This Earth Day, transport yourself to the Arctic with Polar Bear on Disney+!
The DisneyNature special tells the story of a new mother polar bear whose memories of her youth prepare her to navigate motherhood in the increasingly challenging world that polar bears face today. We sat down with the film’s directors, Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson, to discuss the making of Polar Bear.
The special combines breathtaking visuals with a unique narrative structure. The story follows one specific polar bear in her youth as she grows and ultimately becomes a mother herself. The feature is framed via first-person narration (provided by Catherine Keener), allowing audiences to immerse themselves in the story.
“We knew we wanted to tell a story about a mother polar bear because everything in a bear’s life is learned from its mother,” said Wilson. “I think telling it in the first person was crucial to make it more experiential for the audience.”
“We thought we had a wonderful narrative there,” added Fothergill. “We loved the idea of telling it through the eyes of a 15 year old female polar bear looking back at her life.”
Polar Bear aims to be a joyful experience for audiences, transporting them to a beautiful location while helping them better understand the bears. But the reality of climate change and the challenges these animals face in the wild is present, too. Striking that balance was something the filmmakers were very aware of.
“We need that balance,” said Fothergill. “We were looking for playful sequences like the cubs playing on the ice, and at the same time we need powerful moments, like when the brother of the narrator dies.”
But the “joy of nature” appeals to every age group, Fothergill adds. And that’s exactly why people should watch Polar Bear.
“We will take you to one of the most beautiful places on the planet. A place that most people have never been to,” said Fothergill. “And we’ll engage you in a story about the most beautiful animal on the planet.”
Experience Polar Bear for yourself on Disney+ starting April 22.