Raise-a-Reader Day 2011

We’re very happy to have been a part of this year’s Raise-a-Reader Day! The wonderful photos below were shot at our animation studio here in Saskatoon. Thank you to everyone for your support of literacy within Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Canada. Make sure to visit the Postmedia website for helpful tips to encourage literacy! (And for those of you living in Saskatchewan please visit the Saskatchewan Literacy Network website.)

How are you raising a reader?

Photographer: Vanessa Neufeld @Vanessa Neufeld
Fashion Stylist and Dress Designer: Chelsey Gruza @chelseygruza
Accesories: Tonic- A Shop for Women @tonicsaskatoon
Hair: Amanda Dreis @chopchopsalonsk
Make-up: Jennilee Cardinal-Schultz @chopchopsalonsk
Models: Jennilee @jennileecs
Dragon: Wide Open Theatre
Special Thanks to Daniel Cote at Bricker’s Shoes who donated the paper for our paper bag dresses.

The power of the graphic novel can bring turn us all into comic book heroes.

Photographer: Kevin Greggain
Asst to Photographer: Dylan Greggain
Models: Katrina and sons
Katrina’s Hair: Keith Bastian @chopchopsalonsk
Sons’ hair: Sheila Morris @chopchopsalonsk
Make-up: Jennilee Cardinal-Schultz @chopchopsalonsk

Interact with e-books; just like a traditional children’s book, we can fall into the story in our imaginations.

Photographer: Naidu Photography
Adult Model: Bobby Henry from the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Literacy Network
Models’ Hair: Sheila Morris @chopchopsalonsk
Models Make-up: Jennilee Cardinal-Schultz @chopchopsalonsk
Bobby’s outfit: @MintFashionCo

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!

Wapos Bay Feature on MBC Radio

Check out this great piece from April’s studio open house courtesy of MBC Radio. It includes an exclusive interview with Dennis Jackson (creator/writer/director/producer), as well as, Melanie Jackson (producer), Ryan Lockwood (transmedia producer) and actress Andrea Menard!

Listen here! Wapos Bay – MBC Radio

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

New inspiration for Wapos creators

Wapos Bay’s Trevor Cameron, who is the voice of the character Kohkom, and the character Jacob talk over the script in a set up shot.
Photograph by: Sp Gord Waldner, The StarPhoenix

By Sean Trembath, The StarPhoenix April 19, 2011

After a decade, 34 episodes and one feature-length movie, the team behind beloved Saskatchewan stop-motion children’s show Wapos Bay is moving on.

“It’s quite bittersweet. You develop a project for so long. It’s 10 years we’ve been doing Wapos Bay here in Saskatchewan,” said Melanie Jackson, who wrote, produced and directed the show with her husband Dennis.

Monday was the last day of shooting on Long Goodbyes, a movie of the week for APTN, the final chapter of the show. The movie will air this fall, date to be announced.

The Saskatoon studio is still full of characters and sets familiar to all who have seen the show. While some models will be re-purposed, fans could get a chance to own a piece of the show’s history.

“We might have some draws or a contest to be able to take part of Wapos Bay home,” said Melanie.

Promoting the movie has given the studio a chance to try out a new medium, its first video game, in co-operation with Toronto game development studio in Phantom Compass.

“All the visual assets for the video game were produced here in the studio,” said TransMedia producer Ryan Lockwood.

Wapos Racerz is a Mario Kart-style racing game featuring characters and locations from Wapos Bay. The Canadian Media Fund, a federal program designed to encourage development across all forms of digital media, helped with financing.

“We just wanted to extend the whole Wapos Bay experience into other spaces that kids and fans of the series could play, share and interact with,” said Lockwood.

The game, still in development, will be released on several Internet game sites a few weeks before the movie airs.

