Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Gravitas Ventures to Release 'The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story' on Blu-ray and VOD on Tuesday, November 17

Gravitas Ventures, Llc will release The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, a documentary that explores the golden years of Nickelodeon and beyond through interviews with the actors, writers and creators of iconic Nickelodeon shows, on Blu-ray on Tuesday, November 17, 2020! The title is available to pre-order now on Target.com (priced $13.29 USD) and Craft & Vinyl ($19.99 USD). The Nickelodeon documentary will also be released on on-demand services the same day.

Update (2/23/21) - The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story has been nominated for the "Award This! Pop Culture Documentary" award in Film Threat’s Award This! awards!

Update (10/9) - The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story is available to pre-order on iTunes now for $12.99. The film can also be ordered via FandangoNOW and Redbox.



THE ORANGE YEARS: THE NICKELODEON STORY SYNOPSIS:

"For millions of children and adults, the Nickelodeon Network is synonymous with growing up. In just a few years, the channel grew from a small local channel to an international phenomenon that helped shape a generation. Led by trailblazing visionary Geraldine Laybourne and her commitment to putting kids first, a group of unconventional heroes turned an underdog channel into an $8 billion dollar juggernaut as the golden standard for children’s programming. The Orange Years chronicles the rise of Nickelodeon, with the actors, writers, and creators from all the golden age Nickelodeon shows that shaped your lives. It’s wild. It’s crazy. It changed the world"



Using their combined skills in journalism and filmmaking as well as their mutual love for classic Nickelodeon, directors Adam Sweeney (part of the team behind The Prequels Strike Back: A Fan's Journey) and Scott Barber set out to make the documentary film Nickelodeon fans deserve. The childhood friends from The Woodlands grew up watching their beloved shows together and now share a new perspective on Nickelodeon.

The Orange Years journeys behind the scenes of the “kids first” phenomenal programming to chronicle the improbable and unprecedented success of Nickelodeon, straight from the mouths of those who brought the classic shows to fans as children. Filled with interviews from the actors, writers, animators, and creators from all your favorite golden age Nick shows, the film highlights the work of visionary Geraldine Laybourne, who was largely responsible for the network’s success in the early days.


The documentary has been been a labor of love for the filmmakers, who have interviewed some of the most famous and recognizable names from the channel's history, all the way back to its unlikely origins as Pinwheel in Columbus, Ohio.

The film has an all-star Nickelodeon cast including Kenan Thompson (All That, Kenan & Kel, Good Burger, Saturday Night Live), Kel Mitchell (All That, Kenan & Kel, Good Burger, Game Shakers), Alisa Reyes (All That), Marc Summers (Double Dare), Larisa Oleynik (The Secret World of Alex Mack), Phil Moore (Nick Arcade), Kirk Fogg (Legends of the Hidden Temple), Venus DeMilo (Salute Your Shorts), Michael Bower (Salute Your Shorts), and Danny Cooksey (Salute Your Shorts), Fred Keller (Hey Dude) and Christine McGlade (You Can’t Do That on Television).

Not that The Orange Years concentrates only on Nick's live-action output. The filmmakers also talked to talents from the groundbreaking animated division, like writer Mitchell Kriegman (Rugrats, Clarissa Explains it All), and the king of cartoon voice work, Tom Kenny (Rocko's Modern Life and SpongeBob SquarePants).

More than just a history lesson or a “where are they now?” special, the documentary explores the network’s revolutionary approach to storytelling, the impact it had on a generation of youth, and aims to find out of why these shows have stayed in the hearts of so many people.

Adam F. Goldberg (The Goldbergs) serves as an executive producer on the documentary.

Gravitas Ventures recently released Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story, a documentary chronicling the rise of The Ren & Stimpy Show in North America.

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story made its world debut during a panel at the ninth annual DOC NYC festival in November 2018, which was attended by directors Scott Barber and Adam Sweeney; and '90s Nickelodeon stars Danny Tambarelli and Michael C. Maronna from The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Lee Leshen will served as the panels moderator.

THE ORANGE YEARS: THE NICKELODEON STORY

You Can’t Do That on Television, Clarissa Explains It All, Double Dare, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Doug, Rugrats… If you recognize any of these titles, you probably grew up watching Nickelodeon, the cable-television network devoted to kids that launched almost 40 years ago. Beginning as a small local channel, visionary leadership led to its rapid growth into a global phenomenon. The Orange Years is a nostalgic and entertaining look back at the early years of the youth-oriented network that broke all the rules to let kids enjoy being kids.

