Saturday, October 12, 2013

Walk The Walk: Stories Of Hope

It's the new season and already I'm being inundated by angry TV viewers who want to know where the great new Canadian series might be.
Well, I've got one for you that is chock full of surprise and hope.
Titled Walk The Walk it's a six part documentary series that celebrates illustrious Canadians and gets them interacting with "ordinary" Canadians who have big dreams.
So kudos to Global for showing such a series even if the time slot is a bit off putting: Saturday nights at 10 beginning October 12.
The greatish Canadians profiled here are Nelly Furtado, Rush, Tom Cochrane, George Chuvalo, Kurt Browning and Sonia Rodriguez.
They share nothing in common talent wise but all are concerned citizens out to make society a better place to live.
There are two half hour profiles on each week.
First up there's Neil Peart, drummer with rush, who gets connected with Karl Sloman, drummer and music teacher who leads a band of disabled musicians called Train wreck.
I haven't previewed that one but the second profile I saw and can really recommend as Walk of Fame star Kurt Browning is asked to secvrety drop in on a Special Olympics skating club called Rising stars to offer encouragement and support.
We first visit with Browning at his kitchen table and the talk reaffirms what a basically nice guy he is despite all that fame.
He's off to a skating rink to accidentally on purpose drop in on the dedicated coach Nancy Eastman who has devoted her career to mentoring Special Olympics skaters including three Champions.
I'm honor bound not to give away more of the show but it contains heart warming moments including the profile of a young skater who won't let her epilepsy keep her down.
And there's also a special guest appearance from another Canadian skater and a proud Olympian. Guess who!
In the second week the first segment looks at Tom Cochrane who visits with Angus Ronalds who reated "Riley's Walk"  to honor his seven-year old son who died of cancer.
I haven't seen it but I did catch a preview of the second part which pairs ballerina Sonia Rodriguez with occupational therapists (and sisters) Mallory and Jade Ryan who created a dance troupe for young girls with disabilities.
The camera first lingers over their coaching sessions and then there's a visit from Rodriguez during a master class.
Speaking on the phone Rodriguez (who happens to be married to Browning) said "It was something I just had to do. So very inspirational. But obviously the surprise was hard to make happen. Luckily it came on a night when I was not dancing."
"I tell you the reception...I felt overwhelmed. Rodriguez liked the emphasis on what the girls can do rather than talking about their obvious limitations.
"People who watch will be touched. I sat there and applauded everybody I was enjoying myself so much.
"Of course it was a different environment for me. But dancing should make everybody feel good. These girls gain confidence. And I could see it meant so much for parents.
"The kids? They have blossomed truly."
The third (and final week pairs George Chuvalo with boxing coaches Miranda Kamal and husband Ibrahim as they teach boxing to at-risk youths followed by Nello Furtado visiting budding poet Mustafa Ahmed.
Walk the walk delivers a wallop of emotions and should appeal to young audiences --better record this one in case the youngsters in your family drift off at such a late hour.
Sergio Gallinaro and Alex Kane produced and Maureen Riley directed for Toronto's Enter the Picture Productions.
MY RATING: ***1/2.

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