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Catherine Winder, CEO & Founder, Wind Sun Sky Entertainment

By June 4th, 2024No Comments23 min read
Home » Catherine Winder, CEO & Founder, Wind Sun Sky Entertainment

Discovery Pod | Catherine Winder | Future Chicken

Get ready for an inspiring dive into the world of multimedia storytelling with a purpose, where we engage kids about environmental issues in a fun and effective way! Meet Catherine Winder, CEO of Wind Sun Sky Entertainment, the creative force behind hit projects like the Angry Birds movies and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Catherine joins us to discuss her latest venture, Future Chicken—a groundbreaking, multi-platform project tackling climate change by empowering kids. It’s not your average eco-lecture though – Potato, a time-traveling chicken, delivers the message through humor, entertainment, and real solutions. Imagine kids learning about climate change through YouTube, Roblox, and educational platforms – that’s the magic of Future Chicken! This innovative “ecotainment” approach aims to strike a balance between environmental honesty and optimism, inspiring a new generation of eco-warriors. Ready to learn more and empower the next generation? Tune in!

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Catherine Winder, CEO & Founder, Wind Sun Sky Entertainment

In this episode, we have Catherine Winder. Catherine is the CEO, Executive Producer, and Founder of Wind Sun Sky Entertainment, a Vancouver-based multimedia production company known for creating captivating story worlds for diverse audiences. Catherine has been in the animation game for a long time and is extremely successful. She was behind the Angry Birds movie and its sequel adapting the popular Angry Birds game for the big screen.

She also worked as an Executive Producer for Lucasfilm’s animation, working directly with George Lucas, adapting, developing, and producing Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Our conversation focuses on her new work as co-creator of Future Chicken, a partnership with the Ontario Water Centre where Catherine is leading a groundbreaking multi-platform digital universe to empower children to address climate concerns.

Our conversation talks about what Future Chicken is, how it developed, and how it’s being deployed. It’s also an interesting blueprint for the social profit sector partnering with a company like Wind Sun Sky Entertainment to tell a broad-based multi-channel story with the purpose behind it that incorporates entertainment. Catherine shares her expertise, vision, and excitement for Future Chicken and the chickens named Potato for what’s coming. It is a great story. It’s something worth checking out. You’re going to enjoy this episode of the show with Catherine Winder.

Welcome to the show, Catherine.

Thank you, Doug. I am excited to be here.

Wind Sun Sky Entertainment

Catherine, I am so excited to have this conversation, the opportunity to learn about Future Chicken and the chance to work with you has been incredible over the last couple of months. For our readers who may be learning about you through the bio, tell us a little bit about what Wind Sun Sky Entertainment is then we’ll lead into who Future Chicken is.

Wind Sun Sky is a multi-platform entertainment company. We’re based in Vancouver. We have team members in Toronto and Los Angeles. What we do is work at the intersection of storytelling and technology to build franchises and brands. We produce in all mediums, including films, shorts, series, live-action, animation, and roadblocks. We’re everywhere. At our core, we love to tell stories in new and creative ways and bring fun and engaging characters to life.

Future Chicken

Future Chicken is a great example of that. As I learned about Future Chicken, I opened Roblox with my twelve-year-old and had Teddy play the game for a while. He said, “This is so fun. Does this mean I can play Roblox whenever I want?”

You said yes.

We did some screen time issues. For the purposes of the show, let’s say I said yes but it’s exciting there. What I’m curious to share with our readers is how you came to learn about Future Chicken and how it connected to the work that you do at Wind Sun Sky Entertainment.

Future Chicken came to us through the Shaw Rocket Fund. The CEO, her name’s Agnes Augustine, is very close friends with the chair and founder of a nonprofit called the Ontario Water Centre, a woman named Annabel Slaight. Annabel is a pioneer in Canadian media and children’s entertainment and publications. She started OWL and Chickadee magazines. She’s dedicated her life to children, the environment, and water. She started Clearwater Farm, which is based North of Toronto.

She was running a workshop with kids at her farm. The farm is all about sustainable regenerative farming. It brings in agri-preneurs and children and works with a climate scientist. They were talking to kids about the environment and how it made them feel. Their concerns these days because there’s so much negative information out there in the media. The kids feel hopeless and helpless. They brainstorm, what could they do to overcome what we call climate doomism?

