Wapos Bay has always been a filmmaker driven project that came from true inspiration and in turn has inspired so many of the people who came on board to make the project be and become as good as it is today. In the beginning there was Dennis and Melanie Jackson, Dennis labouring in solitude over miniatures in his home in La Ronge. That work would eventually produce “Journey Through Fear” a short film that paved the way for the series and step by step we grew from a small studio filled with twelve animators and various crew of all of whom worked numerous jobs to the current crew of 50+ skilled professionals employed on the series.
Each step of the way new creatives would join, be inspired and create something special that shaped the look, feel and finish of the series that has improved every year through the efforts of our amazing crew.
WATCH this clip and meet the amazingly talented crew from Season 5 of Wapos Bay!
While Wapos Bay is a fictional town, the characters, community and stories are based on my own life experiences in Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan. My interest in animation began at the early age of 8 when I made my own films using a Super 8 mm camera. As an adult, I felt compelled to share the vivid childhood memories I had of my rich and unique Cree culture.
The world of Wapos Bayoriginated in a short story I wrote in high school for a creative writing assignment. The story was about a trapper in the North who realizes how much his environment has changed in such a short time. I took this same story and made a 6-minute, 16 mm stop-motion film in my final year of film studies at the University of Regina. Entitled Journey Through Fear, the filmwent on to win the Telefilm Canada/Television Northern Canada Award for Best Aboriginal Production at the 1998 Banff Television Festival.
A clip from “Journey Through Fear”
Journey Through Fear is about a mushom (grandfather) who utilizes the trapline to feed his family by selling furs. Because we did not see his family in the short film, I wrote, directed and produced the one-hour animated special Christmas at Wapos Bay, in which the mushom’s family visits him on Christmas day. This story introduces his grandchildren, Talon, Raven and T-Bear, and tells of their adventure on the trapline. Christmas at Wapos Bay premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
The setting of Christmas at Wapos Bay is the trapline cabin. The community where the characters come from is not pictured. Wanting to flesh out the characters even further, we were inspired to create, write and produce the Wapos Bay series in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada. This gave the creative team on Wapos Baythe opportunity to create an even more vivid animated world by developing more characters and stories.