Bears of the Last Frontier

About

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It’s finally here — time for us to share our incredible Alaskan adventure with the world through Bears of the Last Frontier. It has been quite the journey. The film has been nearly two years in the making, and for both of us it has become an unforgettable part of our lives. Over the course of a year and a half we traveled well over 3000 miles across Alaska and shot 500 hours of footage for this epic three-hour PBS Nature series. We spent many, many months in bear country – piecing together the lives of these fascinating animals by observing and filming them, and by living in bear country, among the animals and people that share bear habitat.

When Joe and I met nearly ten years ago (coincidentally in Alaska) our minds reeled with the possibilities for collaboration. A filmmaker and an ecologist, and a combined dream to have a huge impact for wildlife conservation through the magic of film. The opportunity to work with PBS Nature has been a dream, and has resulted in three beautiful episodes we hope you’ll love.

Watch a preview:

We’ve both worked all over the world for the last twenty plus years — Joe as an award-winning wildlife filmmaker, and me as a conservation ecologist. Joe has created dazzling films on an array of epic subjects — from tigers to Asian elephants, and my work has focused on wildlife research and environmental education — mostly about the bears of the world. I’ve also guided hundreds of people on expeditions to see polar bears and grizzly bears. We’ve both witnessed the powerful emotions that these animals can trigger in people, which is why they make such great representatives for conservation, and such great characters in film!

Alaska harbors all three of North America’s bear species, from three hundred pound black bears to polar and brown bears weighing well over half a ton. It is home to the highest mountain on the continent, vast glaciers, immense forests, and a level of isolation that can be found nowhere else in the United States.

And it’s big. This northernmost state is the same size as the next three largest states combined (California, Texas and Montana).

Alaska’s wilderness allowed us to step back in time on a journey that took us through five major ecosystems and the habitats of its three bear species. It was also a journey that put us to the test as we hiked, camped and lived among the biggest bears in the world, chased black bears through the streets of Anchorage, followed grizzlies on the prowl for immense caribou herds, and searched for polar bears miles out on the pack ice. In every one of these locations bears have adapted impressively to their surroundings.

We’re hoping that, as you wander through this website and sink yourself into the series, you will feel immersed in the world of the bear. It is a truly wondrous place.

We also hope that you might be inspired to learn more. Bears represent wildness more than any other species, but we cannot take that wildness for granted — it will take determination, passion, and imagination to ensure that future generations can enjoy a world that includes bear habitat.

Be sure to check out the wonderful organizations listed under resources for ways to learn more. We’re all in this together. And remember — what’s good for bears, is good for people!

We’re so glad you’re along for the adventure!

Chris Morgan, Ecologist
Joe Pontecorvo, Filmmaker

Production Credits Print

Bears of the Last Frontier ~ Hour One: City of Bears

HOSTED AND NARRATED BY
CHRIS MORGAN

WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY
JOSEPH PONTECORVO

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
JOSEPH PONTECORVO

EDITOR
BILLY McMILLIN

ASSISTANT EDITOR
PHILIP THANGSOMBAT

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
DEAN CANNON

ORIGINAL MUSIC BY
LENNY WILLIAMS
CHRIS BIONDO

AERIAL CINEMATOGRAPHY
RON CHAPPLE / AERIAL FILMWORKS
FREEFLY CINEMA

ADDITIONAL CINEMATOGRAPHY BY
BRENDA PHILLIPS
DEAN CANNON
JOHN WHITTIER

LOCATION SOUND
NIMMIDA PONTECORVO

SUPERVISING SOUND EDITOR
SCOT B. CHARLES

SOUND EDITOR
LEN DELOREY

ONLINE EDITOR
SHANE DILLON

RE-RECORDING MIXER
ED CAMPBELL

COLORIST
ERIC ROSEN

BASED ON RESEARCH BY
CHRIS MORGAN

SPECIAL THANKS
ALASKA AIRLINES
ALASKA FILM OFFICE
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, US DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
POWERENZ SOLAR POWERED EQUIPMENT
SIMMS FISHING PRODUCTS
SPROCKETHEADS
MAGELLAN GPS
UDAP
JOSH SCHEIN / ANDREW AIRWAYS
JOHN ROGERS
BRAD JOSEPHS
TOM SMITH
NATHAN STEWART
TODD MOEN / SPIRIT RIVER STUDIOS
IAN MARTIN / ARC TERYX
JOHN TAYLOR
DR. ANNE MIZE