They’ve been playing with the chicken and they said, “What if we learned about the positive things going on that are impacting the future for the good? Maybe it’s a chicken that comes from the future.” Annabel took that seed of an idea, we say hatched by kids and ran with it. It was talking to Agnes. Agnes had been supporting Wind Sun Sky and a lot of our efforts in the kids’ space that are quite innovative. We work with all sorts of new technologies to tell stories in different ways.

Acknowledging where kids are online, embracing technology, and ultimately, with a goal to get kids in the real world activating. She knew that something like Future Chicken would speak to my heart. She introduced Annabel and I. Annabel pitched the idea of this chicken. We have this technology where our chickens can interview live people. Annabel and Agnes thought, “Maybe, Catherine, you could organize an event with the chicken and they could talk about the climate.” I said, “I could do that, but the challenge is it’s a chicken that no one knows. How do we create something that will connect with a wide audience if we can get the message out about positivity and the environment and good things happening?”

Discovery Pod | Catherine Winder | Future Chicken

Future Chicken: Acknowledging where kids are online, embracing technology, and ultimately, with a goal to get kids in the real world activating.


I said, “Listen, let’s go big or go home.” Look at Sesame Street because Sesame Street several years ago managed to understand how to create impact through entertainment and leveraging the technology of the day, that being the television. We could do the same thing. We could create an ensemble of entertaining characters that can connect to kids, inspire them, and embrace the technology, which is multi-platforms. That’s how Future Chicken came to be.

Future Chicken has a name. What’s Future Chicken’s name?

Future Chicken is named Potato the Chicken. The name Potato came from the kids at the farm. When they were brainstorming, the chicken was eating tons of potato peels. They said, “Why not call the chicken potato?” Kids have great ideas.

Power Of Storytelling

One of the stories or one of the parts of the story that I found fascinating when we first started talking about this project was that it was going to tell the story of Future Chicken in multiple different types of media over an extended period of time. That investment in storytelling is something we see working with clients and partners across the sector. Knowing that storytelling is a way of communicating the impact of the organization’s purpose, introducing an organization to new donors, and making donors who’ve already given feel good about what they’ve done.

What is unique about Future Chicken is that you’re telling it to a generation of children and the donors or prospective donors to it are those who believe that storytelling is important. What advice would you have for social profits who want to experiment with different ways of storytelling, moving beyond what’s on our web page, on Instagram, and what we send in our letters to donors?

In the case of Future Chicken, what we did was we started with the story. We spent a significant amount of time creating, in this case, because we were trying to reach children, an ensemble of characters. As we wrote about the characters, developed them, their world, and their universe, we brought in experts in all sorts of other media extensions to weigh in on our strategy.

We knew that today’s audiences need to be reached on multiple platforms. We needed to provide a combination of content offerings, as you say. Therefore, as we began, we wanted to present ourselves with long-term goals in mind and create a roadmap that was sustainable. We brought in people who were experts in podcasts, gaming, publishing, and educators. Everyone weighed into this initial, what we call a universe Bible that we were developing and gave their perspectives on what was working, and what may not, from along the way.

I find us having different points of view and fresh eyes on what we’re doing helps tell a story that will resonate with multiple audiences. It’s valuable because everybody’s perspective is unique and the lens through which they come to the story you’re telling is going to have all sorts of other factors influencing their response to the material. I suggest that as you prepare your strategy, again, bring in different perspectives early on so that you’re thinking long-term versus short-term. I need to get X out to start.

Everybody’s perspective is unique and the lens through which they come to the story you’re telling is going to have all sorts of other factors influencing their response to the material. Click To Tweet

Optimism And Honesty

One of the most compelling pieces of the Future Chicken universe is the balance that you’re able to find between the honesty of the situation, the optimism for what can be done, and balanced with the dire consequences of complacency. Not an easy balance to strike. Talk a little bit about how you found that balance because it seems like you’ve hit the right note.

Thank you. It is not easy. Our goal is to counter climate doomism and use positivity and humor. We spent a lot of time bringing in a focus group and researchers to help us strike the right balance. What’s missing in the industry and the market marketplace when it comes to climate content? The truth is, there was a real white space when it came to humor and comedy and the need for parents and educators to be in a position to communicate in a way to talk about these tough subjects and in ways that can inspire kids and not create fear.

