10 Questions with Mitch Azaria, the Executive Producer of Good Earth Productions Inc

TRIPPING The French River: The TVO Tripping paddlers portaging rapids on the lower French River.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

TRIPPING The French River: The TVO Tripping paddlers portaging rapids on the lower French River. Image: TVO Original

Reading Time: 3 minutes

10 Questions with Mitch Azaria, the Executive Producer of Good Earth Productions Inc.

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story with our readers. Can you tell our audience a bit about yourself? 

I am a father of two terrific daughters and I have a one-year old granddaughter. I love the outdoors and have been fortunate to have produced over 100 documentaries in wild spaces over thirty years. 

  1. You started an independent production company called Good Earth Productions Inc. thirty years ago; tell us about the types of documentaries you broadcast. 

My wife, Andrea, and I started the company in our dining room. Our first series was for Discovery Channel. It was called Great Canadian Parks. It ran for five seasons and won numerous awards. And, with the help of credit cards, we produced it all from the dining room. We then produced a series for History Television called Historylands. We’ve also done one-offs on Scrabble and Alzheimer’s. And a 13-part reality series based on a tropical island. So, we’re diverse producers. Although our soul is in the out of doors.

  1. Your newest project is the TRIPPING series. What are they about, and what inspired you to create them? 

When we were making some of our documentaries for Discovery Channel, we always talked about -what if we could let the viewer see what we see–. Then, TVOntario asked us to come up with an idea for a “different” kind of documentary that could run for more than an hour and let Ontarians see their province. We came up with the concept for Tripping. It is immersive, we take viewers on a non-stop, three-hour trip to somewhere fascinating in Ontario. There are no commercials, no music and no narration. The documentary feels like one continuous shot. We have over 100 pop up Information Boards and numerous 3D animations that enrich what the viewer is experiencing.  

  1. The newest instalment of this series is “TRIPPING The French River”, which is out on April 21. What is the significance of this river and destination? 

It’s the first Canadian Heritage River. It is part of that great watercourse link that connects the St. Lawrence River (Atlantic Ocean) to the Great Lakes. It’s a gorgeous river that sometime looks like a beautiful lake and other times like a narrow steep gorge. It’s been travelled by aboriginal people for millennia and more recently by voyageurs who paddled the river for decades. 

  1. This instalment is filmed on a canoe; why did you decide to film the documentary from this perspective? 

The canoe has been used on the French River since the First Peoples created that perfect craft to move through the land. It also shaped the boundaries of Canada. It was the canoe on the French River that helped those first explorers map the interior of the country. Canadians have a deep affinity to the canoe, it’s as if it is our birthright to be able to paddle. It is a peaceful, respectful way to travel on a river.

TRIPPING The French River: The TVO Tripping paddlers entering Georgian Bay from the French River.
TRIPPING The French River: The TVO Tripping paddlers entering Georgian Bay from the French River. Image: TVO Original
  1. What is something you learnt about the environment that you didn’t expect? 

I learned that if you’re lost on the French River, look at the trees. The wind comes mostly from the west, so the direction a tree leans is your eastern compass point. A conifer tree is conical so that it can shed snow in the winter. Beavers have three eyelids, the third is transparent so they can see underwater. All of nature is a result of adaptation.

  1. What is your biggest takeaway from your experience filming the TRIPPING series?

My big takeaways are, how great Ontario is. We take our responsibility of filming and recording this province, very seriously. And, viewers have shown us how much they love their province by watching TVO’s Tripping in record numbers.

  1. What do you want viewers to take away when they watch this series? 

I want them to have a deeper appreciation for Ontario and to enjoy themselves. In the hectic world, TVO’s Tripping is a relaxing was to spend a few hours. You get to visit some of Ontario’s most beautiful natural places without leaving your home.

  1. Where’s your next destination for the TRIPPING series? 

If we’re lucky enough to get to make another episode, this province has lots of wonderful places that we’d love to film. However, for now, we’re focused on TVO’s Tripping The French River and getting it ready for air. 

  1. Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers? 

Do you know where the expression ”Mad as a Hatter” comes from? Hint, the phrase is connected to beavers. Watch TVO’s Tripping The French River and find out around the 20 minute mark.

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for exclusive content, original stories, activism awareness, events and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Support Us.

Happy Eco News will always remain free for anyone who needs it. Help us spread the good news about the environment!