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Gary is a grizzly bear is a film and photo book about wild brown bears and the people who live and work in the same forest in Canada.
37 backers pledged £6,501 to help bring this project to life.

About

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For the last 5 years I have been lucky enough to find a place where I could document the experiences of people who live and work alongside brown bears in British Columbia. At the same time I have made observations of and recorded almost 60 bears living in the area. Gary is a grizzly bear tells the remarkable story of bears and humans living alongside each other in British Columbia, Canada. 

Portrait of Amber 2015
Portrait of Amber 2015

 Book

The book is a collection of essays on bears and humans, charting the story of bears and people through the centuries it culminates right here and now making a case for a future where humans and bears can once again live alongside each other. The book also showcases my best bear portraits with around 50 bears catalogued, their individual characters will come across in the photo and their life history charted in the text. Using images collected through the year I will also include information about brown bear ecology for general interest. 

This collection of bear stories also recounts a personal tale of learning to live with bears without fear. The book offers a fresh, optimistic and realistic example of how we can live with other species in the future.

Gary as a yearling 2012
Gary as a yearling 2012

Film

The film draws out the human narrative from several contributors who have been interviewed for the film. Drawing on a pool of thousands of recorded hours of bear observations and personal experiences with bears. The film will bring together footage shot on a collection of DSLR, GoPro and trail cameras. All HD footage will show bears as they appear to us in the wild, with real sound recorded in the field. 

Much of the footage will be used to visually narrate the stories being told. My storytellers are a collection of people who, like me, have come to know a different version of bears through their experiences of them than what they are fed by the media at large. They are a passionate group of individuals who bring together a wide assortment of bear experiences that tell a very similar tale: it is possible to live with bears in your backyard if you think carefully about how you are living.

I believe that these attitudes and beliefs are not only important to our own and other species survival going forwards, they are essential. All to often we read stories about people and bears that have come into conflict, they are important stories because they act as a caution for what may happen if we behave in the wrong way, but they feed our subconscious with negative images of bears. If all we have ever heard about bears is negative before we meet one in the woods, chances are little will go right when we do meet a bear. 

If we have heard from those who manage to live, work and move around bear country without negative encounters, without drama and with a remarkable and awe-inspiring message of coexistence then maybe we can hope to improve the outcome of chance encounters. Stories of an-others experiences help us learn; images uphold those tales and solidify them in our minds. It is the aim of this film to recount this narrative for all to understand.

A bear and her cubs sleeping after nursing just a few meters away
A bear and her cubs sleeping after nursing just a few meters away

I would like to make the film available to as broad an audience as possible to make it free if possible. The cost of DVD production will be low and packaging will be minimal. It is the cost of editing and reworking the film that I am looking to cover. 

The Goal set for this Kickstarter is the lowest budget to make the work achievable. Exceeding that goal will only give me more opportunity to make the book better and the film even better. 

My target budget at the low end (£6500) will allow editing to take place over a 4-5 month period. It will cover the cost of fulfilment of all pledges and the fees charged by Kickstarter and credit card processing. A Pledge from you (depending on what you choose as a reward) will secure one of the limited run of books in the first edition. To print a larger run of books I will need to double the budget, which is why I have chosen to publish to those that would like a copy of the book and film now.

If I exceed the budget set it may give me the opportunity to work with a publisher and have a larger run of books printed. 

£6,500 - As described above

£7,500 - Original Soundtrack 

£10,000 + - Every Pledge over £30 receives bonus postcard pack

£12,000 + - All books printed Hardback, with special edition print for Higher Pledges

Thank you for you your support 

John

Risks and challenges

The major challenge for this project is and always has been funding. This is why I have decided to try Kickstarter. My project is very close to completion but I'm struggling to get over the last few hurdles due to lack of funds. The book is almost written, I have a few areas to improve and edit and will be formatting some text to work better in the book. Most of the photos are taken and edited, although I do have one more chance for photo's before the publication date, which will only enhance the book.

The final hurdle that completion of the book introduces is the cost of publishing. I have decided to self publish as I want to maintain control over content and manage my own production costs, the sale of books will not generate a huge amount of revenue, but the cost to print is high. Without sales guaranteed, through the Kickstarter Pledges, I can't afford to print the book and wait for the money to come back. Which is why I need your help.

The film footage is collected but only half catalogued, I need to spend time checking footage and labelling it so that I can complete my storyline and put the film together. The interviews are collected but need to be transcribed and added to the script. All of the pieces of the puzzle are ready I just need to some time to put them together. There is a possibility that editing and final production could over run on the film side by a few weeks, that said I am confident and realistic in my timeline for completion.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About US$ 13

    Film Credit

    A big thank you and your name will feature in the credits for the film.

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    Pledge £25 or more About US$ 32

    Screen Saver

    You will receive a Gary is a Grizzly Bear screen saver via email or Dropbox for personal use.
    Your name will appear in the credits for the film.

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    Pledge £30 or more About $38

    DVD

    Priority first copy of DVD
    Credits in the film
    Thank you

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    Pledge £50 or more About $63

    A3 Print of Bella, Ursa or Lenore

    You will receive and unmounted A3 print of the bear of your choice from Bella, Ursa or Lenore.

    DVD of completed film.

    Your name will appear in the credits for the film.

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    Pledge £50 or more About $63

    Softcover Copy of the Book

    First edition of the book "Gary is a Grizzly Bear," softcover.
    DVD copy of the film.
    Your name will appear in the credits of the film.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £80 or more About $101

    Hardcover First Print

    Hardcover copy of the book.
    Name in the credits of the film.
    DVD of the film.

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    Pledge £100 or more About $127

    Amber Print And Book

    An A3 print of Amber from the cover of the book and a print of Amber as a cub.
    DVD copy of the film.
    A softcover copy of "Gary is a Grizzly Bear"
    Your name will appear in the credits of the film.
    Your name will be published in the Acknowledgments of every book printed.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $190

    Amber Print And Book

    An A3 print of Amber from the cover of the book and a print of Amber as a cub.
    A hardcover copy of "Gary is a Grizzly Bear"
    DVD copy of the film
    Your name will appear in the credits of the film.
    Your name will be published in the Acknowledgments of every book printed.

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    Pledge £300 or more About $380

    Film Dedication And Hardcover Book

    A short film 2-3 minutes in length on the www.youmebear.com dedicated to you or somebody of your choosing.
    A Hardcover copy of "Gary is a Grizzly Bear"
    Your name will be published in the Acknowledgments of every book printed.
    DVD Copy of the final film.

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    Pledge £500 or more About $633

    Name a Bear

    Dedication at start of the book
    A bear named by you
    A3 Portrait of your bear
    DVD copy of the film
    Hardcopy of the book

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About $633

    Associate Producer Bear

    Associate Producer in credits of the film
    Dedication at start of the book.
    3x A3 portrait of my favourirte images from the book.
    Hardcover copy of the first edition of the book and DVD copy of the film.

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Funding period

- (60 days)