Working with the OWC, our nonprofit that’s educational charity, they created and assembled a very innovative group of educators who worked with us as we developed the content to tell evidence-based stories and experiences that included solutions but with entertainment and fun forward and light touch organic learnings are woven in such a way that it didn’t feel too heavy. Rather kids and anybody watching the content could enjoy it. The learnings came in a way that wasn’t pushed.

I’m sure finding that balance had some making sure that it was humor and play forward. You can tell a funny story. A chicken named Potato is going to be funny pretty much whatever you do. Working in that educational message as a light touch. I’m sure it was quite a challenge or quite a process to arrive at the right point. It took us a while to figure out how to work together because we’ve never done this and it’s very common to have that.

There’s a little natural friction between entertainment and education and finding as you say the right balance but we collaborated up front. We learned that as we were creating a piece of content before we wrote it, we needed to identify what was the learning takeaway that we were looking to achieve. When we understood what that was, we were able to bring our animators, writers, and artists into the process and bring it to life in such a way that the learning, the educational piece was organic again. It didn’t feel like it was something that was in your face.

Very important. I’ve heard you use the phrase eco-tainment to describe what you’re doing. That’s a new class of media and platforms.

Yes, it is. We hope that we are pioneering that. What it is, its educational content merged with environmental storytelling but all done in a fun and playful way.

Discovery Pod | Catherine Winder | Future Chicken

Future Chicken: Ecotainment is educational content merged with environmental storytelling but all done in a fun and playful way.



I’m curious to understand and many of our readers, other than directly reaching out to you and saying, “I’ve got an idea,” which we’re not encouraging. You mentioned working with the social profit partner in Ontario Water Centre, two very different worlds. What you have your team at Wind Sun Sky Entertainment and Ontario Water Centre coming together to collaborate. Tell us a little bit about how that was structured and what some of the early learnings were as you were bringing those two organizations together around this single purpose.

We started at a strong place. We were so aligned in terms of the vision of the mission. That being, creating a global movement of kids around the world with the agency and tools to have a voice in the climate discussion. That was exciting. We also both came at it from the same perspective that we wanted to do it in a fun and entertaining way.

The head of the nonprofit, Annabel Slaight, as I said, came from media and publishing and understood the power of characters. When they connect with children and when kids are laughing, they’re learning. We’re so aligned with the approach we wanted to take. Therefore, we stepped back and said, “How can we best support each other? Where are our strengths?” With Annabel, hers was obviously an education. That’s the team that she put together and ours was in or is in creating, entertaining, compelling characters that are timeless and global.

We focused our efforts then we shared all the way along. Communication is key to success and having lots of proactive communications and healthy debates. It’s never easy when there’s that natural friction, as I mentioned, between education and entertainment and making sure that both needs are met and combining the two. All the way through the writing and the creation, we integrated the UN sustainable development goals to ensure that we gave the content some real depth and foundation that could resonate for teachers and partnerships that we intend to put in place over the coming years as we grow.

Measuring Progress

That beginning with the end in mind, that shared goal is so critically important. One of the things I’ve observed in the sector, sometimes the long-term goal is the most straightforward part. It’s the, “What do we do next?” From your perspective, how were you measuring progress along the journey as Future Chicken was coming to fruition?

There are two phases. The first phase, in terms of progress, was establishing what Future Chicken was and creating a roadmap. We were very fortunate with our philanthropic partner who provided us with the seed resources to take the time and step back, create our character world, but also develop a strategy that would enable us to launch for both the short term and the long term. That was our first phase.

Phase two is we are now live. We’re out in the world and we track KPIs through the analytics that we can receive from being on YouTube and Roblox and how many people are viewing and engaging with our content. Also, success is also measured in the partners that are beginning to sign on with us. Again, very early days, I’d say we’re a nascent brand and almost at the starting gate after we’ve started.

We are creating all sorts of partnerships with CBC. We’ve got the Knowledge Network. We’ve got another kids’ platform called Da Vinci Kids, which is in Europe. We’re on Kahoot! Quiz. We’ve got lots of different partners who are starting to put our brand out there and our characters out there and believe in what we’re doing. All of that combined begins to tell an exciting story about the potential of reaching kids and starting the mission that we’re looking to build.

You have been so successful in other endeavors you’ve taken on. I’m curious what that feeling of, “This is going to work.” How do you know this is starting to move or this is starting to take hold? With your professional experience, what are you looking for? What’s the moment you’re hoping to feel?

