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!


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.

Wapos Racerz! at the Studio

When I was first exposed to Wapos Bay, I was genuinely amazed; here was a world-class stop-motion animation program that was made in Canada – in Saskatchewan, no less – and it had completely slipped under my radar. Now, I consider myself pretty ‘media savvy’ (especially when it comes to genre programming, and even more so with animation), so if I was surprised by this revelation, the odds implied that a lot of other folks were similarly in the dark. This was a situation that needed to be remedied.

Enter ‘digital media’…or ‘transmedia’, as the hip kids like to call it. When the series creators and producers had mentioned that they were working on upgrading the web presence for the show early last year, I threw my proverbial hat in the ring. Their original plan was to create a basic video hub that featured short clips from the series…and not much else. My goal was to take advantage of current web technology – specifically Flash animation – to create a slice of the Wapos Bay experience online. People from around the world could come to the site, and immediately be immersed in the sights, sounds, and hand-made CHARACTER of the show. It would be packed with custom animations, easter eggs, and access to behind-the-scenes material that showcased the incredible craft of the creative team. 9 months later, Waposbay.com was born – mission accomplished!

So now – with the award-winning series coming to a close with a feature film – we wanted reach an even larger audience to celebrate its conclusion. And with the explosion in casual gaming online, the next phase seemed obvious: give new visitors and established fans a chance to meet the characters and explore the town in a stop-motion racing game. We hope you enjoy a sneak peek at what we have in store for later this Fall – Wapos Racerz is coming to a screen near you!!!

Courtesy Brooke Burgess, Transmedia Producer

Production Team Announces Digital Media Properties

The Wapos Bay production team is delighted to announce the launch of WaposBay.com and a world-class production blog, as well as the development of a “Wapos Bay” video game.

Developed by transmedia producers Ryan Lockwood and Brooke Burgess (Broken Saints), www.WaposBay.com has over 70 viral videos and compelling stop-motion interactivity (100+ animations), and is richly infused with the Cree language and traditions. This is a secret place where adventure and knowledge are the rewards for curiosity and exploration. The website was financed with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit program, Hulo Films, and Wapos Bay Productions. At the production blog (WaposBay.com/Blog), fans of the show, industry colleagues and animators alike can step behind the scenes to experience the making of the show.

The experience extends to social media, including FacebookTwitter and Flickr. On the Wapos Bay YouTube channel, fans can watch and share clips from the series, sizzle reels and demos. 

Delivering a high-quality transmedia experience is more than having a killer concept,” said Burgess. “It relies almost entirely on the caliber of your team to execute as planned. That’s why we’re so keen to be collaborating with Tony Walsh and his partners at Phantom Compass. With their help, next fall you’ll be able to experience Wapos Bay at breakneck speed by racing through the streets as your favourite character in custom handmade vehicles!

WAPOS RACER! will harness the power and worldwide reach of casual gaming. This ‘kart-style’ racer will challenge gamers of all ages and types to race through the world of Wapos Bay, explore unseen corners of the community, challenge their Cree language skills, and unlock video teasers and behind-the-scenes secrets. The game will be cross-platform: embeddable on Facebook, major Flash hubs like Newgrounds.com and Flashkit.com and open-source mobile-enabled (Android, Windows Mobile, etc).

Day 1: Shooting begins on “Long Goodbyes” at Wapos Bay Studio

The stop motion children’s animation series that has been going for five seasons and won numerous awards and screened at festivals around the world officially begins production on its movie today. The production team is also delighted to announce the launch of WaposBay.com and their production blog, as well as the development of a “Wapos Bay” video game.

Here’s a quick peak at the studio from yesterday:

“It’s been a long journey for us,” said producer Anand Ramayya of their start in 2003 with a pilot episode, the eventual development to a series that began airing in 2005, and winning their fourth Gemini award in 2010. “In the last five years we’ve done over $11 million dollars of production in Saskatoon, and we’ve employed over 50 people every single year. We’re proud to have built up the reputation we have [as being one of the top-rated stop motion studios in the country].”

“Long Goodbyes” will be the final installment of the TV series. In addition to regulars Lorne Cardinal (Corner Gas) and Gordon Tootoosis (Legends of the Fall), expect to hear some new voices in the movie, including Canada AM’s Seamus O’ReganBeverly Thomson, Marci Ien and Jeff Hutcheson. The movie will premiere in the fall on APTN with a limited advance theatrical release.

View an animatic teaser clip from the movie at: