Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group, has acquired North American VOD rights to the documentary feature film Unstuffed : A Build-A-Bear Story which will be available to rent/own on all digital HD internet, cable, and satellite platforms in North America, as well as on DVD, starting on October 3, 2023, through Freestyle Digital Media.
Produced in a mixed-media format including animation and storyboarded sequences, UNSTUFFED: A BUILD-A-BEAR STORY explores the origins of the “teddy bear” as well as the psychological importance of stuffed animals in childhood development. Sprinkled with heartwarming stories of Build-A-Bear’s lasting and emotional impact on the lives of everyday people to celebrities, the documentary is told through the eyes of a teddy bear narrator (voiced by Jon Lovitz) as it follows the furry footsteps of a single idea that reimagined not one, but two industries. The documentary starts with founder Maxine Clark’s 1997 entrepreneurial inspiration to launch an experiential mall-based retailer where kids could make their own stuffed animals, to one that has grown into a multi-generational pop culture iconic brand with a global footprint. UNSTUFFED: A BUILD-A-BEAR STORY captures the real reason behind the success of the brand, while recognizing the tenacity and spirit of the people who drove it. UNSTUFFED: A BUILD-A-BEAR STORY was made with the company’s cooperation and coincides with Build-A-Bear’s 25th anniversary and follows the company as it grapples with tectonic shifts in the retail space. The documentary explores the dynamics of how Build-A-Bear’s offerings have continued to resonate with customers.
UNSTUFFED: A BUILD-A-BEAR STORY was written and directed by Taylor Morden–who also directed the popular documentary about the demise of Blockbuster Video (THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER). UNSTUFFED: A BUILD-A-BEAR STORY was produced by Patrick Hughes via Foundation Media Partners. The President and CEO of Build-A-Bear, Sharon Price John, served as Executive Producer with Harvey Russell. Talent voices include Jon Lovitz (‘Talking Bear’), Pete Holmes (as himself), Jerry Mathers (‘The Usher’), Larry Hankin (‘Concession Worker’), and Mike Tyson (as himself.)
“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 filmmaker Taylor 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.”
“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 Maxine 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.”