Press quotes about the movie

We were thrilled to pack the TIFF Bell Lightbox for the world premiere of Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes! Here’s what some of the press had to say about the movie…

“Long Goodbyes was charming, funny & oozed a loving warmth. Would definitely see again!”
Emily Claire Afan, Writer / Contributor, Village Gamer and Orange Paperclip

“Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes is a family friendly film that uses a creative and enhanced form of stop motion animation to tell the story of two kids whose father has accepted a political position that will mean relocating to the big city – and their ever more complicated attempts to prolong and pospone their farewells. While it has all of the hallmarks of the kind of well meaning children’s TV programming that the characters and storyline originally come from, including a ‘good citizen’ message, the clever script also features a few jokes just for the parents. The animation is seamless and slickly produced, with elaborately constructed sets.”
Anya Wassenberg, Writer / Reviewer, Arts & Culture Blog

“Wapos Bay has enjoyed six seasons of broadcast as an animated series. It has been a very positive experience for young aboriginal people to have themselves represented in television, as one audience member stated in the Q&A following the [world premiere at imagineNATIVE]. A child being able to self-identify with characters in the media is very important in identitying development and helps reaffirm self-worth. Many parents expressed their gratitude to the creators, cast and crew of the series.”
Tyler Hagan, Arts Correspondent, CBC

Wapos Bay Q&A at ImagineNATIVE 2011

Check out the video from ImagineNATIVE 2011, including the intros & welcome and Q & A from the Closing Night Gala, and interviews with Andrea Menard, and Dennis, Melanie & Eric Jackson!

And check out the official trailer!

Long Goodbyes Premiere & Livestream

The World Premiere & Stream

Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes, based on the Gemini award-winning TV series, will have its world premiere at the prestigious imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto at its Closing Night Gala presented by Global Toronto. A co-production with the National Film Board of Canada, the movie was selected for the closing night of the Festival’s 12th edition.

If you will be in the area or are interested in attending…
Sunday, Oct. 23 at 7:00pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King St W)

Tickets for the world premiere / imagineNATIVE are available in-person at the TIFF Bell Lightbox or Phoenix Concert Theatre, by calling the TIFF Box Office at 416-599-8433, or online at www.imaginenative.org.

Fans from around the world will also have the opportunity to be part of the premiere via the Closing Night Technical Partner IsumaTV and a free live streaming at www.isuma.tv/nfb. Creator / producers Dennis & Melanie Jackson, actors Andrea Menard (The Velvet Devil, Moccasin Flats) and Eric Jackson will be available for the Q & A following the screening, moderated by imagineNATIVE executive director Jason Ryle who will be taking questions from the floor and via Skype for the online viewers.

“It is humbling to have our Wapos Bay finale movie screened at imagineNATIVE because it is one of the premiere indigenous film festivals in the world,” said Dennis Jackson. “It is always an honour to be recognized by your peers whether other indigenous people, animators, filmmakers or friends. This screening will be a unique experience because fans can log in online and they don’t necessarily have to be here in Toronto to watch the premiere.”

The night will feature a special tribute to Wapos Bay cast member, the late Gordon Tootoosis (North of 60, Legends of the Fall). Announcements of the future of Wapos Bay will also be made on the night, including the launch of several digital media properties. Led by Brooke Burgess (writer, director & producer of Broken Saints), properties include a Mario kart racer – style video game, eBooks and episode downloads.

Other Festivals

The movie has also been selected to screen at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (Oct. 29), American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco (Nov. 5) and LA Skins Festival in Los Angeles (Nov. 16-20).

Broadcast Premiere on APTN

The national broadcast premiere for Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes is Saturday, Dec. 3 on APTN (8 p.m. ET on APTN HD and APTN East, 8 p.m. MT on APTN West, 8 p.m. CT on APTN North).

Coming Soon!

Make sure to watch for the eBooks, video game and episode downloads coming this fall.. And check out waposbay.com and waposbay.com/blog for all the latest news and updates from Wapos Bay!


Literacy learning goes online

The Saskatchewan Literacy Network is celebrating Raise-a-Reader Day by embracing digital literacy. Today, the SLN is releasing the photo series Living What We Learn on its newly redesigned website. The photo series will also be shared on Facebook and Twitter to encourage the public to consider different forms of learning for families.

The Living What We Learn photo series reflects the donated time of a dozen local businesses dedicated to promoting family literacy. Three photos showcase forms of families learning together: Through an e-book and website, a graphic novel and a children’s book. The photo series will be shared online with the intention of sparking awareness of an emerging form of literacy – digital literacy.

“As our society moves toward using computers and digital technology in daily life, it is important for families to learn to use technology together. Just as books can be used for parents and children to interact and learn together, a computer game, a website, social media or an e-book can have similar applications,” Lisa Erickson of the SLN said.