Official Site: http://www.theorangeyears.com
On Twitter: theorangeyears
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theorangeyears/
Support on: Indiegogo

Running Time: 98
Language: English
Country: USA
Year: 2018

Credits:

Director: Scott Barber, Adam Sweeney

Producer: EP Adam F. Goldberg (The Goldbergs), EP Lee Leshen, Producer Bill Parks, Producer Scott Barber, Producer Shawn Cauthen, Producer Alisa Reyes, Producer Adam Sweeney, Producer Brian MacGillivray, Producer Lance Paul

Cinematographer: Shawn Cauthen

Editor: Bradford Thomason, Scott Barber, Shawn Cauthen

Music: Daron Beck

WRITERS: Scott Barber Adam Sweeney

CAST: Christine Taylor, Larisa Oleynik, Melissa Joan Hart, Kenan Thompson, Danny Cooksey, Drake Bell
Trailer:



Sneak Peek:


The Adventures of Pete & Pete star Danny Temberelli features in this clip, as he explains how series director Katherine Dieckmann had previously worked on the music videos “Shiny Happy People” and “Stand” for the band REM. That’s how they landed the band’s frontman Michael Stipe for a guest role, and that opened the door to have all sorts of cool guest stars.

From Rolling Stone:

Watch Trailer for New Doc on Nickelodeon’s Glory Days, ‘The Orange Years’

Film features interviews with famed alumni including Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell and the voice of Spongebob, Tom Kenny

A new documentary, The Orange Years, will chronicle the rise of Nickelodeon and how the networked reshaped children’s television and effectively helped raise a generation of kids. The film will be available on on-demand services on November 17th.

The new trailer for The Orange Years opens with one of the network’s most high-profile alums, Kenan Thompson, explaining the driving force behind Nickelodeon’s success: “If you want to know about it, it’s a kid-owned environment.” That’s not to say actual kids were running things, but as the trailer goes on to explore, the network didn’t try to pander to kids, but rather gave them shows that felt real and, most importantly, made them laugh.

At the end of the trailer, Geraldine Laybourne, who led Nickelodeon for many years, explained what made the network such a potent force during its mid-Nineties rise: “Mothers were going to work for the first time, divorce rates were high, kids were either coming home alone or in after school programs — they needed a place where they could just be kids. They wanted childhood, let’s give it to them.”

The Orange Years was directed by Scott Barber and Adam Sweeney. Along with Thompson, it will feature interviews with other famous Nickelodeon figures, including Kel Mitchell, Melissa Joan Hart, Christine Taylor and Tom Kenny (a.k.a. the voice of Spongebob Squarepants).

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From MovieWeb:

The Orange Years Documentary Trailer Explores Nickelodeon's Glory Days


Gravitas Ventures has released a new trailer for The Orange Years, which chronicles the glory days of Nickelodeon.

We have a new trailer for The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, which should appeal to just about anyone who had cable and grew up in the 90s. The documentary, as the title suggests, chronicles the rise of Nickelodeon to prominence within the pop culture landscape. This initial look at the movie should serve as a huge boost of nostalgia for those who watched these shows growing up, but it also looks to provide a better understanding of how all of these shows came to be.

The trailer kicks off with a couple of the biggest stars from the network's glory days explaining what it was like behind the scenes. We then see someone getting slimed, something any fans of the Nick in the 90s will be familiar with. Described as the "anti-Disney," we are offered a window into what was going on behind the scenes that helped make the network what it became. As the voice of Spongebob Tom Kenny says, "The inmates were very much running the asylum."

Plenty of classic shows are represented in the trailer, such as Guts, Clarissa Explains It All, Double Dare, All That, The Secret World of Alex Mack, Salute Your Shorts, Rugrats and more.

The documentary is directed by Scott Barber and Adam Sweeney. Adam F. Goldberg, of The Goldbergs fame, also serves as an executive producer. Kenan Thompson (All That, Kenan & Kel), Kel Mitchell (All That, Kenan & Kel), Alisa Reyes (All That), Marc Summers (Double Dare), Larisa Oleynik (The Secret World of Alex Mack), Phil Moore (Nick Arcade), Kirk Fogg (Legends of the Hidden Temple), Venus DeMilo (Salute Your Shorts), Michael Bower (Salute Your Shorts), Danny Cooksey (Salute Your Shorts), Fred Keller (Hey Dude) and Christine McGlade (You Can't Do That on Television) are featured. Mitchell Kriegman (Rugrats) and Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) also were interviewed for the doc.

