• Bear 71 (2012) - National Film Board of Canada

    “Jeremy Mendes and Leanne Allison’s poignant interactive documentary about a bear in the Canadian Rockies illuminates the way humans engage with wildlife in the age of networks, satellites, and digital surveillance. Audiences from around the world can use their smartphones to become part of an interactive forest environment rich with bears, cougars, sheep, deer, and people as they follow an emotional story of a grizzly bear tagged and monitored by Banff National Park rangers”. (Sundance Film Festival)


    MAC02_DOCSMERGE_wide“The main part of the project consists of an interactive web documentary … which introduces viewers to Bear 71 and then drops them into an interactive map of the Park, where they encounter other wired creatures that live in Bear 71′s home range … The animals’ movements can be seen as they move about the park, and clicking on their markers reveals a video feed and information about the animal … While exploring the interactive map, the story continues from Bear 71′s point of view as she describes life for herself, her cubs, and the other resident animals, narrated by Mia Kirshner (The L Word, 24) … There’s an additional social networking layer to the story, centered around @iambear71 on Twitter, a Tumblr blog, and a microsite where visitors can role play as one of Banff’s wired wild animals … The highlight of the project is the art installation, which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier in Park City, Utah … Co-created by Lance Weiler (Pandemic 1.0), the installation has a large screen which shows surveillance videos of the wired animals alongside viewers of the website …  (WIRED, Michael Anderson, Celina Beach, 2012)

    bear71_detail2“One of the most dramatic aspects of BEAR 71 is the fact that it is a linear story, with non-linear elements. You listen to this amazing narrative, but the browsing and viewing experience is in your control. Like a video game, you can decide which way you want to go. If this is your first time with an interactive documentary, or you are tech-phobic, you are still on safe ground. The gripping narrative will keep you hooked. You do have a choice, though, of exploring different aspects of the Banff National Park, just as Bear 71 used to. You can choose to navigate in any direction you want, and you can see the surveillance footage of the different animals in the wild. (PBS – POV,  Jaya Mahajan, 2013)


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