Television and Film

Great Bear Rainforest is a Spirit Bear Entertainment film presented by Seaspan and directed by Ian McAllister (PacificWild.org), produced by Jeff Turner and executive produced by Kyle Washington and Byron Horner. Distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films.

A Magical Environment. Unchanged for 10,000 years…

Journey to a land of grizzlies, coastal wolves, sea otters and the all-white spirit bear — the rarest bear on earth — in the film Great Bear RainforestHidden from the outside world, the Great Bear Rainforest is one of the wildest places left on earth. Found on Canada’s remote Pacific coast, it is the last intact temperate rainforest in the world—a place protected by the region’s indigenous people for millennia. Now, for the first time ever, experience this magical world in IMAX and giant screen theatres, and discover the land of the spirit bear.

What is a Spirit Bear?

The spirit bear is a subspecies of the North American black bear that has white fur due to a rare genetic trait. Spirit bears are only found in the Great Bear Rainforest. No one knows exactly how many spirit bears there are, but estimates range from 50 to 100. They truly are the rarest bears on earth!

Guardians of the Forest

Since the last Ice Age, First Nations people have lived among the bears in the Great Bear Rainforest. Their living history is inseparably connected to the vibrancy of the rainforest, which they have protected for thousands of years. Today, indigenous youth are coming together and taking responsibility for this place they call home. Learn more about their work in Great Bear Rainforest.

For Educators

Invite your students to have a learning experience they won’t forget! Book a field trip to see Great Bear Rainforest and become immersed in the biology, geography, environmental sciences and other key school curriculum. Download the Educator Guide for hands-on activities aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core ELA and Social Studies. Schedule your field trip now by contacting your local IMAX theatre for information about special group programs.

Filming in the Rainforest

Filming in the remote Great Bear Rainforest presented a unique set of challenges for filmmakers Ian McAllister and Jeff Turner. Over the three years it took to make this film, the crew faced everything from extreme weather, unpredictable wildlife, and the daily rigors of being in a rugged environment far removed from modern conveniences. But this also pushed the filmmakers into fresh creative territory where every shot was carefully planned out and new filmmaking techniques were deployed. Learn more in this interview with director Ian McAllister, who has worked and lived in the rainforest for 30 years. Read the Interview with Ian.

Learn more

To learn more about the Great Bear Rainforest and how you can help protect the spirit bears and their ancient forest home, visit PacificWild.org.  Each of us can make a difference in helping preserve this unique environment, one of the last truly wild places on earth.

In this video you can hear from Fellows with the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) first-hand on what conservation photography means to them and why they devote their lives to this effort. They explain the behind-the-scenes work that goes into capturing compelling images.

iLCP supports visual storytellers in a shared mission of furthering environmental and cultural conservation through ethical photography and filmmaking.

iLCP is best known for its Conservation Photography Expeditions that connect local, national or international organizations, our Conservation Partners, with one or more of their Fellows. The objective of these intensive documentary efforts is to produce a body of images that fully captures the threats and opportunities faced by communities whose physical environments, fauna, flora, and/or cultural traditions are in peril from human activity. With their deep and varied skill sets in all areas of science and years of experience working in the field, iLCP Fellow Photographers do far more than simply take pretty pictures. Rather, they capture visual narratives that give compelling evidence of the need to protect these special places. Through their extensive network of media, conservation, and policy contacts, iLCP help amplify our Partners’ existing advocacy campaigns to bring about positive conservation outcomes.

Learn more about iLCP @ conservationphotographers.org

Mental Health Week signifies a growing awareness and interest in fostering new narratives around mental health issues. First held in Australia in 1985, the annual event coincides with World Mental Health Day on October 10th and includes “Mental As”, a collection of stories on mental health issues aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

These documentaries do a fine job of promoting new science and expressing unique perspectives on various conditions from Autism to Alzheimers. Though if I could add anything to their line-up it would be the cultural documentary CRAZYWISE co-directed by photographer-filmmaker Phil Borges. In this program we learn how indigenous cultures encourage exploration of altered states—what emerges is an understanding that ‘reality is relative’ to the individual and the culture.

People with unique sensitivities are offered guidance and respect to empower self discovery and confidence to embrace their differences. This is starkly different from the stigma associated with different states of mind amongst modern society. Shapeshifting and vision quests move beyond concepts of fiction or myth—this film shows how these practices represent an opportunity to master states of heightened awareness and to skilfully navigate new experiences with an open mind.

CRAZYWISE examines the effects of how modern vs traditional cultures approach mental health and what the outcome is for people who are labeled as mentally dysfunctional, disturbed or disabled. What are the consequences of diagnosing and prescribing drugs to treat an illness? Should we consider it a unique form of insight when someone hears voices in their head or experiences hallucinations? Is it better to administer pharmaceuticals to dampen these aberrations or enhance them? The film poses these questions, but also offers audiences a more expansive and inclusive view of mental health. It is a noteworthy omission from ABC’s “Mental As” showcase, one which reveals the mental health costs of limiting our state of mind.

Read our interview with Phil Borges in issue 47.

Phil Borges, a social documentary photographer and filmmaker, has been documenting indigenous cultures for over 25 years. His films and photographs are exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. Phil has hosted television documentaries on indigenous cultures for Discovery and National Geographic. As an experienced lecturer, he has spoken at multiple TED talks. Phil directed 13 short documentaries focusing on gender based issues around the world for UN Women, CARE, ReSurge, joinFITE, Foundation for Women and One Heart. Two recent films include: One Heart in Nepal (2012, 6:39 min), and Ms. Trung (2012, 4:51 min).

CRAZYWISE is available to stream, download or purchase as a DVD. You can also attend or host a community screening, details @ crazywisefilm.com

“The Wild North East”, produced by SCOTLAND: The Big Picture on behalf of the North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership, offers a refreshing view of this iconic landscape.

This innovative take on documentary, succeeds in broadening both the appeal and perspective of the film. Delighting viewers with hidden gems of the highlands brought vividly to life for all to discover.

SCOTLAND: The Big Picture produces compelling visual media that promotes the benefits of a wilder Scotland for people and wildlife. Our team of photographers, filmmakers, writers, designers and educators are all motivated by the need to rebuild healthy ecosystems across Scotland. We work as a Social Enterprise, on a non-profit basis, meaning that any financial surplus is ploughed back into projects that help promote the case for a wilder Scotland.

BE part of the Big Picture #ThinkLikeAMountain.

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Wildscreen is the world’s leading international festival celebrating and advancing storytelling about the natural world.

For over 30 years our prestigious biennial Festival has been convening and celebrating the world’s best natural world storytellers.

Through collaboration with our ever-growing community of filmmakers, photographers, broadcasters, technologists and conservation organisations we aim to transform the craft of natural world storytelling across platforms and across audiences, ensuring as many people as possible experience the natural world, feel part of it and want to help protect it.

FESTIVAL PASSES ON SALE NOW @ wildscreen.org