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story tells the tale of the Nickelodeon Network. In just a few years, the channel grew from a small local channel to an international phenomenon that helped shape an entire generation. Geraldine Laybourne led the way and through her commitment to putting kids first, a group of unconventional heroes turned a small channel into an $8 billion media behemoth that became the gold standard for children's programming. It chronicles the rise of the network with the actors, writers and creators from all the golden age Nickelodeon shows that shaped a generation.

Nickelodeon launched nationwide in 1979 but didn't truly become the version of it we all know until roughly two decades later. It is now available in nearly 90 million households in the U.S. alone. The documentary originally debuted at the Doc NYC Festival in November 2018. It isn't clear how much has changed since the movie debuted but, for whatever reason, it took some time to secure distribution. But this would seem to be a case of better late than never. The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story arrives on demand on November 17 from Gravitas Ventures. Be sure to check out the new trailer for yourself.

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New Trailer for 'The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story' Doc Film

"You can't. Do that. on TV." Gravitas has released an official trailer for the documentary titled The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, which has been in the works for years. We first featured a teaser trailer for this back in 2017, after it was successfully funded on Indiegogo in 2016, but it has taken another three years for it to finally get a release. The Orange Years chronicles the rise of Nickelodeon, with the actors, writers, and creators from all the golden age Nickelodeon shows that shaped your lives. It's wild. It’s crazy. It changed the world. The film profiles Geraldine Laybourne, the visionary who turned the company into an $8 billion success, focusing on her "kids first" strategy. "More than just a history lesson or a 'where are they now?' special, the doc explores the network's revolutionary approach to storytelling, the impact it had on a generation of youth, and [tries] to find out of why these shows have stayed in the hearts of so many people."

Official trailer for Barber & Sweeney's doc The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, on YouTube [above]

For millions of children and adults, the Nickelodeon Network is synonymous with growing up. In just a few years, the channel grew from a small local channel to an international phenomenon that helped shape a generation. Led by trailblazing visionary Geraldine Laybourne and her commitment to putting kids first, a group of unconventional heroes turned an underdog channel into an $8 billion dollar juggernaut as the golden standard for children's programming. The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story is co-directed by filmmakers Scott Barber & Adam Sweeney, both making their directorial debut after various industry work previously. The project was successfully funded on Indiegogo in 2016. It hasn't premiered at any festivals or elsewhere, as far as we know. Gravitas will debut The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story direct-to-VOD starting on November 17th this fall. For more info, visit the film's official website. Curious?

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From Mic:

The Nickelodeon documentary looks like nostalgic, slime-filled perfection


Get ready for a nostalgia trip. A new documentary, The Orange Years, is charting the rise of Nickelodeon in the 1990s and celebrating a network that shaped youth culture as significantly as MTV changed music in the 1980s. With its profusion of green slime and gently subversive programming, Nickelodeon in its heyday was required after-school viewing for many millennials. As actress Larisa Oleynik (The Secret World of Alex Mack) puts it in the trailer: “It didn’t feel like the version of what an adult was telling a kid to watch. It felt, like, really what kids were into.”

The Orange Years features reminiscences from tons of former (and current) Nickelodeon stars, including Kenan and Kel Thompson, Melissa Joan Hart, and the guy who voices Spongebob Squarepants (Tom Kenny). It also looks like it’ll be full of nostalgia-stoking clips of old shows like Rugrats, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and All That.

“Nickelodeon, if you want to know about it, it’s a kid-owned environment,” Kenan Thompson notes in the trailer. To that point, it seems like the documentary will celebrate Nickelodeon’s naughty side. It’s stuffed with soundbites from former network executives and showrunners, who gleefully reminisce about the “insane” stuff they “got away with” at “the anti-Disney.”

As the trailer goes on to point out, Nickelodeon’s popularity in the mid-90s stemmed from its refusal to pander to kids. The goal was to give them entertainment that felt true-to-life and made them laugh. The rise of the network also coincided with significant cultural shifts in America: “Mothers were going to work for the first time, divorce rates were high, kids were either coming home alone or in after school programs — they needed a place where they could just be kids,” Nickelodeon’s longtime chief, Geraldine Laybourne, explains in the film.