STOCK FOOTAGE
DANIEL ZATZ / ZATZWORKS

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SUPERVISING PRODUCER
JANICE YOUNG

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER

PRODUCTION MANAGER
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
JAYNE JUN

HD ONLINE EDITOR
PATRICK KRASS

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE
WILLIAM GRANT

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

A Production of Pontecorvo Productions and THIRTEEN in association with Wildlife Media, National Geographic Channel and WNET New York Public Media.

This program was produced by THIRTEEN, which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2011 WNET
All rights reserved

WEB CREDITS

PRODUCER
KATE FULTON

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
CHIE WITT

PRODUCTION ASSISTANCE
SAM CHUNG
PIYALI SYAM

DESIGNER
JOY WEEENG

PAGEBUILDING
BRIAN SANTALONE

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
BRIAN LEE

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
NICK MILLER

DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL STRATEGY
DAVID HIRMES

SENIOR DIRECTOR
DANIEL B. GREENBERG

WRITERS
SAM CHUNG
PIYALI SYAM

Bears of the Last Frontier ~ Hour Two: The Road North

HOSTED AND NARRATED BY
CHRIS MORGAN

WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY
JOSEPH PONTECORVO

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
JOSEPH PONTECORVO

EDITOR
BILLY McMILLIN

ASSISTANT EDITOR
PHILIP THANGSOMBAT

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
DEAN CANNON

ORIGINAL MUSIC BY
LENNY WILLIAMS
CHRIS BIONDO

AERIAL CINEMATOGRAPHY
RON CHAPPLE / AERIAL FILMWORKS
DANIEL ZATZ / ZATZWORKS
FREEFLY CINEMA

ADDITIONAL CINEMATOGRAPHY BY
DEAN CANNON
ARTHUR C. SMITH III / POLARART PRODUCTIONS
CHRIS TOWEY
BRENDA PHILLIPS

LOCATION SOUND
NIMMIDA PONTECORVO

SUPERVISING SOUND EDITOR
SCOT B. CHARLES

SOUND EDITOR
LEN DELOREY

ONLINE EDITOR
SHANE DILLON

RE-RECORDING MIXER
ED CAMPBELL

COLORIST
ERIC ROSEN

BASED ON RESEARCH BY
CHRIS MORGAN

SPECIAL THANKS
ALASKA AIRLINES
ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME, ANCHORAGE
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, FAIRBANKS
THE RESIDENTS OF ANCHORAGE
DIRK & DANIELLE, COYOTE AIR
POWERENZ SOLAR POWERED EQUIPMENT
UDAP
SPROCKETHEADS LLC
BETTLES LODGE
JOE CAMPBELL, KBEAR RADIO ANCHORAGE
LOWER PENINSULA POWER SPORTS
IAN MARTIN / ARC TERYX
PHIL FREEMAN, MOTOQUEST TOURS
JACK REAKOFF
RICK SINNOTT
JESSY COLTRANE
RICHARD NELSON
PAT OWEN
JOHN HECHTEL
CARMEN GILMORE

STOCK FOOTAGE AND STILLS
ARTHUR C. SMITH III / POLARART PRODUCTIONS
DANIEL ZATZ / ZATZWORKS
NICOLE FLOTHE
DONALD W. BRUMBELOW
RICK SINNOTT / ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SUPERVISING PRODUCER
JANICE YOUNG

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER

PRODUCTION MANAGER
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
JAYNE JUN

HD ONLINE EDITOR
PATRICK KRASS

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE
WILLIAM GRANT

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

A Production of Pontecorvo Productions and THIRTEEN in association with Wildlife Media, National Geographic Channel and WNET New York Public Media.

