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Spirit Bear - The Movie - Coming soon!

Spirit Bear Youth Coalition For more than eight years, Simon Jackson has been campaigning on behalf of the white Kermode or 'spirit bear' and their last intact habitat. During this time he has had the good fortune to meet many wonderful people from all walks of life - many of whom have become friends and adamant supporters. However, there are a handful of individuals who have ALWAYS been there for him, as friends and as champions of both the bear and his involvement.

The Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, in conjunction with Hè ladè Productions, has announced an historic partnership that is hoped will be a catalyst to save the spirit bears’ unprotected habitat. A feature length CGI animated movie, entitled ‘The Spirit Bear’ is being produced by Melwood Pictures who have assembled a team responsible for such classics as the Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson and Keith McGuffey will write the original soundtrack. But unlike other animated classics, “The Spirit Bear” will be the first film with a philanthropic mission - made with the specific purpose to help protect its namesake and to create a legacy foundation that, over time, it is hoped, will be among the most effective foundations in the world.

Spirit Bear The film’s release will be a mechanism to help finance the conservation of the spirit bear and their last intact habitat, designating a portion of their profit to the Hè ladè Foundation to offer the BC government and the area’s stakeholders. Moreover the foundation intends to create an endowment trust to help fund economic diversification in perpetuity for the communities of Klemtu and Hartley Bay. The goal is to ensure that funds are in place to protect the spirit bear and ensure that all stakeholders - union workers, forest companies, and the First Nations - are compensated.

"As Vice President of Hè ladè Productions, we will continue to work after “The Spirit Bear” to create projects - films, books, etc. - that will be made with the specific purpose of helping create a better world. Part proceeds from all future work will be donated to the Hè ladè Foundation, which I will Chair, with additional profits being invested in future projects - perpetually building a more effective foundation to help finance the protection of animals and their wilderness sanctuaries the world over." said Simon.

The film will be set on Canada’s west coast and will explore, through the journeys, lessons and triumphs of one very special bear cub, the plight of the Kermode Bear.

“The Spirit Bear” is currently in pre-production with a release date targeted for spring 2006. The film will directly contribute the opportunity to contribute to the province’s economy - and will enlist a First Nation advisor for input on the bear, the habitat, and the history of the region.

"We hope that this announcement will finally secure the bear's future, especially coupled with the expected upcoming announcement of the spirit bear being selected as the mascot for the 2010 Olympic games. There will be those who are wary of involving Hollywood in this issue. There will be those worried of over exposing the bear. There will be those who feel the issue should be resolved at the land-use table and involving citizens outside of Canada is wrong." But Simon disagrees.

Kermode Bear "There is a critical place for the land-use discussion. However, this issue is bigger than the few stakeholders sitting at the government’s land-use table. It is bigger than BC. It is bigger than Canada. It is a global issue, with global consequences that will impact more than years or decades - but generations. And as a result, there must be a global debate that especially includes young people - the future stewards of our land. This film will help create that debate and it will provide the necessary means to save the bear and compensate all affected parties. And when we save the bear, we will provide an economic plan for the communities most directly affected, help create a plan to ensure that the area is not overrun with people, and work towards making the region a world heritage site."

This initiative is massive in its undertaking and has the potential to create a lasting legacy for the spirit bear and the global environment that is unmatched. It is the product of the hard work of all of the stakeholders in this issue, but the film especially is the product of youth from around the world who dared to care and speak up for the undeniably, irreplaceable spirit bear.

"Thank-you for all that you have done and continue to do for our spirit bear. We are going to save our spirit bear." - Simon Jackson.

You can learn more about this project at Spirit Bear Youth Coalition

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Photos used with permission from D. Simon Jackson.