Those once-young viewers are now dealing with the trials and tribulations of adulthood. But The Orange Years seems like a welcome throwback to the halcyon days of the 90s. You better bet we’ll have Dunkaroos and Squeezit on hand when the documentary hits on-demand services on November 17.

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From ComicBook:

Nickelodeon Documentary The Orange Years Gets Official Trailer

Children of a certain generation were blessed with a life growing up when Nickelodeon was in its heyday. Live-action shows like All That, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and Salute Your Shorts; demented game shows like Double Dare, Wild & Crazy Kids, and Guts; and absurd cartoons like The Ren & Stimpy Show and Rocko's Modern Life were on frequent rotation and made exclusively for young minds, who absorbed it like a sponge. A new documentary about how this type of programming was able to make it onto the air and even thrive is on the way with Gravitas Ventures revealed the full trailer for The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story which you can find below.

Set to be released on November 17, the film is directed by Scott Barber & Adam Sweeney and features interviews with former Nickelodeon actors including Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell (All That, Kenan & Kel, Good Burger), Danny Tamberelli and Mike Maronna (The Adventures of Pete & Pete), Michael Bower (Salute Your Shorts), Phil Moore (Nick Arcade), Kirk Fogg (Legends of the Hidden Temple), Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains It All), Christine McGlade (You Can’t Do That on Television), Christine Taylor (Hey Dude), Marc Summers (Double Dare), and Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants, Rocko's Modern Life).

The official synopsis for the film reads: "For millions of children and adults, the Nickelodeon Network is synonymous with growing up. In just a few years, the channel grew from a small local channel to an international phenomenon that helped shape a generation. Led by trailblazing visionary Geraldine Laybourne and her commitment to putting kids first, a group of unconventional heroes turned an underdog channel into an $8 billion dollar juggernaut as the golden standard for children’s programming."

"The Orange Years chronicles the rise of Nickelodeon, with the actors, writers, and creators from all the golden age Nickelodeon shows that shaped your lives. It’s wild. It’s crazy. It changed the world."

In a post on their IndieGoGo campaign for the film, which has been steadily updated for years at this point, directors Scott Barber & Adam Sweeney wrote: "It's unbelievably relieving and rewarding to finally announce this release to the world, and your support means more to us than we could ever possibly express. So thank you for all you've done to encourage us and help tell this story."

Are you planning to check out The Orange Years when it's released? Sound off with your favorite classic Nickelodeon show in the comments below.

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New Documentary The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story Tunes in to the Channel That Changed TV

Shorts, Dudes, and Good Burgers

(Courtesy of The Orange Years)

What's your favorite Nickelodeon memory? Is it the raw surrealism of Rocko's Modern Life? The utter chaos of Double Dare? Wishing you could spend your summers at Camp Anawanna? Gak?

For Scott Barber and Adam Sweeney, it's that the pioneering cable channel for kids kept their friendship together at a low point in their lives. Sweeney remembers it clearly: They were school kids having a sleepover at Barber's place, and it was such fun that he called his mom to ask if they could do it again that night. "I got off the phone and had a really sad look on my face. Scott's like, 'What, it didn't work? That's OK, we can hang out next week.' I was like, yeah, I can't spend the night, but also my family's getting a divorce today. I'm moving. Immediately." Before social media, he noted, just moving 30 minutes from your old life was like moving to Siberia. "The way we stayed friends was that we would watch Nickelodeon together and call each other."

Fast-forward to 2016, and both men – still lifelong friends, even with Barber in Conroe and Sweeney in Austin – were working in the Texas film industry. Barber proposed doing a documentary together, and they both immediately went to their shared love of Nickelodeon. Sweeney said, "We really started doing the research, and that's when we found the story."

That story is contained in their new documentary, The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, about how an educational kids' shows called Pinwheel, on an innovative interactive cable network in Ohio called QUBE, became a phenomenon that reshaped kids' television and pop culture. It focuses most especially on what Sweeney called "the Geraldine Laybourne years." Nickelodeon launched in 1979, and Laybourne joined the team as programming manager in 1980 as one of only five employees. By 1984, she was network president, and when she left in 1996 Nick was an $8 billion global TV titan.

But what really mattered with Laybourne was not revenue, and finding her impact was what convinced the pair that this was the film they wanted to make. "From the very beginning," Barber said, "we were very adamant about not just making a nostalgia piece." Instead, The Orange Years became about how Laybourne and her team threw out the rule book on kids' TV. "All you have to do is watch The Mickey Mouse Club and Salute Your Shorts, and it's night and day."

