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!

Bamoseda Interview with Ryan Lockwood about Wapos Wheelz! Video Game

Bamoseda: (pronounced like this: BOMB-say-dah)

Bamoseda is an Aboriginal news magazine radio program which features national Aboriginal news, current affairs, features on community and culture, spotlights on entertainment and a cross section of musical genres from very talented artists in the Aboriginal community.

Missed it? Check out transmedia producer Ryan Lockwood’s interview with Bamoseda regarding the up coming Wapos Bay ‘kart-racer’ video game!

Listen here!

Wapos Wheelz!

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 and, and open-source mobile-enabled (Android, Windows Mobile, etc).

Production Team Announces Digital Media Properties

The Wapos Bay production team is delighted to announce the launch of 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), 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 (, 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 and 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 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:

Director’s Statement—Dennis Jackson on Creating 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 Bay originated 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 film went 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 Bay the opportunity to create an even more vivid animated world by developing more characters and stories.