The North Pole is a new comedic web series about three best friends born and raised in North Oakland, CA, who struggle to stay rooted as their neighborhood becomes a hostile environment. Across seven outrageous episodes, Nina, Marcus, and Benny fight, dream, and plot hilarious schemes to save the place they call home. Facing both gentrification and global warming, they combat evil landlords, crazy geoengineering plots, and ultimately each other.
What is The North Pole?
For those lucky people who grew up in North Oakland in the 1990s and 2000s, the neighborhood had but one nickname: the North Pole. Young folks growing up in the area called themselves Polar Bears. These days, though, the climate of the neighborhood is changing – less barbershops and soul food spots, more condos and kombucha stands – and it feels like the North Pole’s native species is going extinct.
But, there are some Polar Bears, who aren’t going out without a fight...
Meet the Team
Our core creative team is writer/producer Josh Healey (NPR Snap Judgment), director Yvan Iturriaga (PBS, A Photographer’s Journey), and producer Darren Colston (Sitting on 60). Individually, we have award-winning credits in film, radio, and performance. Together, we believe in the power of art and culture to spark social change -- and to have at least a mildly good time while making it happen.
We do this work because we love it. Because we love our communities. And because (let’s be real) none of us wants to get a real job. And like all great projects, we know we can’t do it alone. Luckily we have an all-star cast and crew bringing The North Pole to life...
The show stars Reyna Amaya (All Def Digital TV), Donte Clark (Romeo is Bleeding), Santiago Rosas (Home Front), and Eli Marienthal (American Pie).
Special guest cameos include comedian W. Kamau Bell, hip-hop artist Mistah Fab, Black Panther hero Ericka Huggins, and legendary emcee & activist Boots Riley.
On the front end, we’ve been blessed to work with creative consultants Chinaka Hodge (Chasing Mehserle) and Adam Mansbach (Go the Fuck to Sleep), and associate producer Dania Cabello (Futbolistas 4 Life).
The North Pole is executive produced by Movement Generation. Based in the East Bay, MG inspires and engages in transformative action towards the liberation and restoration of land, labor, and culture. Rooted in social movements led by working-class communities of color, MG is committed to a Just Transition away from profit and pollution and towards healthy, resilient and life-affirming local economies.
Our Creative Evolution
Over the last few years, our core team - Josh, Yvan, and Darren - has collaborated with Movement Generation to produce several award-winning comedic videos on climate justice and grassroots movements. Here’s the short we did in support of the historic People's Climate March in NYC:
And this is one of our personal favorites...
Bill McKibben, the internationally renowned climate activist, called Brother Earth “bar none the sharpest, funniest video on global warming I’ve ever seen.”
Why This Project? Why Us?
After producing these fun shorts, we wanted to expand to a larger narrative format that could allow for fuller characters, deeper conflicts, and longer (if not better) jokes. The North Pole is a perfect metaphor for the parallels between social and environmental problems, but for all of us making this show, it’s not just a metaphor. This is our home.
Our over 20-person cast and crew (from the actors to the sound operators to our fabulous, hilarious make-up artist Ms. Collins) all believe in this project on the realest, most personal level. Most of us from Oakland. Some of us are from Richmond, DC, Puerto Rico, Chile, and more -- migrants and transplants who have planted our roots here. All of us share a deep commitment to The Town, to the Bay Area, and to this beautiful, crazy planet we all call home. This show is a picket sign, a punchline, and a love letter to the people and places that have made us who we are -- and that we believe are worth defending.
You don’t have to read the news to know we live in crazy times. Rents are skyrocketing, temperatures are going up even more, and (stop me if you’ve heard this before) a billionaire charlatan with fascist tendencies just became President.
Right now, we need art and activism that doesn’t shy away from the brutal realities of this moment. We need art and activism that looks the hurricane right in the eye and says, “So we’re going to do this? Aight then, let’s go.”
We need stories of joy and rage, stories of rebellion and ridiculousness, stories that are multi-racial, multi-generational, bold, beautiful, and (God forbid) even make us laugh a little.
Because PowerPoint presentations just aren’t that much fun.
Comedy reaches people - especially young people - in ways that traditional media and messaging doesn’t. We live in the generation raised on Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart as our most trusted names in politics. Good comedy cuts through the bullshit. Laughter is contagious, exactly the type of positive energy we need right now.
Most political art, especially art around climate change is depressing as hell -- “Look, here’s another part of the world that is dying. We’re all going to die soon! But hey, come get involved!” -- isn’t the type of inspiration that gets people out of bed in the morning, let alone join a movement.
We’re here to change that.
The North Pole isn’t a traditional sitcom -- this is a dramatic comedy with unapologetic progressive politics. We start off with the laughs, but the real punchline? It’ll make you want to do more than just laugh.
That’s what The North Pole is all about. And we NEED YOU to help make it happen.
Budget and Where We’re At
We have shot the majority of our 7 episodes, and are currently in post-production. We still have final production costs, editing, sound design, music composition, marketing, community outreach, and much more -- all of which needs to be paid for. Here’s exactly what this Kickstarter campaign will go to support…
Timeline and Plans
With your help, we'll launch in Spring 2017 with a major premiere in Oakland and national online distribution.
Working with Movement Generation, we’ll partner with groups fighting for racial justice, climate resilience, and against displacement. Together, we’re planning to make this more than just a web series -- The North Pole will be a creative organizing platform to amplify community activism.
This is a show for the people -- and the polar bears. This is a show for Oakland. This is for Detroit and New Orleans and El Paso and Standing Rock. This is for Planet Earth. For our future. For right now. For your funny bone and your raised fist.
Thank you for your support. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.
For real for real.
Risks and challenges
We’re making a high-level production on a tight budget. That means all of us are working overtime, playing multiple roles, and balancing our other projects and realities. But hey, that’s what we do, right?
The good news is, we’ve already finished the hardest part of The North Pole -- shooting the majority of all seven episodes. We just need our community to bring us home and help cover post-production and marketing costs, so that we can make this as strong as possible and get it out to the people.
We’re confident that we can make it happen. It’s not easy, but we’ve hit every deadline so far, and we’re going to push harder than ever before. The North Pole is coming your way in 2017, and honestly, we can't wait.
Join the team and help make it happen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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