The documentary is filled with interviews, and even household names like Clarissa Explains It All star Melissa Joan Hart or behind-the-camera forces Hey Dude writers and future TV producers Lisa Melamed (Scoundrels, The 4400) and Graham Yost (Justified) signed up to talk about the channel that changed their lives. Barber said, "Everyone was excited to do this, which shows how powerful it was, not just in our lives, but in their careers as well."

Of course, the re­search process meant that Barber and Sweeney also got to watch, and hunt for, a huge amount of old shows. Sweeney said, "Scott would be messaging random people on YouTube," looking for the highest resolution source footage available. They even found a cache of those distinctive lurid orange VHS tapes on the shelves of Vulcan Video, including old episodes of The Adventures of Pete & Pete and Are You Afraid of the Dark? that had seemingly never been digitized. "That speaks to the power of physical media," said Sweeney.

In the process, they uncovered an incredible archive of forgotten moments, like the Nick News Special Edition when basketball legend Magic Johnson explained his HIV diagnosis to a group of kids, or when Saturday Night Live legend Chris Farley dropped by sketch show All That and did a scene with future SNL MVP Kenan Thompson. "That was a cool scene to put in," said Barber.

Kenan Thompson in The Orange Years (Courtesy of The Orange Years)

Sweeney described that sequence as both a joy to find and a memorable part of filming. "If you want to talk about someone who basked in the messiness and the noise, that was Chris Farley. He's the master of the pratfall, he's the master of slapstick, and [you're] getting to see Kenan Thompson learning as he went. ... You could tell, when Kenan spoke to us, that he had so much reverence for Chris."

But what really came out of that research was uncovering the programming philosophy that Laybourne set out. She got into TV because she was concerned about what her kids were watching, and she always worked from one principle: Don't tell kids what they want, but listen to what they tell you they need. Because of that ethos, the network would take wild risks. Take their animation division: The network rejected buying in animated shows based on toys and instead developed in-house projects that reflected their programming aesthetic. End result? Their first three shows were Doug, Ren and Stimpy, and Rugrats, all game-changing in their own way and emulated to this day in shows like Steven Universe and Adventure Time. For the Nick creatives and executives, Barber said, "The goal was to make something awesome, as opposed to the goal ... to just sell toys."

As Sweeney explained, the programming did the same for kids' TV as Blumhouse has done for independent horror: "They allow their creators to take risks." (Moreover, much like Blumhouse, the programs were often diverse without making a huge deal of it.) He described those three cartoons as busting the tropes of animated TV at the time – of 22 minutes of explosions, reused footage, and a clumsy moral at the end, all built around commercial breaks. "Take a look at Doug," he said. "He has antagonists, he gets bullied a bit by Roger, but more or less he lives a pretty normal life, which is what a lot of kids can relate to."

For Barber, it was always about explaining the method to the madness and that none of this would have happened if it wasn't for Laybourne deciding to push the envelope at every turn. So while viewers may tune in for the slime (and that's never in short supply), it's also a tribute to the team that thought slime made for great TV. Barber said, "Most people, if you go, 'Hey, do you remember Hey Dude, do you remember Salute Your Shorts, do you remember Double Dare?' they go, 'Oh, yeah, I love those shows.' But if you say, 'What do you think about the work of Geraldine Laybourne?' they might go, 'I'm not familiar.' So that was our goal, to highlight the behind-the-scenes."

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story splats into your life on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD on Nov. 17.

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From io9:

The Nickelodeon Documentary Was a Journey for Best Friends

Nickelodeon, including its stores, are the subject of an excellent new documentary. Photo: Gravitas Ventures.

Two friends who grew up watching Nickelodeon together have made what might be the definitive documentary on the legendary channel’s creation. The movie is called The Orange Years, those friends are directors are Scott Barber and Adam Sweeney, and the film is being released November 17. It documents the creation of the unforgettable kid TV network with interviews from the people who made it and those who starred on the shows that defined it.

“We wanted to tell the story of Nickelodeon. Everything had to serve that purpose,” Barber told io9. “So if we told a B story about one of the shows, we knew it had to serve the purpose of telling the overall Nickelodeon story...So any time they would do a new type of show, we would kind of focus on that show. Anything that changed the game got its moment in the sun.”

