LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, from the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Darragh O’Connell, co-founder of Brown Bag Films, announced the launch of “DEEP,” an undersea adventure set in a post-apocalyptic Earth with Shane Acker (“9”) attached to direct. “DEEP” is an animated film unlike any other, produced by a team of industry all-stars including Acker, Ireland’s Brown Bag Films, producer Gregory R. Little and author J. Barton Mitchell, using new technologies that result in high-quality production value at a fraction of the time and cost. The project will be produced by Little and O’Connell.
With the feel of an underwater Western, “DEEP” is set in a not-too-distant future when what’s left of humanity has moved undersea to stay alive. The story revolves around the crew of the nuclear submarine Norwood as they race to uncover the secrets behind the Wayfarers, a mysterious splinter group with the potential to wipe out humanity altogether.
The DEEP team has been working in collaboration with Valve, one of the world’s most successful video game developers whose hit titles include the Half Life and Portal franchises. Valve has provided the “DEEP” team with new tools and technologies based on the developer’s Source game engine. The tools enable flexible cinematography and editing, a simplified character animation process and economical lighting, sound and visual effects. Render time is cut to nearly nil, enabling rapid revisions to animation, which brings dramatic savings in time and money over traditional production.
Originally conceived as a graphic novel by Mitchell, “DEEP” will initially be produced as feature film; however, producing in a game engine means that the characters and environments in “DEEP” can easily translate to a game format. The team has already begun work on a playable level to be distributed via Steam, Valve’s online game distribution network, and plans to create additional content for digital distribution and provide opportunities for user-created content in the “DEEP” universe.
“Since the success of ‘9,’ I’ve been approached with several science fiction-fantasy projects but so many lack substance beneath the slick special effects,” said Acker. “’DEEP’ offers real sci-fi credentials but the story is rooted in the complex motivations of the characters making tough choices between right and wrong. I’m excited to be part of a team that is redefining what storytelling in general, and animation in particular, can be.”
“The collaboration with Valve has been a wonderful experience for all of us,” said Little. “The opportunity to produce it in this groundbreaking way gives us great creative freedom and allows us to leverage new distribution channels and platforms.”
About Shane Acker: Shane Acker is an award-winning director, animator and designer. “9” was his first feature length production and was based on his student Academy Award-winning short. It was produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov and was released by Focus Features in 2009. The 11-minute short “9” premiered at Sundance in 2005 and has garnered numerous awards including the “Best in Show” at the 2005 SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006. Shane has a multidisciplinary background, studying architecture for several years before becoming a filmmaker. He is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture where he received both a master’s degree in architecture and a Master of Fine Arts degree in animation.
About Gregory R Little: Gregory R. Little is a film and television producer focused on animation. He currently runs the U.S. office of Dublin-based Brown Bag Films, overseeing the company’s feature film and prime-time television efforts. Prior to joining Brown Bag, Greg ran The Gotham Group’s first-look deal with Sony Pictures.. Prior to Gotham, Greg headed development at Rainmaker Animation where he produced the company’s “Nutty Professor” animated sequel and was responsible for bringing Rainmaker its first theatrical feature, “Escape from Planet Earth,” due for release in 2013 from The Weinstein Company. Greg started as a producer with the independent feature “The Citizen,” shot in Costa Rica and New York, and the Renee Zellweger-starrer “Deceiver,” released by MGM. He graduated from UCLA with a degree in English literature.
About J. Barton Mitchell: J. Barton Mitchell is a screenwriter, comic book writer and author of the forthcoming science fiction YA novel trilogy “Conquered Earth,” to be published by St. Martin's Press. Mitchell studied creative writing at the University of Houston before going on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in film studies from the University of Texas in 1998. After selling screenplays to Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox, he created and wrote the comic book series “Poe,” published by Boom! Studios in 2009. J. Barton Mitchell lives and writes in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles.
About Brown Bag Films: Brown Bag Films® is one of Europe’s most exciting, original and successful animation studios. The Dublin-based studio produces superb animation for the worldwide market and has bagged numerous awards along with Oscar® nominations for short films “Give Up Yer Aul Sins” (2002) and “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” (2010) and a BAFTA nomination for the worldwide hit TV series, “The Octonauts” (2011). Brown Bag’s most recent production, “Doc MacStuffins,” launched on Disney Junior in March 2012 and is currently the top-rated pre-school show in the United States. Founded by director/producers Cathal Gaffney and Darragh O’Connell in 1994, Brown Bag Films remains 100 percent artist-owned and -operated. The studio continues to grow and attract top animators and producers from the four corners of the globe to make up a staff that now numbers over 100. The studio incorporates state-of-the-art post with HD picture, 5.1 Audio and a stereoscopic pipeline.