Oaklanders Fight Gentrification and Global Warming in ‘The North Pole’ Web Series

By Sameer Rao Feb 03, 2017

A trio of Oakland residents fights against displacement and climate change in the upcoming digital comedy series, "The North Pole." 

Series writer and producer Josh Healey (NPR’s "Snap Judgment") launched a Kickstarter campaign Wednesday (February 1) to crowdfund production for the seven-episode show. Healey named "The North Pole" after a term North Oakland residents use for their neighborhood. The campaign’s promotional video features a polar bear (or, rather, an unidentified person in a polar bear costume using hella Bay Area slang) interrupting Healey and show star Reyna Amaya ("All Def Digital TV") as they pitch the series. 

"The North Pole" focuses on three friends as they desperately try to keep their hometown from becoming unrecognizable. "Facing both gentrification and global warming, they combat evil landlords, crazy geoengineering plots and ultimately each other," reads the Kickstarter page description. Amaya stars alongside fellow Bay Area performers, including poet Donte Clark ("Romeo is Bleeding") and newcomer Santiago Rosas.

The series also boasts cameos from famous local residents including comedian W. Kamau Bell ("United Shades of America"), former Black Panther Party leader Ericka Huggins and rappers Mistah F.A.B. and Boots Riley. The polar bear also makes a cameo. Writers Chinaka Hodge ("Chasing Mehserle") and Adam Mansbach ("Barry") serve as creative consultants.

Healey works as creative director for Movement Generation, an East Bay-based grassroots environmental justice organization that created a 2015 TV spot with comedians and activists challenging California governor Jerry Brown’s record on fracking. Movement Generation executive produces "The North Pole," and its climate and economic justice advocacy features in the show’s combined global warming and gentrification themes.

"Working with Movement Generation, we’ll partner with groups fighting for racial justice, climate resilience and against displacement," reads the Kickstarter page. "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."

To that end, the show’s cast and crew have already raised nearly $4,500 towards their $25,000 goal. With most of the seven episodes already filmed, the money will go towards post-production costs, marketing, community outreach and national distribution efforts. Click here to learn more.