As such, the documentary spends time on shows like You Can’t Do That on Television, Double Dare, Clarissa Explains It All, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy, and so many others. Shows that, if you grew up in the 1980s or 1990s, were your everything.

An archive image of Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios Florida. It plays a huge role in the film. Photo: Gravitas Ventures.

That’s how both Barber and Sweeney felt too. The two met in fifth grade at a small school outside of Houston, Texas, and instantly became best friends. Family circumstances forced Sweeney to move away, though, so the two kept up their friendship through a love of Nickelodeon.

“[At that time], if you moved away, you really had very few resources to be able to connect,” Sweeney said. “So one of the ways we stayed friends is that we would call each other on the phone and watch Snick and Are You Afraid Of the Dark and The Adventures of Pete and Pete, all of these wonderful shows.”

Decades later, the friends starting making films together and were trying to come up with ideas for a new one. One idea they kept coming back to was that TV channel that helped them stay friends all those years ago. Then they had a revelation. “Once we decided that we wanted to focus on Nickelodeon, we did some research and we were kind of dumbfounded that nobody had done a documentary about it yet,” Sweeney said.

Producer Shawn Cauthen and directors Scott Barber and Adam Sweeney with current SNL cast member, and former Nick star, Kenan Thompson. Photo: Gravitas Ventures.

So in 2016 they started crowdfunding on Indiegogo, raised over $16,000, and got to work on making what they hoped would be a documentary worthy of its subject. “We did a ton of research because we knew from the very beginning that for us to do this was a huge responsibility, because this meant a lot to people,” Barber said. From their research, the filmmakers had a good idea of the story they wanted to tell and began reaching out to the people would could tell it. Surprisingly enough, they found that process easier than they anticipated.

“A lot of times people want to be viewed as an adult actor, not as as a kid actor, They don’t want to get typecast. They don’t want to live in the past,” Barber said. “And we were actually shocked at the fact that we never ran into that. Like everybody was excited to talk about Nickelodeon.”

Executive Geraldine Laybourne is given all the credit for turning Nick into what it became. Photo: Gravitas Ventures.

The Orange Years has basically everyone you can think of that you’d want to hear from: stars like Kenan Thompson, Christine Taylor, Melissa Joan Hart, Larisa Oleynik, and Danny Cooksey, as well as hosts and creators like Marc Summers, Tom Kenny, and Graham Yost, just to name a few. (Because you’re wondering, as everyone does, Barber and Sweeney did reach out to Alanis Morissette’s people because she was on You Can’t Do That On Television but never heard back.) During all those interviews, something very important came to the forefront that changed the nature of the film.

There’s no Nick doc without this guy. Photo: Gravitas Ventures.

“When we found the story of Geraldine Laybourne and her amazing crew, that’s when we knew we had something really special. Something that wasn’t just empty calories,” Sweeney said.

Laybourne is one of the people considered primarily responsible from turning Nickelodeon from a station without an identity, into the landmark creative place it eventually became. Through interviews with her, as well as her colleagues, the filmmakers uncovered incredible stories of how Laybourne and fellow executives went into schools to talk to kids. How seamlessly, especially for the time, diversity became a part of all the shows, and how the talented, creative people she hired went on to run companies like Disney, PBS, and more.

Framing the movie as both the story of Nickelodeon and Laybourne’s genius gave the movie its drive. It also meant lots of fan-favorite shows like Guts, Roundhouse, Finders Keepers, and others don’t get much time in the spotlight. However, if there was a show that didn’t get its own little segment, the filmmakers were sure to feature it in the mountains of footage needed to put the film together.

Almost everyone was game to talk about their time on Nickelodeon. Photo: Gravitas Ventures.

“We got footage from anywhere and everywhere,” Barber said. They bought tapes off eBay, went to old video stores, contacted random people online, and asked everyone they interviewed if they had any old footage. One person, in particular, Scott Webb, was a huge help. Webb made all of the old-school Nickelodeon bumpers and provided the filmmakers with a huge collection of stuff that had largely been forgotten in time.

Though most of the history of Nickelodeon is positive, a piece of that story that surfaced during production was not. As Barber and Sweeney were completing editing on The Orange Years, news broke of sexual misconduct allegations against Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi. As one would expect, Ren and Stimpy plays a large part in the film as the show played a crucial part of Nick’s development. Tough choices had to be made.

