Ariadne’s Notes! On the World Poetry Café Radio Show, CFRO 100.5 FM March 21 was so honoured to have the acclaimed and talented author Joy Kogawa calling in from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to promote her latest adventure, East of the Rockies and offer words of wisdom for the people of the world. Her new AR apt sounds wonderful , giving reality to the lost or hidden stories of the families of those in Japanese internment in WWII.
East of the Rockies, an augmented reality (AR) story by Vancouver-born, acclaimed author Joy Kogawa, produced by Jam3 and the National Film Board of Canada, launches in the App Store today.
Joy Kogawa, Jam3 and the NFB bring Canadian history to life through immersive AR experience East of the Rockies: An interactive app retelling of acclaimed author Joy Kogawa’s story about Japanese internment in WWII
(On the left: banner of East of the Rockies. Image provided by the NFB/ Top image: Joy Kogawa. Photo: Yukiko Onley/ Bottom image: Anne Canute. Photo: Katja De Bock)
March 1, 2019 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada
Acclaimed Canadian author Joy Kogawa, Toronto-based design and experience agency Jam3 and the National Film Board of Canada have unveiled East of the Rockies, an interactive augmented reality (AR) app based on true events about life in one of Canada’s Japanese internment camps.
East of the Rockies’ AR narrative follows 17-year-old Yuki as her family adjusts to life in a Japanese internment camp during WWII. The story takes inspiration from Kogawa’s novels Obasan and Itsuka, which chronicle the persecution of Japanese citizens in Canada during the war.
After activating the AR mode, app users can interact with Yuki’s story by tapping, inspecting and zooming in on key elements inside the Slocan Internment Camp. Each of these elements activates a scripted narrative spoken by Yuki, illuminating different aspects of the camp. East of the Rockies is a fully animated and voiced narrative, with Kogawa’s granddaughter Anne Canute providing the voice of Yuki.
“I’m grateful that this little story in Canada is not going to be lost,” says Joy Kogawa. “There are so many stories that are lost, that ought not to be, so it’s a wonderful thing to see it happening here in this way. I think it’s very exciting to be at the beginning of this kind of thing, how lucky is that?”
“By using immersive storytelling in East of the Rockies, we can educate a brand-new audience with a learn-through-gameplay experience leveraging the power of AR on iPhone and iPad,” adds Dirk van Ginkel, Creative Director at Jam3. “In working with Joy, we’ve been able to show what life was like when the Canadian government exiled the Japanese community. Sometimes to move forward as a society, we must look back and acknowledge past injustices – we hope that this is a platform for reflection.”
“At 83 years old, Joy has teamed up with artists and producers to leverage an exciting new technology and craft an important historical story for a new generation of Canadians,” says NFB Executive Producer Rob McLaughlin. “It’s an intergenerational story of love, loss, injustice and healing, and we hope it will lead to a greater understanding of Canada’s past at a time when issues of identity and race remain at the heart of so many contemporary debates.”
Students will also have the opportunity to take a more in-depth look at East of the Rockies with a high-school learning kit. The NFB Education kit poses questions and scenarios to help students understand and go deeper into the experience of life in the Slocan Internment Camp. The learning kit is available at eastoftherockies.com.
The AR features in East of the Rockies leverage Apple’s ARKit framework, bringing immersive visuals and a dynamic way to learn about an important moment in history. The experience is exclusive to iPhone and iPad running iOS 12, including iPhone 6s and newer, iPad (5th generation) and all iPad Pro models.
East of the Rockies is available on the App Store beginning March 1, 2019. The app will be free to download in the first week, from March 1-8.
Jam3 is a design and experience agency known for smart, innovative and inspired work. We work closely with our clients to understand their problems and solve them in creative ways. From our offices in Toronto, Los Angeles and Montevideo, we team up with forward-thinking brands from around the world. Our partners include Google, Spotify, Microsoft, Adidas, Facebook, Ford, Sephora, MTV and Disney Pixar. Modesty aside, our diverse work has received global recognition from Cannes to The One Show, and even the Pulitzer Prize. To learn more, visit us at Jam3.com.