This program was produced by THIRTEEN, which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2011 WNET
All rights reserved

WEB CREDITS

PRODUCER
KATE FULTON

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
CHIE WITT

PRODUCTION ASSISTANCE
SAM CHUNG
PIYALI SYAM

DESIGNER
JOY WEEENG

PAGEBUILDING
BRIAN SANTALONE

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
BRIAN LEE

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
NICK MILLER

DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL STRATEGY
DAVID HIRMES

SENIOR DIRECTOR
DANIEL B. GREENBERG

WRITERS
SAM CHUNG
PIYALI SYAM

Bears of the Last Frontier ~ Hour Three: Arctic Wanderers

HOSTED AND NARRATED BY
CHRIS MORGAN

WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY
JOSEPH PONTECORVO

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
JOSEPH PONTECORVO

EDITOR
BILLY McMILLIN

ASSISTANT EDITOR
PHILIP THANGSOMBAT

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
DEAN CANNON

ORIGINAL MUSIC BY
LENNY WILLIAMS
CHRIS BIONDO

AERIAL CINEMATOGRAPHY
DANIEL ZATZ / ZATZWORKS
RON CHAPPLE / AERIAL FILMWORKS

ADDITIONAL CINEMATOGRAPHY BY
ARTHUR C. SMITH III / POLARART PRODUCTIONS
DEAN CANNON
NIMMIDA PONTECORVO

LOCATION SOUND
NIMMIDA PONTECORVO

SUPERVISING SOUND EDITOR
SCOT B. CHARLES

SOUND EDITOR
LEN DELOREY

ONLINE EDITOR
SHANE DILLON

RE-RECORDING MIXER
ED CAMPBELL

COLORIST
ERIC ROSEN

BASED ON RESEARCH BY
CHRIS MORGAN

SPECIAL THANKS
ALASKA AIRLINES
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, FAIRBANKS
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, US DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
NORTH SLOPE WHALING COMMISSION
THE PEOPLE OF BARROW, ALASKA
POWERENZ SOLAR POWERED EQUIPMENT
UDAP
SPROCKETHEADS LLC
BETTLES LODGE
IAN MARTIN / ARC’TERYX
RANDY MEYERS, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, ALASKA
JIM DAU, ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME
STEVE AMSTRUP
ANDREW E. DEROCHER, PH.D.
GARY YOUNGBLOOD
MARK RYAN
JOHN SPENCER
MAX HANFT
RICHARD NELSON
JOHN HECHTEL
CARMEN GILMORE
BRENDA PHILIPS
HARRY REYNOLDS

STOCK FOOTAGE AND STILLS
DANIEL ZATZ / ZATZWORKS
ARTHUR C. SMITH III / POLARART PRODUCTIONS

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SUPERVISING PRODUCER
JANICE YOUNG

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER

PRODUCTION MANAGER
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
JAYNE JUN

HD ONLINE EDITOR
PATRICK KRASS

SERIES PRODUCER (FULL FRAME)
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE (FULL FRAME)
WILLIAM GRANT

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER (FULL FRAME)
FRED KAUFMAN

A Production of Pontecorvo Productions and THIRTEEN in association with Wildlife Media, National Geographic Channel and WNET New York Public Media

This program was produced by THIRTEEN, which is solely responsible for its content. (hold for 3 seconds)

(Add registered NATURE logo)

© 2011 WNET
All rights reserved

WEB CREDITS

PRODUCER
KATE FULTON

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
CHIE WITT

PRODUCTION ASSISTANCE
SAM CHUNG
PIYALI SYAM

DESIGNER
JOY WEEENG

PAGEBUILDING
BRIAN SANTALONE

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
BRIAN LEE

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
NICK MILLER

DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL STRATEGY
DAVID HIRMES

SENIOR DIRECTOR
DANIEL B. GREENBERG

WRITERS
SAM CHUNG
PIYALI SYAM