Build-A-Bear Entertainment Debuts Documentary Film 'Unstuffed: A Build-A-Bear Story'
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Build-A-Bear Entertainment recently released their new feature film, Unstuffed: A Build-A-Bear Story, directed by documentarian, Taylor Morden (The Last Blockbuster). This mixed-media documentary examines the "why" behind Build-A-Bear Workshop's ability to remain relevant through the decades by focusing on its mission of 'adding a little more heart to life' -- one teddy bear at a time. The movie explores the "inside stuff" through celebrity and corporate interviews, as Build-A-Bear's tale is revealed. It starts with the entrepreneurial inspiration and fad-like success in the late 1990's, to the tumultuous repercussions of the economic downturns and the global pandemic that ultimately required the company, founded as a mall-based retailer, to evolve while never losing its "heart" to survive.
Morden weaves the story into a broader context by reflecting on the origins of the "teddy bear" and psychological importance of stuffed animals in childhood development as Unstuffed candidly exposes the backstories, events and decisions that eventually repositioned the brand to be the successful, diversified, multi-generational, pop culture fixture it is today. The release of the film coincides with Build-A-Bear's celebration of over 225 million furry friends having been made around the world during its last quarter century, as it also anticipates the delivery of its third financially record-breaking year in a row. Unstuffed was created in cooperation with the company and produced by Patrick Hughes with Harvey Russell serving as Executive Producer, both in conjunction with Foundation Media Partners.
Narrated by Jon Lovitz as a classic talking teddy bear, Unstuffed follows the furry footsteps of the single idea that reimagined not one, but two industries -- retail and toys -- when "Chief Executive Bear" Maxine Clark was inspired to launch an experiential mall-based store where kids could make their own stuffed animals. The story continues sharing how Build-A-Bear grew from a "lightbulb moment" into a beloved global brand largely due to the tenacity and spirit of the people who drove it.
"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," said Ms. Clark, Founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop. "I really didn't know what to expect, but I'm so proud of how Unstuffed came together."
The film shifts gears with the transition of the leadership helm from Ms. Clark to new CEO Sharon Price John in 2013, and explores how she has led the organization through a turnaround and brand refresh during a critical juncture in the corporation's history. "Unstuffed is a testament to the resilience that an organization can demonstrate when they truly believe in the value that the company brings to its guests through the creation of precious family moments, emotional memories and furry friends that last a lifetime," noted Ms. John who also served as the Executive Producer on the film. "This is a front row seat to learn about Build-A-Bear's remarkable story that all started with the humble belief in the importance of a teddy bear hug."
Unstuffed gets to the "heart" of the brand's lasting appeal recounting numerous personal tales of how Build-A-Bear has impacted many lives. From reality stars to superfans, the love for the iconic brand is infectious and can be felt through emotional memories and anecdotes with well-known celebrities and industry figures including Mario Lopez, Mike Tyson, Pete Holmes, Heather Dubrow, and Oprah Winfrey playing a role in the brand's narrative.
The director also showcases the subsequent extended influence and impact Build-A-Bear has had on the culture at large. "Unstuffed: A Build-A-Bear Story is so much more than just the story of Build-A-Bear Workshop, although it is definitely that," said Morden. "It's for anyone who has ever loved a stuffed animal or held onto something sentimental from their childhood. 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."
Unstuffed: A Build-A-Bear Story is currently available to rent or own on all digital HD internet, cable, and satellite platforms in North America, as well as on DVD through Freestyle Digital Media.
For more information, please visit www.buildabear.com/unstuffed-movie.
About Build-A-Bear Entertainment
Build-A-Bear Entertainment, a division of Build-A-Bear Workshop, the IP-based company best known for its memorable and unique 'build-your-own' retail concept, has been actively creating a variety of content while cultivating the right relationships to bring this content to guests. The company has produced several feature-length films in conjunction with Foundation Media Partners, including Honey Girls, Deliver By Christmas and Christmas CEO. Both companies are working together on a number of projects, including the reimagination of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with Hello Sunshine. In addition, the highly anticipated documentary, Unstuffed: A Build-A-Bear Story, from award-winning director Taylor Morden, which chronicles the compelling journey of Build-A-Bear's rise from a 1997 retail-tainment start-up, to a successful multi-million-dollar public company, will debut this fall.