Falling in love with Bear 71 in its world & Interview with co-creator Leanne Allison

bear 71 - interactive doc from NFB

I just watched & experienced my first ever award-winning first-person-documentary! It got me to play along and fall in love with Bear 71! The online experience/first-person-documentary is FREE thanks to National Film Board of Canada. And today, after a year long global competition, Bear 71 was selected as Site of The Year Winner amongst 12 Site of The Month finalists by 58 international judges in 2 rounds of voting! To see how amazing this honour is, you should know that the Site of The Month finalists were in turn selected from 365 Site of The Day Winners!

I will watch & play with Bear 71 again for sure. (update: 3 times so far) Let me give you the permission to explore and to click and look at different things during the 20 minutes experience because there are endless ways and many interesting hidden surprise for people to “first-person” interact and discover within the documentary. I was imagining/hoping there was a “right” way to interact with the film but there isn’t one. At key moments, the gentle hands of the creators of the experiences will bring you right along into some memorable video that will hopefully stay with you. For me, the memorable experiences will stay with me and has reaffirm and be more aware of the beautiful environment we (and the animals) experience even things are changing rapidly (often in not so positive ways for the animals). Lets hope shows like Bear 71 will help us want to make our world a better place not only for us humans, but also for bears like Bear 71 and other wild animals before things are too late.

Bear 71 (Trailer without the fun of interactive hangout)

Jan 19th update: Here is my extensive video interview with co-creator Leanne Allison where we talk about the one million plus photos Leanne got to pick and choose to use. The raw & candid video footage of a variety of wild animals captured motion-triggered cameras. And down to a discussion of how best to protect bears from trains in high-speed. Leanne and I also got to chat about the awesome documentary Being Caribou (2004) which you can watch for free online.

Here are some selected praises from the 58 international judges which I whole heartedly agree with.

Tom Daly, The Coca-Cola Company:

“The team behind ‘Bear 71’ put interactive story telling at the new edge of how we should imagine things.”

Julie Campagna, Adobe:

“Innovative and memorable, yet disturbing.”

Steve Lemarquand, Resn:

“I felt emotionally compelled to trek the virtual landscape for Bear 71.”

Mathias Appelblad, BBDO:

“A beautiful experience that pulls you right in. A great example of how technology and interaction can tell a story in an innovative, engaging and emotional way.”

Wesley Ter Haar, MediaMonks:

A site that is steadfast, almost stubbornly interactive. It interweaves narrative with data in a way that creates something uniquely digital, while also managing to resonate far beyond the experience itself. I catch myself thinking of Bear 71 in the same way I do about books or movies that have made a lasting impression, it is proof that our industry can create compelling, emotive work and will be the standard-bearer (pun not intended) for years to come.”

Eric Jordan, 2Advanced Studios:

Bear 71 is masterful blending of documentary-style video and information graphics, which combine together to make the site deeply engaging and informative.”

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