“We were very mindful of how we approached [Ren and Stimpy],” Sweeney said. “We spoke to people that were involved to make sure that we had their blessing in order to move forward with that piece.”

“We just shifted,” Barber added. “We said we can’t just skip over it and pretend like it didn’t happen because there was all these other amazing people. So the way we handled it is we chose to mention all of the other amazing people that came from that show”

Watching The Orange Years you’ll realize a lot of amazing people came from Nickelodeon. Seeing all the old footage, hearing all the old stories, learning about how it all came together, the film is a delightful trip down memory lane. It’ll have you singing the Salute Your Shorts theme song, laughing at the absurdity that was Hey Dude, and freaking out when you’re reminded of things you haven’t seen or heard in years.

“This is the perfect timing for a movie about community, positivity, hope and empathy for other people to be released,” Sweeney said. “And so [releasing it now] became a happy accident. But I think in some ways that’s kind of reflective of the origins of Nickelodeon. If everyone can just come together and listen and respect and value other people, which was really the message of Nickelodeon as a whole, then I think that gives us the north star to look forward to.”

Your north star is watching The Orange Years, which is available digitally and on Blu-ray on November 17.

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From Yahoo! News:

STREAM IT: Relive your childhood with the not ready for slime-time Nickelodeon documentary The Orange Years

Nickelodeon remains a popular destination for the 13-and-under TV audience, but there’s no question that the network’s glory days were during The Orange Years of the ‘80s and ‘90s. That’s when games shows like Double Dare and Nick Arcade, series like Clarissa Explains It All and Are You Afraid of the Dark? and cartoon shows like Doug and Rugrats had millions of Gen Xers and Millennials glued to their televisions after school and on weekends. Directors Scott Barber and Adam Sweeney chronicle that slime-tastic era in a new documentary that’s guaranteed to push all of your nostalgia buttons. Featuring new interviews with former Nickelodeon executives, show creators and stars — including Kenan Thompson and Melissa Joan Hart — as well as a treasure trove of vintage clips and behind-the-scenes footage, The Orange Years is an unabashed “play the hits” celebration of Nickelodeon’s past that only glancingly addresses some of the mistakes made along the way. (Most glaringly, the filmmakers completely elide the disturbing history of Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi.) Clarissa Darling stans will definitely want to watch this exclusive clip that features Hart discussing the show’s groundbreaking legacy, and showcases some choice early ‘90s technology and fashions. — Ethan Alter

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story is available Tuesday, Nov. 17 via on-demand services including iTunes, FandangoNOW and Redbox.


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From Nerdist:

THE ORANGE YEARS Is a Doc for Nickelodeon’s Biggest Fans

Judged purely as a documentary, The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story is, at best, okay. It’s not an in-depth examination of the kid network’s rise and glory days; it’s a glowing tribute about a place where apparently nothing bad ever happened. The film moves through coverage of the network’s shows so quickly that it feels like it was culled together from a much larger ten-part series. But to only judge the film as a documentary is to ignore what it wants to be and is.


The Orange Years is a love letter to a network that meant a lot to children at a time when there was nothing else like it. It’s an emotional look back that will hit ’90s kids with a wave of the best kind of nostalgia. The Nickelodeon Story makes clear that the people responsible for bringing the network to television cared about its viewers as much as its viewers cared about the network.

The most interesting, and easily the best documentary elements, of The Orange Years come at the beginning. The film opens with a history of the network’s founding and very early days. That includes footage even the most dedicated and oldest viewers (raises hand) are unlikely to have ever seen before. This segment makes for one of the few times the doc offers up any “warts” about Nickelodeon‘s ascension. After some initial hiccups in finding its footing and voice, it was apparently totally smooth sailing during the ’80s and ’90s.

Did anyone at the network ever screw up or misbehave? Did executives or talent make any huge mistakes or engage in a money-losing endeavor? Not according to The Orange Years. The film focuses overwhelmingly on how Nickelodeon did everything right. Maybe that’s mostly accurate. The network was a behemoth in the truest sense of the word; the doc does a nice job conveying this by examining its popularity, influence, and wide-ranging reach across markets.


But covering at least some of the issues it must have faced at some point would have given the film some balance. This blind spot is most vividly on display during its coverage of the original Nicktoons shows. It omitted any discussion of the serious problems with Ren & Stimpy creator Michael Kricfalusi. When you know that was left out, it makes you wonder what else is being ignored. Addressing problems we don’t know about would make the documentary feel more fleshed out and honest.