Wapos Bay, the Gemini Award-winning children’s show, was the focus of one of the photos. Its website, www.waposbay.com, has interactive games and e-books that encourage families to learn together. Naidu Photography‘s photo of Bobby Henry from the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Literacy Network depicts the way we can interact with e-books – just like a regular children’s book, we can fall into the story in our imaginations. Henry is wearing clothing donated by Mint Fashion Co, another supporter of literacy.

More traditional forms of literacy are depicted in the picture of Jennilee Cardinal-Schultz of Chop Chop Hair Salon. The photographer, Vanessa Neufeld, captured an imaginary scene inspired by a children’s book: The mother and daughter are living what they are learning from the story. The beautiful image is enhanced by a puppet dragon contributed by Wide Open Theatre and dresses designed by Chelsey Gruza.

The third photo depicts a less-recognized medium for reading – the power of the graphic novel. Kevin Greggain captured local producer Katrina German reading a graphic novel within a comic book setting.

All pictures are shared on the SLN’s website (www.sk.literacy.ca) and its Facebook page. People are encouraged to share the pictures on Twitter and Facebook to show their support for literacy and Raise-a-Reader.

HOW DO YOU RAISE-A-READER?

Just as technology has changed the face of communicating, it is also changing the way people learn and practise their literacy skills.

Today volunteers, literacy organizations, local businesses and the general public are encouraged to answer the question: “How do you raise a reader?” Through Twitter, the addition of the hashtag #RAR to the end of a tweet will start a conversation about literacy that will span across Canada.

“Twitter is a new way to share ideas and we want to share the Raise-a-Reader campaign with as many people as possible,” Erickson said.

Saskatoon Twitterer @katrinavision notes that “if every person adds the hashtag #RAR to their tweet, we should be able to get a very cool list of the ways that Canadians are interacting and learning with their kids.”

Leaders in social media, such as Darren Sproat (@ DarrenSproat) of Regina, who manages 40,000-plus Twitter followers and the popular blog Then Life Happens (http: //www.then lifehappens.com/), will be tweeting and blogging along with @katrinavision and several hundreds of volunteers across Canada.

Providing newspapers for a donation has long been the pillar of the Raise-a-Reader campaign. The 2011 social media Twitter campaign for Literacy will augment this time-honoured practice by offering volunteers and those interested in supporting literacy one more way to become involved. The social media campaign will promote online donations by sending Twitter followers to the main donation site at www.canada.com.

RAISING FUNDS FOR LITERACY

This special-edition of The StarPhoenix helps raise donations to Raise-a-Reader.

Raise-a-Reader raises money for northern Saskatchewan literacy and education organizations to help children get a good start in reading

Twenty-seven newspapers across Canada participate in Raise-a-Reader, raising $17 million for literacy programs since its launch in 2002.

© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix

Read more:

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/literacy/raiseareader/Literacy+learning+goes+online/5468162/story.html#ixzz1ZM8AJroj

imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival 2011

By Pam Fossen from Toronto Film Scene · AUGUST 17, 2011

It seems strange to be making announcements for this year’s imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival which doesn’t start its run until October. However, passes go on sale today and some parts of the line up have already been confirmed, so really, it’s never too early to get excited about film programming! Running from October 19th to 23rd, this international festival celebrates the work of Indigenous peoples from around the globe.

The big name announcement for the 12th annual imagineNATIVE festival is legendary artist Buffy Sainte-Marie. She’s set to participate in a panel called “In Discussion with Buffy” at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on Friday, October 21st at 7:00 pm. Sainte-Marie will also be headlining “The Beat” music night, a program of international music videos and performance, at the Phoenix Concert Hall on Saturday, October 23rd at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $20 and will be available online starting October 3rd. For more information, check out the full details here.

The other recent announcement was on opening and closing night films. On October 19th at 7:00 pm is the Canadian premiere of On the Ice from director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (Iñupiaq). The film tells the story of two teenagers living in an isolated Alaskan community. Their cover up of a tragic accident during a seal hunt sows the seeds of suspicion and the two must figure a way out of it. This “character-driven thriller” has already received acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival.

The closing night film, on October 23rd at 7:00 pm, is the world premiere of Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes, a stop motion animated feature  which portrays life on a Saskatchewan First Nation. The film was directed, written and produced by Dennis Jackson (Cree) and produced and co-written by Melanie Jackson (Métis/Saulteaux), and is based on the couple’s award-winning TV series.

Opening and closing night films all take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King St W). Early bird festival passes go on sale today at the imagineNATIVE website or in person at TIFF box office. For all the details and upcoming festival programming announcements, keep watch right here at Toronto Film Scene, or go directly to imagineNATIVE.

Read the original article here!

