Making of “Big Bend: The Wild Frontier of Texas”

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Filmmaker Skip Hobbie discusses his and the crew’s experience making Big Bend: The Wild Frontier of Texas. Hobbie talks about both the challenges and exciting moments while filming the animals of Big Bend, such as beavers and bears.

(birds chirping) - As a wildlife filmmaker, I've been blessed beyond my wildest dreams to get to travel all over the world filming incredible wildlife and conservation stories.

So, the more and more I traveled, the more focus I wanted to turn back on Texas, my home state.

The first thing that came to mind was Big Bend.

From my very first time going out there with my family when I was younger, it just stuck with me and I wanted to go back.

I wanted to go back.

Here's Big Bend, this amazing and incredible place where rivers, and mountains, and desert habitats collide, creating this just perfect place for an abundance of biodiversity.

And no one has really told these stories in depth.

Some of my favorite memories of making the whole film about Big Bend are being out there with the bears.

Making sure to find that right balance of being close enough that we can bring viewers intimately into the world of the bears, but at the same time not doing anything that's gonna bother the bears or put the bears off.

I knew for sure that we were doing things right and that these bears with okay with us when they started just taking naps in front of us.

Sometimes they just get a belly full of acorns and need a nap.

And so they lay down and so you're like, okay, I guess I'm gonna, you know, stand still.

Because you know, you certainly don't want to spook or wake up a sleeping bear either.

One morning pretty early on in the project, we were at Santa Elena Canyon at dawn.

And we saw a beaver and it was still active just for a few minutes after sunrise.

You know, beavers are a nocturnal animal and I thought this is it.

It's just kind of the beavers getting ready to go to bed for the night.

What a beautiful moment.

Let's capture this.

Let's tell the story.

It was a story we knew was gonna be a challenge.

I had to wake up at four in the morning, trudging out there in the dark, trying to get everything ready and set up.

And then I would kneel down in the mud and just quietly wait for the sun to come up.

Some mornings the beavers would go to sleep before the sun had even come up.

Other mornings we might get 10-15 minutes of beavers being active.

I would completely lose myself there with this family of beavers because here I am literally straddling an international border and these beautiful beavers that are just going about their business the way that they always have.

And to me it was the most peaceful place on earth.

(water splashing) Especially over the last four or five years, it's been a hot topic.

And to me, when I think about the US/Mexico border, I think about these kind of beautiful places.

Big Bend National Park is a really incredible place.

And because it's so far off the beaten path, making a film like this is our chance to bring people to Big Bend who might not otherwise ever make it to this remote corner of the US.