13 Sep DEADLINE: Build-A-Bear Documentary ‘Unstuffed’ From ‘The Last Blockbuster’s Taylor Morden Acquired By Freestyle Digital Media
EXCLUSIVE: Freestyle Digital Media has cuddled up to Unstuffed: A Build-A-Bear Story, taking North American rights to the doc from The Last Blockbuster‘s Taylor Morden, which features the voices of talent including Jon Lovitz, Pete Holmes, Jerry Mathers, Larry Hankin and Mike Tyson.
The film, produced in a mixed-media format including animation and storyboarded sequences, will become available on digital platforms and on DVD beginning October 3. View the trailer above.
Directed by Morden from his script, Unstuffed explores the origins of the “teddy bear” as well as the psychological importance of stuffed animals in childhood development. Sprinkled with stories of Build-A-Bear’s lasting and emotional impact on the lives of everyday people and celebrities alike, the doc is told through the eyes of a teddy bear narrator (voiced by Lovitz) as it follows the furry footsteps of a single idea that reimagined not one, but two industries. The documentary is kicked into motion by founder Maxine Clark’s 1997 entrepreneurial inspiration to launch an experiential mall-based retailer, where kids could make their own stuffed animals, and goes on to examine Build-A-Bear’s growth into an iconic brand with a global footprint, resonant across generations. Made with the company’s cooperation, the film coincides with Build-A-Bear’s 25th anniversary and watches as it grapples with tectonic shifts in the retail space.
Unstuffed was produced by Patrick Hughes via Foundation Media Partners. Build-A-Bear’s President and CEO, Sharon Price John, exec produced alongside Harvey Russell.
Said Build-A-Bear Workshop Founder Clark, “The 25 years of Build-A-Bear is really a story of heart, and filmmaker Taylor Morden wanted to capture both the ups and downs of our journey from a single mall retailer to a global iconic brand. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I’m so proud of how UNSTUFFED came together.”
“Unstuffed: A Build-A-Bear Story is so much more than just the story of Build-A-Bear Workshop, although it is definitely that. It’s for anyone who has ever loved a stuffed animal or held onto something sentimental from their childhood,” Morden told Deadline. “The story of Build-A-Bear is really the story of the amazing people that brought the company to life and have kept it relevant for over 25 years. Getting to spend time in the world of Build-A-Bear is an experience I’ll never forget! And I have the teddy bears to prove it.”
The digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group, Freestyle negotiated the deal to acquire Unstuffed directly with Foundation Media Partners. News of this deal follows the revelation this morning that it will take the Mongolian horror pic Aberrance to U.S. theaters.