On The Ice, Wapos Bay bookend ImagineNative fest

August 12th, 2011 by Emily Claire Afan at Playback Magazine

Writer/director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (Iñupiaq) will open the ImagineNative Film & Media Arts Festival this fall with the Canadian premiere of dramatic feature On The Ice, while the world premiere of stop-motion feature Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes from Saskatchewan’s Dennis and Melanie Jackson will cap it off.

MacLean’s feature, starring Josiah Patkotak and Frank Qutuq Irelan, is based on his short film Sukimi, which revolves around two best friends who become involved in a tragic accident.

Long Goodbyes, meanwhile, is based on the stop-motion APTN series Wapos Bay (pictured) featuring voice work by Gordon Tootoosis (North of 60, Legends of the Fall), Andrea Menard (The Velvet Devil) and Lorne Cardinal (Corner Gas). The closing night screening for this film will be presented in memory of Tootoosis, who passed away this July at age 69.

The ImagineNative fest will take place in Toronto from Oct. 19 to 23.

Read the article here!

Spotlight on NSI Alumni Dennis & Melanie Jackson

By Liz Hover, NSI

2011 marks the National Screen Institute’s 25th birthday. We’ve been training writers, directors and producers how to be storytellers since 1986.

In our latest alumni spotlight we’re proud to feature husband and wife team Dennis and Melanie Jackson.

Between them they’ve been students in four of our training programs. Not only are they the clever folks behind the award-winning TV series Wapos Bay (developed through NSI Totally Television) but they also find time to give back as associate faculty members of NSI’s New Voices program. Together they run Dark Thunder Productions Inc.

Spotlight on Dennis and Melanie Jackson

Dennis says: “NSI training gave me a confidence in the pitching process by teaching me the dos and don’ts when approaching a potential broadcaster. They’ve structured this by streamlining your project to its essence so that you know exactly what the broadcaster needs to know about you and your show.

Dennis is a graduate of NSI Totally Television (2002-03), the Aboriginal Cultural Trade Initiative (2004) and Featuring Aboriginal Stories Program (2009).

He began his career in elementary school watching 16mm prints of animation on aboriginal creation tales. Dennis remembers sitting at the back of the class as the teacher explained animation with the individual frames. Dennis has since received Gemini nominations for both his writing and directing of Wapos Bay. This animated series has received four Gemini awards of excellence.

Melanie Jackson says: “NSI training gave me confidence in the co-production process by teaching me the dos and don’ts when approaching a potential partner.  [The program] allowed me to participate in learning the process and what’s available in the international industry.”

Melanie is a graduate of NSI Storytellers (2005) and Featuring Aboriginal Stories Program (2009).

Melanie is a producer with over 14 years proven experience in development and programming of many hours of original drama and documentaries across several channels.

She has led creative professionals and built effective teams responsible for the delivery of quality programs. She brings a fresh perspective to the type of film, TV and digital media productions that can be successful in the marketplace and what skills are needed to create them.

Her ability to work with the leaders in our industry will help develop the most innovative, relevant and uniquely positioned in providing quality indigenous storytelling, high production values with excellence in stop-motion animation personnel and facilities.

Their successful TV series Wapos Bay is wrapping up with a movie called Long Goodbyes which will premiere in the fall on APTN with a limited advance theatrical release.

Read the official article here!

Wapos Bay Creators Share their Story

Courtesy Yorkton This Week

Wapos Bay is a popular animated show for children and students at Dr. Brass School had an up close and personal opportunity to learn more about the series they watch on television thanks to the Yorkton Film Festival.

Dennis and Melanie Jackson visited the school Friday to talk to students about the series which has just recently stopped production in Saskatoon.

“We finished 34 episodes,” explained Dennis Jackson co-creator of the series with wife Melanie, adding they have also just completed a 70-minute APTN Movie of the Week based on Wapos Bay and its characters.

Melanie said the longer movie was an ideal way to wrap up the series and bring some closure to the characters of Wapos Bay.

“It gave us a chance to wrap up some lose ends, and go down some different paths for some of the characters,” said Melanie.

The series actually came about based on the success of a pilot Christmas at Wapos Bay, which won the Best of Saskatchewan Award at the YFF back in 2002.

The special episode aired on APTN and opened doors to the series, said Dennis. “We already had a relationship with APTN,” he said.

While they had a foot in the door with the national aboriginal broadcaster, the longevity of Wapos Bay was never exactly clear.

“Every year we didn’t know if it was going to end,” said Dennis.

While no immediate plans are in place for Wapos Bay, Dennis noted “we have ideas and still have all the puppets and all the sets.”

The series may have wrapped up production wise, but Dr. Brass students were still eager to ask many questions of the Jacksons, who were equally eager to field them.

“It’s really fun doing these,” Dennis told Yorkton This Week, adding he particularly likes watching children watch the show, or when they bring out some of the puppets used in the show. “It’s lot of fun seeing the excitement in their eyes.”