About the NFB
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is one of the world’s leading digital content hubs, creating groundbreaking interactive documentaries and animation, mobile content, installations and participatory experiences. NFB interactive productions and digital platforms have won 100 awards, including 18 Webbys. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for mobile devices.Related Products
Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopsis: East of the Rockies
Source and with thanks to Katja De Bock. Publicist National Film Board of Canada BC and Yukon Studio / North West Studio
Ariadne’s Notes: The World Poetry Cafe Radio Show, on CFRO, 100.5 FM 1-2 pm. was honored to feature Selwyn Jacob from the National Film Board speaking about his retrospective film The Road Taken and publicist Katja De Bock who brought some tips for upcoming actors. Also calling in was the wonderful jazz musician from Chicago Erin McDougald celebrating her new CD “Outside the Soiree” and giving her thoughts about being an outsider and the MeToo movement. She will have a separate feature.
A Must See Event! Selwyn Jacob Retrospective at DOCA. 2018 by Ariadne Sawyer, MA. for the Afro News and World Poetry Media.
Selwyn Jacob will be honoured with a retrospective screening of his 1996 film, The Road Taken.
This is a great opportunity to see this amazing film and meet this legendary producer and filmmaker. DOXA screenings: Saturday, 5 May- 6 pm at The Annex, Tuesday, 8 May at 2:45 pm at the Vancity Theatre https://www.doxafestival.ca/film/road-taken
The Road Taken 1996 documentary takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of Black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada’s railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s and how they made a difference. This 1996 documentary takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of Black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada’s railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s. There was a strong sense of pride among these men and they were well-respected by their community. Yet, harsh working conditions prevented them from being promoted to other railway jobs until finally, in 1955; porter Lee Williams took his fight to the union.
Claiming discrimination under the Canada Fair Employment Act, the Blacks won their right to work in other areas. Interviews, archival footage and the music of noted jazz musician Joe Sealy (whose father was a porter) combine to portray a fascinating history that might otherwise have been forgotten.
Selwyn Jacob is a Canadian documentary filmmaker whose work has often explored the experiences of Black Canadians as well as other stories from Canada’s multicultural communities, as both as an independent director and since 1997 as a producer with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).
Originally from Trinidad, Jacob attended a teacher’s college there before traveling to Canada in 1968 to complete a Bachelor of Education at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. While in Edmonton, he was influenced and mentored by film producer, author and broadcaster Fil Fraser. After graduation, Jacob completed a master’s degree in film studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Jacob’s interest in Black Canadian non-fiction storytelling continued as NFB producer, supplemented by a notable range of films by Asian Canadian filmmakers from Canada’s western provinces, exploring their communities’ culture and histories, as well. His NFB producing credits include The Journey of Lesra Martin, about Lesra Martin, a Canadian youth who helped to free Rubin “Hurricane” Carter from prison; Jeni LeGon: Living in a Great Big Way (1999), a portrait of Jeni Le Gon, a Vancouver resident who had been one of the first Black women entertainers in Hollywood to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio; John McCrae’s War: In Flanders Fields (1998), a look at Canadian army doctor John McCrae, who wrote the poem, “In Flanders Fields”; Colleen Leung’s Letters from Home (2001); Linda Ohama’s Obachan’s Garden (2001); Ling Chiu’s From Harling Point (2003), about the first Chinese cemetery in Canada; Eunhee Cha’s A Tribe of One (2003); and Mighty Jerome (2010), a documentary film about African-Canadian track star Harry Jerome directed by Charles Officer.
In 2014, Jacob produced Ninth Floor, directed by Mina Shum. The film documents a 1969 Montreal student protest against racism known as the Sir George Williams Affair, and was filmed in Montreal on the 45th anniversary of the event. It was an event Jacob had been aware of at the time, as a number of its participants had been from Trinidad—including one from his home village—and Jacob has stated that it was always his intention to make a film about the incident.
Jacob’s interest in Black Canadian non-fiction storytelling continued as NFB producer, supplemented by a notable range of films by Asian Canadian filmmakers from Canada’s western provinces, exploring their communities’ culture and histories, as well.
The World Poetry Café Radio Show, now heard in 104 countries and celebrating 20 years of being on the air was blessed to welcome the well-known documentary Vancouver producer/director filmmaker Selwyn Jacob to the show along with Katja De Bock from NFB on May 3, 1-2 pm PST, CFRO 100.5 FM in a fascinating interview highlighted by a question from a youth actor about getting continued work in the film industry.
Thanks to the help from Katja De Bock and Selwyn Jacob in contacting Alvin Sanders, who recently ended several terms as vice-president of the Canadian union for actors in recorded media ACTRA, and who is a Black actor himself (currently playing a supporting role on the TV series RIVERDALE). For more advice please contact UBCP/ACTRA directly: http://www.ubcp.com/ UBCP/ACTRA is the BC Branch of the actor’s union ACTRA.
