I produced another fascinating episode of CBC's The Nature of Things, in which climate change has led to major archeological discoveries. In "Secrets From the Ice", tools and human remains thousands of years old have emerged from melting ice patches in the Yukon and Norway. Follow archeologists as they try to piece together who these ancient peoples were and how they lived - and learn the effects their efforts have had on Aboriginal communities today. The episode debuts November 19 on CBC-TV, then will be available soon after on their website and app with on-demand Described Video.
Jeff Fuchs is a guy from the Ottawa area who has a thing for tea. It's a thing that sent him hiking thousands of miles over some of the most remote terrain in the world to learn about some of its extensive history and mystical properties. In the documentary The Tea Explorer, he explains his obsession, takes us through the process of making the rarest and most expensive teas, and goes on an adventure tracking an ancient route taken by tea traders for ages. While Fuchs does a lot of of talking, this doc was a particular challenge to describe due to a huge variety of visual elements: from the spectacular vistas of the Himalayas, down to the myriad small details of a Chinese tea ceremony. The Tea Explorer makes his début on The Documentary Channel in Canada on September 11.
Sometimes it seems just as well that people can't see things - like all the tiny bugs that live in your house or apartment. But CBC's The Nature of Things takes that privilege away with "The Great Wild Indoors", and I help take it away from blind and low-vision people with description of the creepy-crawlies and where they are. (Sorry.) A team of biologists takes over a family's fairly typical house with lab equipment and incredibly powerful cameras to explore a world normally hidden from view. You'll never catch all the bugs, but you can catch this episode of the legendary series August 27 on CBC, then with on-demand Described Video on the CBC-TV website and app (Canada only).
Canada has been gearing up for its 150th birthday, reaching its peak on Canada Day July 1. But the celebrations of the country's history include some sober considerations of what people have had to face to help make it great. I wrote and produced the description for Diana Dai's documentary My First 150 Days, which follows the three children and one grandchild of Melona Banico, who immigrated from the Philippines years earlier and has scrimped and saved to sponsor their own immigration. While Canada seems a promised land at first and the family is thrilled to be back together, realities start to set in and tensions get high. Will the family still be together by Canada Day? Enjoy this heart-rendering story of perseverance and love on TVO on July 1, and afterward on their website with Described Video on-demand (Ontario only).
The National Film Board of Canada has been known for decades for their earnest documentaries of various aspects of Canadian life (I've described more than a few of them.). This CBC digital series purports to be among them, a 1970s relic unearthed from archives, about a family with a very distinct culture living on an isolated island somewhere in the Maritimes. But the narrator is comedian Colin Mochrie, and the family's ways are decidedly... odd. Starting June 12, listen to me try my best to describe their unique lifestyle on the CBC-TV site and app (in Canada only), which includes on-demand Described Video in the player.
After working on description for many Hallmark movies over the years, I finally got to work on a Lifetime movie! And I do mean a "Lifetime movie" - A woman betrayed by her husband? Check. Fighting for her life in a crazy situation? Yup. "Woman On the Run" stars Sarah Butler as a famous but reclusive crime novelist whose identity is stolen. Can she get anyone to believe her so she can get her life back? Find out and listen for the description I wrote on Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network, first airing April 29.
Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles are Montreal chefs and friends who cross Canada in a big RV to celebrate regional food and the people who make it great. I’ve written description for two fun episodes of Chuck and Danny's Road Trip, where the buddies camp out, learn more about local specialties and then create a feast for the farmers, chefs and experts who have helped them along the way. Check Food Network Canada for their adventures in New Brunswick and a celebration of Mexican cuisine in southern Ontario.
In February, I found myself in the lounge of a sports arena in Cardiff, Wales. People walked around me as I sat with my laptop, tapping away. I was mixing scenes of police chasing a man who supposedly set off an explosive device at a protest in Rio de Janeiro. But all was not as it seemed - as became apparent in the many angles of the events shot by fighters for truth whose best weapons are phone cameras and laptops like mine. That's just one of the stories in the compelling documentary Black Code, based on the book by Professor Ron Deibert of Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, investigating issues of technology that can help limit human rights... but can also help them flourish. Look for it on SuperChannel in Canada starting in the summer.
The last episode of The Nature of Things I described focused on the wonders of the human mind. This time, the non-humans get their turn in the spotlight, as "Think Like An Animal" looks at fascinating animal behaviours that show they're much starter than many of us may have thought. From birds to whales to "Esther the Wonder Pig," animals show instinct and logic that can go over our heads. "Think Like An Animal" premiere November 24 at 8pm eastern on CBC - but for people in Canada, it's available anytime with on-demand Described Video on the CBC website and the CBC-TV app! (Note: The "D" button is along the bottom of the player between the CC button and the volume control.)
People who become vision-impaired in childhood or adulthood can attest to the concept of neuroplasticity: the ability of the brain to adjust and be "rewired" as they must learn new skills. A man who introduced that concept, Dr. Norman Doige, returns to the long-running CBC series The Nature of Things with fascinating stories of helping the brain itself to heal. In "The Brain's Way of Healing", Doige meets people all over the world whose lives have been changed by non-invasive methods that have improved debilitating brain conditions. I loved writing and producing description to help illuminate the concepts and the dedication of the scientists and patients dealing with everything from Parkinson's to severe autism to massive brain injuries. Catch it in Canada on CBC-TV October 27 at 8pm eastern, and afterward on the CBC-TV app with on-demand Described Video.