In Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, various wild animals are implanted with a GPS receiver and a chip, and from that moment they're known as numbers: Deer 48, Fox 21, Bear 71. The park rangers know exactly where they are every moment of every day, and they film their daily comings and goings using the security cameras they set up all over the park. Web documentary Bear 71 lets us watch over their shoulders, to a disturbing effect. Director Leanne Allison's husband, a Banff park ranger, gave her thousands of hours of grainy surveillance footage from the park, from which she and digital documentary pioneer Jeremy Mendes focus in on a three-year-old grizzly: Bear 71. In voice-over, she explains how the animals are being pushed ever further into the mountains by advancing freeways, train
tracks and tourism. The immense amounts of data and surveillance material allow the audience to follow the proceedings in the park on an interactive map. Humans rule this territory, but remotely, from behind their monitors. The site's visitors, likewise watching a screen, are forced to share the perspective of the guard/voyeur. Slowly but surely, we become aware of a primal human urge to grab hold of new technologies to exert control and to repress. Bear 71 will be performed with live music during DocLab Live: The Best of NFB Interactive.
Jeremy Mendes, Leanne Allison
Loc Dao for National Film Board of Canada, Bonnie Thompson for National Film Board of Canada, Dana Dansereau
David Christensen for National Film Board of Canada, Rob McLaughlin for National Film Board of Canada
Bill Hardman, Hart Snider, Jennifer Moss
Aubyn Freybe-Smith, Jam3