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Rise Up Animation to host showcase of Sisler CREATE’s Orange Tree Project

Sisler's CREATE Program presents the Orange Tree Project

Students will see their short films, created with mentorship from Nickelodeon’s artists, broadcast internationally on June 24.

Winnipeg, Manitoba Winnipeg School Division students from Sisler High School’s CREATE program will have their work streamed across North America as part of the program’s inaugural showcase in partnership with Rise Up Animation. The showcase will be held on Zoom on June 24 at 7:30 PM Central. Attendees can register here

At the event, Sisler CREATE students will present films made as part of an initiative called The Orange Tree Project, which saw the program’s students mentored directly by animation professionals from Nickelodeon, including Mark Galez, Kyle Marshall, Jessica Borutski and Cat Bondoc. Nickelodeon’s mentors met with students online each month to view progress and offer feedback from story development to completion. The Orange Tree Project is a collaboration between Sisler High School’s CREATE post-high initiative and Nickelodeon Community Efforts (NiCE), with the goal of giving students access to mentorship opportunities and experience working in a studio environment. 

The animated shorts developed through the Orange Tree Project include:

  • ‘Eclipse’ by Clementine Animations — Two witch sisters spend their days creating magic potions. The younger sister struggles with feeling overshadowed while the older sister, trying to help, ends up overstepping.
  • ‘Ikaw Muna’ by Monarch Martians — A normal day of babysitting and basketball takes a turn for siblings Maya and Enrico after they accidentally destroy the home of a Nuno sa Punso. Inspired by Philipino folklore.
  • ‘Grim Companion’ by Yam Jam Animation —  An unexpected encounter with a new companion gives the Grim Reaper a new sense of purpose in the lonesome world he roams.


“This showcase provides our CREATE students with an incredible opportunity. By having Rise Up Animation and NiCE on board, they will access an incredible audience of high level animators and industry professionals from across the continent,” said Jamie Leduc, department head for the CREATE program. “Watching these students develop their skills has been a highlight of my career. I am so incredibly proud of their work and cannot wait for it to be seen.”

“Working with the students in The Orange Tree Project was fun but also inspiring for me,” said Jessica Borutski, mentor and Supervising Director at Nickelodeon. “Being witness to their excitement of making their first animated shorts was a reward in itself. They inspired me with their thirst to create!”

‘Eclipse’ was created by Clementine Animations. The team behind the animated short includes Jemimah Suba, Dairyl Mabunga, Kimberly Chau, Kaylise Rose, Sam Balanial, Gian Abaad, Francesca Musni, Kiara Skye, Adrian Knight, Camille Dubeau, Marjorie Dumaua, Onah Fuentes, Tiryn Dudley, Kayla Contois-moar and Jed Orellano. 

Turnarounds for characters in ‘Eclipse’ drawn by Kimberly Chau.

“As a Member of the Orange Tree Project, I’ve been granted with the most amazing opportunity a student animator could ever wish for – working alongside Nickelodeon and many other amazing industry individuals,” said ‘Eclipse’ project lead Jemimah Suba. “My mentors Jessica Borutski and Cat Bondoc were amazing role models and teachers to both me and my team members. This showcase is a huge opportunity for me and everyone involved in the Orange Tree Project because we are able to show our work to many people internationally, as well as many from the creative industry itself. It will show how much student animators can accomplish and how much they can learn when given the opportunity to do so.”

‘Ikaw Muna’ was developed by Monarch Martians. The creators include Nya Langit, Ethan Reyes, Yzabelle Tolentino, Allen Miranda, Noah Ascano, Andrew Dilag, Mae Lestones, Megan Koscielny, Meadow Chaput, Chrysler Uy, Jayson Salak, Raia Guinto, Maryanne Guiboche, Anne Gendive, Mikhylla Dilag, Julia Vallega and Aylene Sun. 

“The Orange Tree Project was an experience that honestly taught me a lot, not only about the creative industry and the process of working on such a significant project, but it also taught me more about myself and my own abilities,” said ‘Ikaw Muna’ team lead Nya Langit. “Our mentor Kyle Marshall is so supportive of all of our team members and has given us such valuable advice on our project and careers moving forward. The showcase is an amazing opportunity for all of us who worked on the Orange Tree Project to show all of our hard work and dedication from the past year. I’m so excited to be able to show what we can do as student animators and for what opportunities this may bring in for us in the future.”

‘Ikaw Muna’ beatboard thumbnails drawn by Nya Langit.

‘Grim Companion’ was produced by Yam Jam Animation. The team includes Gab Reyes, Kyla Ramilo, Angelo Alviar, August Calayag, Bianca Solis, Driccson Orina, Jireh Laririt, Justin Choy, Macky Pelico, Rance Dee, Vince Bulanhagui, and Xierra Cansino. 

“There’s so many talented folks among us in the Sisler CREATE Program, and the Orange Tree Project was the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we will treasure forever,” said Gab Reyes, project lead for ‘Grim Companion.’ “Mark Galez, our awesome mentor, has given us so much valuable feedback and career/life advice that helped us grow as artists and individuals. This showcase will allow our work to be seen by an international audience, opening even more doors for my fellow students and I.”

Sisler High School’s CREATE post-high initiative is a free, eight credit hour program supported by the Winnipeg School Division and Province of Manitoba. Students can enroll in film, animation, game design, graphic design, VFX and other digital media courses. The program is focused on job readiness and post-secondary pathways into creative industries. Piloted in 2019, the program is seeing incredible results – of the 26 graduates, 11 are already employed in the industry. Including this year’s graduates, 25 have received full-ride scholarships to VFS – supplied by the Schroeder Foundation and Vancouver Film School. Sisler High School is among the largest highschools in Manitoba, with a six-decade history of providing education services in Winnipeg’s culturally diverse North End community. 

Rise Up Animation is a movement to provide support to all People of Color with the goal of helping diverse talent to Rise Up in the animation Industry. The initiative provides feedback sessions, mentorship opportunities and talks for BIPOC talent, including students from the Sisler CREATE program. Rise Up mentors include animation industry professionals from Disney, Pixar, Sony Pictures Animation, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Netflix and other major studios

Toon Boom Animation donated Harmony Premium and Storyboard Pro for the production of the Orange Tree Project’s films. Software was provided to give participating students access to the same set of tools used in professional animation studios around the world. Toon Boom Animation partners with educational institutions and districts to help prepare students for their animated careers.

For more information and interviews please contact:

Ginny Collins
CREATE Communications

gcollins@terrabay.ca
(204) 802 2845
Radean Carter
Senior Information Officer, WSD

rcarter@wsd1.org
(204) 789 0412 or (204) 771 5352 (mobile)