The Grizzly Truth has won multiple awards and was instrumental in ending the grizzly bear hunt in British Columbia, Canada. It currently boasts an IMDB rating of 8.6.
First Nations, environmentalists, scientists and ecotourism operators are fighting a battle to ban the grizzly hunt in British Columbia, while grizzly hunting may soon become a reality in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as grizzly bears are delisted from the Endangered Species Act.
The Grizzly Truth investigates the controversy over grizzly hunting and closely scrutinizes all of the arguments brought forward by hunting organizations. It also takes a closer look at the conflict between hunters and bear viewing operations and dispels the myth of the dangerous and ferocious grizzly bear.
Charlie Russell who is best known for living with grizzly bears in Russia for ten years and whose family ran a grizzly hunting outfit in Southern Alberta, argues that the myth of the dangerous and unpredictable grizzly bear is perpetuated by the hunting industry, so hunters can feel heroic in killing them.
By living in a remote area, surrounded by grizzlies, similar to Timothy Treadwell, he succeeded in showing that grizzly bears are not in fact unpredictable if they find human behaviour to be predictable and non-threatening.
Author and former superintendent of Banff Nation Park, Kevin Van Tighem traces the origin of the myth of the ferocious grizzly and the reasons why people either see bears as lovable clowns or marauding monsters.
First Nations explain the importance of grizzly bears to their culture and scientists argue that the grizzly hunt is neither sustainable nor does it create economic benefits to British Columbia, while at the same time preventing the bear viewing industry from expanding.
A resolution to find a workable compromise between the two competing industries is presented with ecotourism clearly being the industry of the future by offering a non-consumptive, economic alternative to grizzly hunting whilst also educating people about the true nature of the grizzly bear.
The Making of The Grizzly Truth
The Grizzly Truth was shot in British Columbia and in Alberta, Canada as well as in Montana and Alaska in the US. Filming took place from April to November 2016 and involved key players in the debate over grizzly hunting in British Columbia and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Most of the filming was done while touring in a mobile home from 1987, which apart from some minor hiccups and a couple of blown tires worked very reliably given its age.
While the documentary was initially only focused on the arguments over grizzly hunting and the conflict between ecotourism and hunters, the myth of the dangerous and ferocious grizzly bear soon also became a key element of the investigation since that myth was very much perpetuated by the hunting fraternity for various reasons. Two authors of books about grizzly bears cast serious doubts on that particular myth.
Especially Charlie Russell who had lived with grizzly bears in Russia and who had been friends with Timothy Treadwell, the subject of the Werner Herzog’s documentary Grizzly Man, shone a light on the origins of the myth as well as its continued persistence. While the director had initially planned a two-hour interview with Charlie it turned into a week of conversations and interviews and made Charlie Russell into one of the main characters in The Grizzly Truth.