NEWS RELEASE                     

For Immediate Release 


  Eric Davis,  Marketing & Communications Director, IAIA
                505.424.2351, or
  Lubna Abuulbah, PBS KIDS
                 703.739.8463, or
IAIA Alumna
Sydney Isaacs
Named IAIA/WGBH Fellow
On PBS KIDS Series
Molly of Denali
First Nationally Distributed
Children's Series to Feature
Alaska Native Lead Character
SANTA FE, N.M. - September 7, 2018.

With correction of PBS KIDS 

Institute of American Indian Arts  (IAIA) Alumna Sydney Isaacs (Tlingit), BFA-Cinematic Arts '16, was recently awarded the IAIA/WGBH Fellowship on the PBS KIDS series MOLLY OF DENALIa new animated series that will debut nationwide in summer 2019 on PBS stations, the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, and PBS KIDS digital platforms. Produced by WGBH Boston, MOLLY OF DENALI  is an action-adventure comedy that follows the adventures of feisty and resourceful 10-year-old Molly Mabray, an Alaska Native girl. MOLLY OF DENALI is the first nationally distributed children's series in the U.S. to feature an Alaska Native lead character. Molly helps her mom and dad run the Denali Trading Post, a general store, bunkhouse, and transport hub in the fictional village of Qyah, Alaska. Each episode follows Molly, her dog Suki, and her friends Tooey and Trini on their daily adventures in Alaska -- from fishing, to building snow forts, to delivering a camera to friends on a volcano via dog sled.

Sydney Isaacs
Photo by Jason S. Ordaz. Courtesy of IAIA.

One of the goals of the series is to bring Alaska Native voices into all aspects of the production, both on and off camera. WGBH Boston is developing the series with a working group of Alaska Native advisors and consultants; IAIA Trustee Princess Daazhraii Johnson (Neets'aii Gwich'in)  is creative producer of the series. MOLLY OF DENALI will also feature Alaska Native voice talent in key roles, including the lead role of Molly, as well as Alaska Native scriptwriters. WGBH and its animation partner, Atomic Cartoons, will host Alaska Native interns for production and animation roles.
"We are thrilled to welcome Sydney Isaacs to the MOLLY OF DENALI production team and we are grateful to be partnering with IAIA on this Fellowship," says WGBH Creative Producer Princess Daazhraii Johnson. "It's exciting to see the production continue to grow the talent of Alaska Native/Native American and First Nations peoples. We look forward to working with Sydney."

IAIA President Robert Martin (Cherokee) commented that he is " pleased that Sydney Isaacs, an Alaska Native Tlingit  who graduated with high honors from IAIA's Cinematic Arts and Technology BFA program, will have an opportunity to hone her skills on this project.  She is a young filmmaker who has focused her work on animation and will gain valuable experience through the fellowship to link her technical skills in animation with this Alaska Native narrative." 

Molly of Denali
© 2018 WGBH Educational Foundation

Offering undergraduate degrees in Studio Arts, Creative Writing, Cinematic Arts and Technology, Indigenous Liberal Studies, and Museum Studies -- a minor in Performing Arts -- an MFA in Creative Writing -- along with certificates in Business and Entrepreneurship, Museum Studies, and Native American Art History -- IAIA is the only college in the nation dedicated to the study of contemporary Native arts. The school serves 517 full time equivalent (FTE) Native and non-Native American college students from across the globe.  IAIA is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission -- and is the only college in New Mexico accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. 

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About IAIA -- For over 50 years, the Institute of American Indian Arts has played a key role in the direction and shape of Native expression. With an internationally acclaimed college, museum, and tribal support resource through our Land Grant Programs, IAIA is dedicated to the study and advancement of Native arts and cultures -- and committed to student achievement and the preservation and progress of their communities.  Learn more about IAIA and our mission at


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