BROWN BAG FILMS® launch unique online initiative to raise funds for Irish charity ‘To Russia With Love’

ANYA, a four minute animated short film charting twenty years in the life of a Russian orphan, is the end result of 14 months’ work at Brown Bag Films. The twice Oscar nominated studio were originally approached to produce a short advert to highlight the work that ‘To Russia With Love’ do with abandoned and orphaned children in Russia, but decided that a short film would be a more effective approach.

“The idea was simple; we make an engaging piece of animation, one that ideally packs an emotional punch. If people are charmed or moved by it, they show their appreciation by sending a donation directly to To Russia With Love,” explained Writer/Director Damien O’Connor.

“Unlike an advert, people are more likely to share a film online with friends or family, which of course helps spread the word about the charity. It’s ‘visual busking’ in a way. We’re all used to charity singles and calendars, so we applied the same approach to a full four minute computer animated film instead”.

The production of ANYA began in February 2013 when O’Connor travelled to the Hortolova Orphanage in Russia where To Russia With Love operate to meet the children.

“It was important that this would be the children’s story; a film for them, by them.  What started out as a small idea expanded as we heard the children’s own stories.  Everyone involved has been great. Moved by the children’s plight, Infinite Studios in Singapore offered their services for free and the team in Brown Bag got behind the film 100%. By the end over eighty people spread across five countries have been involved in the production of ANYA,” said O’Connor.

“The first preview screening of ANYA took place in one of our orphanages in Russia and the children of ‘To Russia With Love’ all loved it. That was always a huge part of the goal as this film was created for them and the storyline is based on what we give each child under our wings of care, love and protection.  We hope that those who view, share and fall in love with Anya will help us transform clicks into donations from which all proceeds go directly to our orphanages in Russia with our love,” stated Debbie Deegan, Founder of ‘To Russia With Love’.

ANYA is produced by Edel Byrne and the original music for the film is composed by Darren Hendley (Octonauts, Olivia). The film has been publicly endorsed by top stars in Russia and is narrated by Russian actress Chulpan Khamatova and Irish singing star Lisa Hannigan features on vocals.

ANYA is available online from Monday 28th April and can be viewed on Brown Bag Labs , from the Brown Bag films YouTube channel, or through Brown Bag films Vimeo  To support the work of ‘To Russia With Love’ text HUG to 50300 or donate online to