Great Bear Rainforest Comes to IMAX Screens

The stewardship and conservation efforts of coastal First Nations are featured throughout the IMAX film Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear. Photo by Jack Plant, Spirit Bear Lodge.

It may be one of the most remote places on the planet, but soon anyone will be able to immerse themselves in the immense beauty, unique wildlife, and incredible cultures of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Great Bear Rainforest: Land of the Spirit Bear, a feature-length documentary premieres in Vancouver on February 12, 2019 and opens to the public in four Canadian cities—Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, and Sudbury—on February 15 (and in Edmonton on September 15).

Marven Robinson and his son, members of Gitga’at First Nation, focus in on a Spirit Bear during the making of Great Bear Rainforest.

The film is narrated by Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, directed by Ian McAllister of Pacific Wild, and created in partnership with a number of First Nations whose territories span the region. The stewardship work of Gitga’at First Nation, Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation, and Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) Nation are all featured in the film.

In a 2017 interview about the film, Dúqva̓ísḷa William Housty of the Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) Nation said, “Conservation-wise, this film will really inspire a lot of people to realize the importance of making sure that places like this region are highlighted and preserved for the future.”

It was essential to involve First Nations in the creation of the film, says director Ian McAllister in an interview about the film:

Chief Councillor Doug Neasloss, and Mercedes Robinson-Neasloss of Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation in a scene from the IMAX film, Great Bear Rainforest.

“It was important to us to talk sincerely with the local communities, so we went to each of them and explained what we were hoping to do with the film and then we took their advice and direction.  We wanted to spotlight real people, especially young people, and real things that are happening in their communities.”

Along with the incredible fauna of the Great Bear Rainforest—like the white Spirit Bear, herring, and the genetically unique coastal wolves—the stewardship endeavours of First Nations are featured throughout the film. As the film’s website says, “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.”

A delegation of Haíłzaqv (Heiltsuk) leaders including elected officials, hereditary, and cultural authorities are travelling to Vancouver to welcome the premiere of the new film.

“We welcome the world to visit our territory through this IMAX experience and to learn more about how they can support our and other indigenous nations around the world in continuing this crucial work,” said elected chief councillor K̓áwáziɫ Marilyn Slett in a media release.

Watch the trailer below: