the character of Angela’s mother. Lucy O’Connell , who voiced Tomm Moore’s Oscar-nominated “Song of the Sea,” will voice Angela.

“Octonauts” studio Brown Bag was acquired by Canada-based 9 Story Media Group in 2015, and 9 Story Distribution Intl. will sell “Angela’s Christmas” internationally.

The half-hour film was written by Will Collins (“Song of the Sea”) and Damien O’Connor (“Doc McStuffins”). Ellen McCourt, Frank’s widow, is an executive producer on the project and Irish-American actor, writer and politician, Malachy McCourt, Frank McCourt’s brother, narrates.

McCourt’s 1996 novel “Angela’s Ashes,” based on his early life in Brooklyn and Limerick, was adapted for the big screen in Alan Parker’s 1990 feature of the same name. “Angela’s Christmas” is set in early 1900s Ireland and follows Angela’s attempt to ensure her family have a safe and enjoyable Christmas. It is based on a story that McCourt’s mother told him.

CG animation is underway at Brown Bag Films’ Dublin studio and the special will deliver in November. The project was developed with the support of the Irish Film Board and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Irish public broadcaster RTE.

“I am so thrilled to see this beloved story come to life as an animated film,” said Ellen McCourt. “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.”

Darragh O’Connell, creative director, Brown Bag Films, added: “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.”

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