I don’t know that there’s one single moment that I will feel that. That said, when I am able to talk to new partners and have them ask how they can get involved and begin to start sharing the content and ways that excite them. They know that their audiences are going to want to see it. It starts to feel like we’re on to something. That’s been, fortunately, what’s been going on for Future Chicken over the last few months.

Now that we’re live and we’re on YouTube, we could point people to the content and they can see it. They love it. It makes them laugh. We’ve had all sorts of schools asked to bring us in and start showing the content to their kids. There’s no one single moment that’s going to say we’ve made it. That said, when this all started, my gut said, “This has potential.” I’ve thrown everything into it because I believe there is a serious need in the world. Not just in Canada, but around the world, for positive climate content.

There is a serious need in the world for positive climate content. Click To Tweet

Kids need to know that there is hope. The response to what we’re doing is a fantastic one. We’ve got many partners coming on, including the CBC, Knowledge Network, Da Vinci Kids, which is in Europe. We’ve got the Vancouver Science World starting to show our material. We’ve got other science centers asking to sign on and multiple seeds planted with many different partnerships and conversations where these different collaborators or potential collaborators see the potential of what we’re doing. They love our content. That continues to energize and validate what we’re doing and inspire that we’re on the right path.

It’s been remarkable to watch the growth of it over the last number of months. The way you’re describing there in terms of the collaborations and the broad sweep of the partners that are going to be promoting and participating with Future Chicken is impressive. It’s a scale that eludes a lot of social profit organizations and a lot of clients. They have a great story to tell but they only have maybe 1 or 2 or 3 channels to do it. why is it so important to start with such a broad scale for telling the Future Chicken story, dealing with and getting some eco-optimism out to a younger generation?

As I mentioned, the reality is that audiences expect multiple touchpoints when it comes to content. For us to cut through, you need to be everywhere, unfortunately, at once. That’s the reality of where the industry is at. Years ago, you could have been on one platform and been able to make an impact. These days, you’ve got to have a strategy through your social media platforms.

Again, depending on what your goals are and what your content is on YouTube and finding those other partners that are going to push out the content and distribute it and create awareness, build momentum, and get the message out there. It’s not easy. It is challenging. You need enough resources to ensure that when you turn the program on, you’re able to continuously deliver your content.

You can’t put out one episode and wait three months?

You used to be able to do that in the old days. Again, the old days aren’t that long ago, but the reality is the world is tectonically shifting and fracturing. Again, the content needs to be everywhere all at once like that movie that won the Oscar a few years ago. It’s not easy for anyone to tell their story. Finding ways to be creative and coming up with stunts, we’re working right now on a kid’s call to action.

There is a group of children at a school in Los Angeles, where these kids started a composting program at their elementary school. It was mentioned in the newspaper. It has fundamentally changed these children’s outlook on the future and shifted the school itself. They’ve composted 5,200 pounds of school waste, and food waste from the cafeteria. The kids have then used the soil to plant school gardens and have used that food to put back into the cafeteria.

They study it in their curriculum. We went to the school because they sent us a video about what we were doing. They sent Potato a video to tell her about the exciting things they’re doing and how it makes them feel. Potato zoomed in from the future and met the kids. These kids talked all about what they’ve learned, and how they see the future and we thought, “What a great idea.”

We’re working on a program where we’re going to go out to organizations and schools around Canada and North America and have kids send us little stories about what’s going well. We can use that to continue the momentum because what we’re doing with Future Chicken, our goal is to reach kids and power kids. This is a kid-led mission. Have kids tell us what they’re up to.

Discovery Pod | Catherine Winder | Future Chicken

Future Chicken: Our goal is to reach kids and empower kids. This is a kid-led mission. We have kids tell us what they’re up to.


Breaking Barriers

I love it. Bringing the voice and kids being able to see other kids like themselves in doing, acting, and contributing to something positive. That’s a very powerful way of telling that story. As you continue to build Future Chicken, one of the questions that I’m always curious about is there are often 1 or 2 significant barriers in our sector in terms of how we break through. How do we connect? How do we raise the money to complete the campaign? How do we tell the story? How do we get Future Chicken on top of everyone’s mind? What are those barriers that you see for Future Chicken? How are you addressing those?

