The remarkable thing about 'Bears' is that it’s easy to forget that, yes, human beings had to shoot this intimate footage. It just all seems so personal, and it doesn’t seem possible that any of what we’re watching on screen could happen with the presence of humans anywhere nearby.
Filmed in the summer of 2013, 'Bears' tells the story of Skye, a mother of two young cubs – Scout and Amber – and her efforts to keep those two cubs alive over the course of a year. We are told (by the narrator, John C. Reilly) that many cubs do not live to see their first birthday, then we see why, as Scout and Amber are endangered by wolves, other hungry bears, and the natural elements of their surroundings.
But how in the world is this footage obtained? This isn’t just, “look, here’s a bear” – 'Bears,' instead, tells a narrative where the footage is purposely made to feel personal, and that the animals we are watching become actual characters. We spoke to co-director Alastair Fothergill, who explains how this process unfolds and how far he and his co-director Keith Scholey would stay with this project if, let’s say, the worst were to happen to one of the extremely cute animals we are so invested in watching.