But what The Orange Years wants to be—and pulls off—is an emotional ode to a network that meant so much to both its viewers and employees. It celebrates the best of what Nickelodeon was by creating a walk down memory lane via old clips and new interviews with stars, creators, and executives. The film gives a little time to each of Nick’s most important shows from its glory days. You Can’t Do That On Television, Hey Dude!, Pete and Pete, Doug, Rugrats, Double Dare, Clarissa Explains It All, Legends of the Hidden Temple, All That, and many more get a brief moment to shine. We even learn why execs settled on the station’s distinct orange color scheme and get to see those old between-episode vignettes.

Each show that’s explored could get its own 90-minute doc, which is why the film can feel like a montage of the best moments from a much larger docuseries. But that’s not a bad thing. When your favorite team wins a title, no one complains that the celebration DVD doesn’t show every game from the season. You focus on the highlights so you can remember the feeling that year gave you rather than all the details.

And that’s exactly what The Orange Years is. It’s a joyous celebration that had me emotional from start to finish. I don’t know if non-Nickelodeon kids will enjoy watching it as much. This documentary has a very clear, very defined target audience. Which is only fitting. That’s exactly what made Nickelodeon great. It was a network for kids. It knew who it was talking to and gave them what they wanted with respect and care.

But as much as I loved getting to journey back to the shows and performers who genuinely meant so much to me when I was younger, my favorite part of this doc is how it showed me something I never truly appreciated. The people working at Nickelodeon cared about the kids watching. They wanted children to be happy and have something that spoke to them. Nickelodeon loved its viewers and wanted them to be happy.

Those kids are now adults, but The Orange Years succeeds because it does the same thing.

Directed and written by Scott Barber and Adam Sweeney, The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story comes to video on demand November 17.

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From /Film:

‘The Orange Years’ Clip: Nickelodeon Doc Looks Back at the Weirdness of Artie, The Strongest Man in the World


Tomorrow brings the release of The Orange Years, a documentary looking at the influential and strange history of Nickelodeon, dubbed “the cable network for kids.” During the 1990s, some of the weirdest and wildest content arrived on Nickelodeon, and not only would it shape the minds of generations of creators to come, but it changed the landscape of what entertainment for children could be.

We’ve got an exclusive clip from The Orange Years that hones in one of the more odd offerings: The Adventures of Pete & Pete. In the clip, series writer Will McRobb talks about the character Artie, the strongest man…in the world. Watch The Orange Years clip below!

The Orange Years Clip


McRobb talks about Artie’s place in The Adventures of Pete & Pete as the protector of Little Pete and addresses the fact that some people assumed that he didn’t even exist but was merely a figment of the kid’s imagination.

Whether he was real or not, a lot of people thought he was kinda gross since he wore some rather tight red pants that didn’t leave a lot to the imagination, which is even weirder when you’re hanging out with a little kid. Danny Tamberelli, who played Little Pete on the show, specifically remembers his mother not being amused by the wardrobe for Artie.

For those who don’t remember, Artie was played by Toby Huss, who you might remembered from Bedazzled, Rescue Dawn, 42 or the Halloween sequel in 2018. He’s also appeared in many TV shows over the years, including The League, Shameless, Colony, Halt and Catch Fire, GLOW, The Righteous Gemstones, and Dickinson. But even if you don’t recognize Huss, you definitely know his voice, because he was the voice of Cotton Hill and several other characters on King of the Hill.

This is just one example of the kind of oddball humor that Nickelodeon brought to kids, for better or worse. And there are plenty more to be seen in The Orange Years documentary. Read the official synopsis below, and be sure to check out the movie on iTunes starting tomorrow. You can watch the trailer [above].

For millions of children and adults, the Nickelodeon Network is synonymous with growing up. In just a few years, the channel grew from a small local channel to an international phenomenon that helped shape a generation. Led by trailblazing visionary Geraldine Laybourne and her commitment to putting kids first, a group of unconventional heroes turned an underdog channel into an $8 billion dollar juggernaut as the golden standard for children’s programming.The Orange Years chronicles the rise of Nickelodeon, with the actors, writers, and creators from all the golden age Nickelodeon shows that shaped your lives. It’s wild. It’s crazy. It changed the world.

The Orange Years will be available on VOD starting on November 17, 2020. Pre-order it at iTunes right here.

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Originally published: Saturday, August 29, 2020.

Additional source: MovieWeb.

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