There’s always those barriers. You get into these things and you never think about all those challenges that are going to come your way, but that’s the fun part. That’s the opportunity. The first is funding. Ensuring that we have enough resources to continue creating content, providing opportunities for kids like the one we’re talking about, the call to action, and putting those together, going out to schools.

What we’re doing is working on multiple fronts. We’ve hired someone who is our VP or SVP of brand growth and partnerships. The role of this new executive is to laser focus and bring in collaborative partners with aligned values and goals so that we can work together to create content and opportunities to have kids’ voices be heard in this marketplace. I’m so excited about that role being filled.

We also have been going down the path of working with your company to write grants and philanthropic applications. We’re working with the government. We’re working on multiple fronts because there’s no one specific path that is going to lead you to that final success path. It’s an ongoing creative approach to fundraising. That keeps us very busy.

The other is discoverability which we’ve talked about. How does a new property like this cut through? How do we reach our audience? It’s not just children, but it’s also their gatekeepers, which are parents. Parents need to feel that they can trust Future Chicken. We’re very fortunate with the educational integration into all the content. It is something that you can safely put your kids in front of and feel good about.

There are educators and teachers. They’re desperately looking for content to help them in this discussion and to find exciting inspiring ways to talk to kids about this topic. We’re working on that front with educational experts to bring us into different schools, and platforms and create those bridges and trusts and relationships. Again, we’re on multiple fronts. There are so many different opportunities and needs to ensure that we can bring this mission to fruition the way we see it.

One of the things that’s been so refreshing about having the opportunity to work with you and your colleagues on this project, there’s nothing incremental about what you are doing or describing, on multiple fronts as fast as possible. In our social profit sector, we’re often trying to counter the feeling of scarcity. We don’t have enough. We barely do a little bit more and that’s going to have to be good enough.

People should like it or people should watch Future Chicken because they should. That doesn’t work very well. Certainly, your professional experience and achievements contribute a lot to this but how have you been able to bring that sense of everywhere, everything all at once, moving on multiple fronts very quickly to working with your social profit partner to get as far as you have already?

Working with our partners and our team, there is an inherent passion in everything we do. We aren’t sitting still, as you know. We’re on multiple fronts. We’ve taken a test-and-learn approach to what we’re doing. We bring in multiple points of view. We focus test ongoing. We have a group called Brilliant PR that has access to a base of 12,000 families with whom we’ve been sharing our content and asking for their opinions, both parents and kids.

It’s an ongoing learning experience as we build this brand on multiple platforms because there is no one tried and true tested way of doing this. We’re very much pioneering in this space as we’ve talked about it. We could have waited and ensured that we had all the money to do this and maybe gone out initially with a traditional television series. The truth is if we’d gone down that path. It would have taken us maybe another two years until we were in the market.

We said, “No, this is an urgent issue. We need to get it out there.” We’ve taken this approach where we’re trying different types of content, shorts, longer forms, eleven-minute episodes, shows, and a game. As we go, we read the analytics and we assess the feedback and how it’s resonating or not. We’re consistently changing.

We’re at a stage where we’re stepping back and slowing down on the amount of content we’re producing intentionally because we want to do more testing and figure out, “Now that we’re out there on multiple platforms and fronts, where should we focus more of our efforts? What’s successful and what’s not?” The truth is you’ve got to have tough skin. You can’t take it personally and figure out what kids want, what they like, and what’s exciting them.

On To The Future

You are moving fast on so many fronts. It is so impressive to see. Catherine, what are you looking forward to?

I look forward to the day that Future Chicken becomes a household name synonymous with climate positivity that kids are searching for because they know that it’s going to give them ideas of how they can make a difference. That response and validation are going to energize me to continue moving Future Chicken forward around the globe.

I love it. Before I let you go, tell our readers where they can find Future Chicken and how they can learn more about your project with the Ontario Water Centre. is our website and you can sign up for a newsletter. You can go to our YouTube channel. There are lots of different activities for kids, adults, and educators that can be found, their worksheets, and information on the whole mission. That’s the best place to start and Wind Sun Sky. You can reach us at We have lots of Future Chicken information there and about the kinds of projects that we also work on. We love to partner. We love to help particularly when it comes to mission-driven projects to bring stories to life in all sorts of ways.

You are doing some exceptional work here with Future Chicken. It has been a pleasure to get to know you. I’m so grateful that you took the time to share that story with our readers on the show.

It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for your help and your team’s help. You folks have been amazing.


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