“Their eyes get big as plates and they’re saying “I know those characters,” added Melanie. Dennis said they don’t necessarily get story ideas or feedback from younger children, “but they laugh in the right places so that’s good to know.”

Talking to students is also a way to continue in essence what it was that drove the Jacksons to do Wapos Bay.

Melanie told the assembled students they wanted “to provide role models for Aboriginal people on television.”

Wapos Bay was the vehicle to create positive role models, with the first story coming from something Dennis had written in school, a short story on his grandfather.

While school visits are good for the Jacksons they are also good for the students said teacher Julie Parisloff.

“In general media literacy is huge now,” she said. “It’s a huge part of learning.” So to have someone visit such as the Jacksons is a rare opportunity to broaden that learning, said Parisloff. “We’re very lucky to have them come to the school,” she said.

Parisloff added what the students learned from their visitors can be built on by teachers in class later, through concepts such as creative writing, and Aboriginal history.

As for the Jacksons, they are not walking away from animation, as they start production of six episodes of a new series; The Guardians this fall, with an expected air date of fall 2012.

“It’s also stop motion,” said Dennis, referring to the familiar puppet style of Wapos Bay. “It’s set 41 million years in the future,” he added with a grin.

The series, geared toward teenage boys is purely science fiction.

“In the distant future, the Earth is reborn and nature has been replenished after a global catastrophe triggers a twenty six thousand year long ice age, the result of which has destroyed modern civilization and has brought about the extinction of ninety five percent of planetary species as we know it. Massive bunkers built deep beneath the Earth, are home to the Guardians, advanced machine-like androids were pre-programmed to initiate human births. The Guardians raised the children specifically to re-populate the New Earth. The oldest humans are fifteen years old and must lead the human race. They soon learn that they are not alone on the planet. They discover that an intelligent species, the Dumathar, has staked out a home world beneath the Earth’s oceans.”

Wapos Bay Lives on in Digital World

By Emily Claire Afan, Playback Daily

Wapos Bay the series may be coming to an end on the small screen this fall, but the Saskatchewan team behind the children’s stop-motion animated series has plans for the franchise to live on in the digital media world.

Producers Dennis and Melanie Jackson, and Anand Ramayya recently wrapped production on the final episode, which will air as a feature-length MOW on APTN called Long Goodbyes.

Marrying the traditional art of stop-motion animation with the new interactive side was no easy task, but the team was intent on keeping the same look of the series across the board.

According to Hulomedia transmedia producer Ryan Lockwood, WaposBay.com is a “very close translation” of the series that plays on the exploration and adventure themes that have drawn kids to the series for the last five seasons on APTN. (The site received CMF funding.)

WaposBay.com launched last fall, and this coming fall, the interactive offering is Wapos Racerz! (pictured), a Mario Kart-esque style casual racing game from Toronto independent game company Phantom Compass.

“It was a challenge to do the game in stop-motion,” show creator Dennis Jackson tells Playback Daily, echoing Lockwood’s thoughts on keeping the stop-motion look consistent across Wapos products. “It would probably be easier to do it in Flash, but we were adamant to have it look like the show.”

Lockwood worked with fellow Hulo producer Brooke Burgess on the game as well, noting that animators on the MOW also contributed to the creation of Racerz!

Digital extensions of the brand slated for this fall include an interactive storybook series for mobile and tablet platforms that allows readers to flip between Cree, French and Inuktitut languages, as well as linking to videos on its YouTubechannel. On top of that, Wapos Bay episodes will soon be available for downloading on iTunes, streaming rentals and for sale on DVD on Amazon.com, IndieFlix and Netflix.

On tap next for Hulo and WBP is another stop-motion sci-fi project called Guardians, a project which Melanie Jackson says is already locked into coproduction deals with Australia and New Zealand.

Discover The Wonder of Wapos Bay

“I love it when I accidentally stumble upon really cool Canadian stuff. This is, hands down, the coolest kid’s show I have seen in a very long time. Wapos Bay is a super creative stop motion animation television series that is produced in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It is purely Canadian and super aboriginal. The animation is fantastic and the scripts are funny and engaging. Plenty of Star Wars references and guest appearances by real Canadian celebrities like David Suzuki, Adam Beech, and Jordin Tootoo. It’s so awesome to see puppet versions of these Canadian icons.

Did I mention the website? It’s super interactive with plenty of hidden gems to keep both kids, parents, and animation enthusiasts entertained for more than just a few minutes.

Now if I could just convince them to do a Gogo Bonkers stop motion animation video. Hmmmm. Perhaps a phone call to Anand Ramayya & Dennis Jackson is in order? Sounds like a plan to me. In the meantime, check out Wapos Bay and enjoy!”

- GoGo Bonkers

Read more at  the GoGo Bonkers blog!

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