While sad to see Wapos Bay end, both Dennis and Melanie are ready to move on to Guardians, their next stop-motion project. Guardians is a science fiction series for teenagers set 41 million years in the future after an ice age. The story follows teenagers of various indigenous descents who have been raised from embryos by robots in an underground bunker as they venture out into a world vastly different from what we know today.

The Jacksons have been developing the show for seven years, but the idea goes even farther back.

“It’s a series I’ve always had, since I was 14. It became more affordable to do something sci-fi, with computer software getting better and a lot of animators coming out, especially here in Saskatoon,” said Dennis. His excitement was palpable as he talked about getting the project underway and designing the fantastic settings and creatures his characters will encounter.

“In pre-production, we’re going to be exploring these worlds – what we can build, what has to be computer graphics. It’s just going to be a huge development process,” he said.

Guardians will begin shooting next winter. The first six episodes will air in the fall of 2012 on APTN.

© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix

Read more: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/entertainment/inspiration+Wapos+creators/4638644/story.html#ixzz1K4vHCg00

Wapos Bay Studio Open House

We’re having another Open House so you can come check out behind-the-scenes of the four-time Gemini award-winning animation studio in Saskatoon!

What: Wapos Bay Studios – Open House
When: Friday, April 15th from 1pm to 6pm
Where: Wapos Bay Studios
Why: So you can get a tour of the studio and meet all different types of crew members, from animators to the creator!

School groups and individuals welcome!

The creators of Wapos Bay will officially announce their new TV series Guardians which will be produced in Saskatchewan. Come get the inside scoop on Wapos Bay The Movie that will premiere this coming fall, and the video game in development with Toronto-based Phantom Compass who has been involved with game projects for CBC, YTV and Teletoon.

Please RSVP to Shelly Bowes at 306-955-0036 or email shebow2000@hotmail.com to save your spot and get more information.

Find the studio via the map below!

About Wapos Bay

The kids of Wapos Bay love adventure. And their playground is a vast area that’s been home to their Cree ancestors for millennia: northern Saskatchewan.

Ten-year-old T-Bear, 9-year-old Talon and 6-year-old Raven star in Wapos Bay, a light-hearted stop-motion animation series about growing up in a remote Cree community. In Wapos Bay, modern life and ancient traditions meet. Hunting and gathering, dog sledding and shimmering northern lights are part of every day but so are video games, TV and cell phones. Guided by elders, extended family and their own insatiable curiosity, the three children learn how to balance traditional ways with newer ones. Their discoveries unfold against the backdrop of northern Saskatchewan’s varied seasons—winter, spring thaw, spring, summer, fall and freeze-up.  As they explore the world around them, the three children acquire some valuable lessons about respect, cooperation, honesty and tolerance. And of course, they also teach the adults a few things.

Aboriginal filmmakers Dennis and Melanie Jackson’s exquisite characters come alive with the voices of well known Aboriginal performers such as Gordon Tootoosis (North of 60, Legends of the Fall), Andrea Menard (The Velvet Devil) and Lorne Cardinal (Corner Gas). Wapos Bay is a fascinating, and often humorous portrait of a northern Aboriginal community from the perspective of its children.

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.

Watch Wapos Bay Season 5 on APTN

The Season 5 Finale “Treasure of the Sierra Metis” is on APTN this week.  In case you missed the other episodes, dont worry!  APTN will be airing them all over again starting next week with “Time Management” featuring David Suzuki.

Talon, T-Bear, and Devon follow a treasure map belonging to Sierra, the last Metis gold miner and realize finding treasure is only half the battle.

WATCH “Treasure of the Sierra Metis” (and the Wapos Bay Series each week) on:

APTN HD

Wednesdays at 4:00 pm (ET)

Thursdays at 8:30 pm (ET)

Saturdays at 9:00 am (ET)


APTN EAST FEED

Wednesdays at 4:00 pm (ET)

Saturdays at 10:00 am (ET)


APTN WEST FEED

Saturdays at 10:00 am (MT)

Sundays at 10:30 am (MT)


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