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Home #Hwoodtimes A Conversation with Creative Producer and Educator Yatibaey Evans about the New...

A Conversation with Creative Producer and Educator Yatibaey Evans about the New Molly of Denali Episodes in Honor of Native American Heritage Month

Yatibaey Evans

By Judy Shields

Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 11/04/2022

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New Episodes and Molly of Denali: The Big Gathering Digital Shorts Launch in Honor of Native American Heritage Month.

The Hollywood Times had the pleasure to talk with Yatibaey Evans about this great PBS Kids show Molly of Denali.

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Enjoy our conversation:

 

I have been watching this series since July 2019. I met some of those involved in the show at the Television Critics Association (TCA) in February 2019 in Pasadena.

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This animated PBS Kids series is truly a family oriented show for all ages. There are lessons to learn in every episode as well as beautiful and stunning colorization of true Alaskan scenery, which will definitely inspire you to take a trip there to see it in person!

To ensure authenticity, the entire series is imbued with Alaskan Native voices both on and off camera, from actors to screen writers to producers. We partnered with an Alaskan native working group on the development of the series, and they continued to weigh in on every episode and detail.

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Molly of Denali also highlights important Alaskan native values, like knowing who you are, accepting what life brings, and honoring your elders. While these values are specific to the Alaskan Native community, they’re also universal.

Molly of Denali, the groundbreaking, Peabody Award-winning animated series, is kicking off Season 3 with a trio of new episodes in honor of Native American Heritage Month (November) Monday, November 7, to Wednesday, November 9 on PBS KIDS (check local listings)! The premiering, which will also be able to stream, episodes feature all the elements that have made Molly of Denali such a big hit with kids and parents alike: wildlife-centered outdoor adventures, celebration of the rich and diverse Alaska Native culture, an emphasis on the importance of family and community, and innovative informational text curriculum.

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A fan-favorite series that follows the adventures of 10-year-old Molly Mabray, a curious and resourceful Alaska Native girl who lives in the fictional village of Qyah, Alaska, Molly of Denali is the first nationally-distributed children’s program to feature Native American and Alaska Native lead characters. The pioneering show incorporates Alaska Native voices in all aspects of the production, both on screen and behind the scenes as voiceover actors, writers, producers, musicians, animators, and story and language advisors.

Season 3 of the standout series begins when Molly and her best friend Tooey realize they’ve never seen an Alaska Native superhero before, so they decide to dream up their own! The premiere week continues with Molly’s family hosting a Yup’ik exchange student, Molly and Tooey working to solve the mystery of what happened to the endangered beluga whales in Cook’s Inlet, and the discovery of the perfect remedy for boredom during a blizzard – a yuuyuuk, or an Alaska Native yoyo.

In addition, Molly of Denali: The Big Gathering, a series of 20 brand new shorts, will begin rolling out November 7 on PBS KIDS. The shorts follow Molly and the people of her hometown of Qyah as they prepare for “The Big Gathering,” an annual festival for Indigenous peoples inspired by the real-life Alaskan Federation of Natives Convention in Anchorage. The first ten shorts will stream free on PBS KIDS starting November 7, with the remaining ten launching on November 21.

EPISODE 301 – 11/7/22
301A Homemade Heroes: When Molly and Tooey realize they’ve never seen an Alaska Native superhero before, they decide to make a few of their own! Oscar and Vera convince them to enter a superhero design contest, but they can only enter one hero. Whose will it be?

301B Molly & the Snow Hawk: Trini’s sled is a slowpoke on the slopes, and Molly wants to give her something more Alaska-worthy. She and Tooey plan to surprise Trini by fixing up Molly’s old sled, the Snow Hawk, but is Molly ready to give away something so special?

EPISODE 303 – 11/8/22
303A Story of the Story Knife: Molly’s family is hosting a Yup’ik exchange student, Willow, and Molly is super excited to spend the week with her! But when Willow loses her prized story knife, Molly must try to find a replacement before Willow goes home.

 

303B Raven Saves the Birthday Party: Oscar wants to be a storyteller one day, but he’s not sure he can remember all the stories his elders want to share with him. While he works on remembering the old stories, Uncle Jack, Aunt Merna, and Auntie Midge help him tell a new one.

EPISODE 304 – 11/9/22
304A A Whale of A Time: Molly and Tooey volunteer to help Nina count the endangered beluga whales in Cook Inlet. But when the whole day goes by and they still haven’t spotted a single whale, they have a mystery to solve: What happened to the belugas?

304B That’s Snow Fun: Molly is ready for a day of snow adventures with Trini when a blizzard forces them to stay inside. Luckily, an old box full of treasures from Mom’s childhood has the perfect remedy for boredom: a yuuyuuk, or an Alaska Native yoyo!