Edmonton

Edmonton man hopes to create first ever all balloon show

Edmonton filmed pilot features a balloon Mona Lisa, balloon shelves, balloon tools, and of course, a balloon shop made of balloons.

Balloon shop, balloon tools and even a Mona Lisa, made from balloons

An Edmonton man is hoping to win funding to produce a new kids' web series made entirely of balloons. 2:22

The journey towards the first production in history to be made entirely from balloons started with a flower. 

A rubber flower to be precise. 

Thirteen years ago Rupert Appleyard's brother started a circus in the east of England where they grew up.

Appleyard — at that time an actor — played an evil ringmaster and his brother a clown.

One day his brother made a flower for a senior citizen.

"I saw her face light up, and I thought to myself, 'You know, I'd like to make that flower,'" Appleyard told CBC's Radio Active Friday.

Fast forward 13 years and Appleyard's career has, well, ballooned. 

Rupert Appleyard is hoping to create the first ever series created entirely from balloons. (CBC)

Appleyard is now an acclaimed performer who has been called the "Michelangelo of balloon art."

He travels the world to teach and showcase his trade.

These days though, the familiar face at the Edmonton International Street Performer Festival has set his eyes on a different goal.

He's teamed up with a local production company, Open Sky Pictures, to bring his passion for balloons to the small screen. 

His idea, Balloon Town, is the first kids TV show with a set made entirely from balloons.

"It's an idea I've had for two years, to make a series that involves balloon twisting. Balloons are such a wonderful material to work in. You can make anything out of them," Appleyard said.

"To be able to get that on film and try to inspire kids imaginations with balloons is just awesome."

The set, built at NAIT, took six balloon twisters two days with over a thousand dollars of balloons.

Harder to make props like a movable balloon T. rex were created beforehand.

Appleyard said he couldn't have created all his world of hot air without tapping into Edmonton's community of balloon twisters. 

"There's a great balloon community in Edmonton," he said.

"Edmonton is a great city for the arts, and it has a really great reputation for supporting them, even if it is something as weird as balloon twisting." 

The pitch video Appleyard created with Open Sky Pictures was made with the hopes of winning the Independent Production Fund.

Since the video was posted it's been viewed almost 100,000 times. 

The elaborate set features a balloon Mona Lisa, balloon shelves, balloon tools, and of course, a balloon shop made out of balloons.

The show will showcase Appleyard's alter ego, Phileas Flash, traveling through time to collect rare artifacts. 

The artifacts and the adventures Appleyard goes on to acquire them will be used to teach children about history.

"We want to include imagination into it," said Appleyard.

"We really want to educate kids and bring some really fun ways of educating children." 

At the end of his time in studio with Radio Active Appleyard decided to use his balloon skills to teach the audience something they may have already known for quite some time.

With a few skillful twists here and knots there, Appleyard was able to reinforce the notion that CBC's Portia Clark and Rod Kurtz are full of hot air. 

Rupert Appleyard, left, and his balloon portraits of Radio Active's Portia Clark and Rod Kurtz. (CBC)

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.