Alvin kindly sent these tips in response to the youth actor’s question:
Alvin says it’s difficult to answer a question about a person of a specific ethnicity, but he can reply with regards to diversity opportunities in general:
“Because of the steady increase in shows in the streaming world (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon etc.), the opportunities for actors in general have increased tremendously (more shows to be shot in BC and Vancouver) over the last 10 years, and particularly for diverse actors (as the distributors and streaming platforms are aiming at world-wide audiences, and want/need diversity in their casts).
It needs to be said that actors cast in U.S. productions shot in Canada are usually cast in supporting roles, he says.
NONE of the casting decisions on U.S. productions are made here. They are all made in the U.S.
The majority of characters in any type of production (TV, web, feature, TV movie, etc.) these days are young (under 35). So all mediums are for young performers.
It would be good to move to LA and get an LA agent if you want to be the lead character on a show.
Alvin also said, the above remarks apply to actors with a North-American accent, it might be tougher for people with a Caribbean or African accent to be cast in a main role, or even a supporting role, though of course not impossible, see the success of actors like Indian Priyanka Chopra on Quantico.”
The World Poetry Café Radio Show would like to thank him for his help in answering the question and for his important tips for young actors.
A Must See Documentary at VIFF! Unarmed Verses by Ariadne Sawyer, MA.
Showing at the festival: Wednesday, October 4, 1 p.m. SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
Friday, October 6, p.m. Rio Theatre.
Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing imposed relocation, taking a look at marginalized Toronto Community Housing residents in the city’s north-east end. At the centre of the story is a remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old black girl. The documentary Unarmed Verses made its world premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and now at VIFF festival. The films poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society weaves through it like a beautiful tapistery. Unarmed Verses is produced by Lea Marin and executive produced by Anita Lee for the NFB’s Ontario Studio. Source NFB.
In viewing the film; the courage, intelligence and capability of the young girl, Francine Valentine who cared for her family and was able to see clearly what was happening as her community is re-located to build condos which would be too expensive for any of the community to buy was very powerful
She is an talented poet, student and shining light in the world. It is wonderful that she has been accepted into an arts school and will become an amazing asset to Canadian society.
As she mentioned in the documentary: “Youth need to learn to empower themselves. It is important to have someone believe in them .”
Earlier, I had a wonderful interview with Charles Officer about this well done, sensitive and empowering documentary. He spoke of the need for governments and communities to realize the powerful effects that their decisions make on marginalized people and talked about his commitment to the problems of gentrification, economics and the need to for their stories to be heard. Charles is an amazing director with many credits and part of the upcoming TV series 21 Thunder which began June 19th. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6145878/fullcredits
Officer has also done such documentaries as Mighty Jerome, the NFB feature on Canadian sprinter Harry Jerome, the recent CBC documentary The Skin We’re In, and the drama feature Nurse. Fighter. Boy, which garnered 10 Genie nominations in 2008.
Current update on Unarmed Verses after HotDocs from Katja De Bock, NFB.
Unarmed Verses opened the 14th EIDF Documentary Film Festival in Seoul, Korea. The film was well received. Similar matters around revitalization, disconnection between citizens, developers and lawmakers is happening across the country as well. This is a worldwide problem and that needs to be addressed.
Unarmed Verses was screened at Toronto City Hall and hosted by Councillor Shelley Carroll, who also appears in the film. Council members were present, but Mayor John Tory was absent. I have been trying to get him to come see the film, but no luck. I have a lot of respect for Councillor Carroll, it was brave of her to initiate the screening and communicate how much she did learn from the film, and taking in the experience of those living it. Sydney, Q’mal and Lavane were present and had an opportunity to update Council members on the aftermath of revitalization.
A great doc to see! Previously reviewed on The World Poetry Café Radio Show, 105.FM CFRO and was linked to www.worldpoetry.ca and published in the Afro News http://www.theafronews.com/a-must-see-documentary-at-viff-unarmed-verses/
What’s next for Charles Officer:
He is currently in production with a new feature documentary, Invisible Essence: Le Petit Prince. The film explores the mystery and magic of the universally popular novella written by Antoine de St. Exupery. Also re-writing a mini-series adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s Don of a Smaller Hero. Charles is a talented filmmaker who has an important message to the world.