How to protect the final, unprotected third of the spirit bear's last intact habitat without adversely impacting the regional economy of the local First Nation community?
A major Hollywood animated motion picture...with a twist.
With Italia Gandolfo and several others, we have formed
He Lade Productions to work in conjunction with the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition to assemble the creative team responsible for many of the animated classics of our time - Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid. And today we are in full production of the The Spirit Bear - a full length CGI animated movie that when released to theatres around the world will see a portion of every ticket sold go directly back toward saving its namesake by funding economic diversification projects in the land of the spirit bear.
Simply put: Our goal is nothing short of turning Hollywood on its head and using its powerful economic engine, not only to generate profits, but in this case to save an entire rainforest ecosystem and the rare bear that calls it home.
While the merits of protecting this global treasure are obvious to most, what is not so obvious is how rural, resource-based communities can afford to see this land-base protected and off-limits to development. Our challenge has been two-fold: Telling people that this bear exists and deserves protection; and finding the means to help these isolated communities create jobs in order to save the bear and its home. We believe no one group or community should have the financial burden of its protection.
Our campaign has not been about solidifying the base or preaching to the converted - but reaching the unconverted. That's been the irresistible challenge: to show each and every person that with a simple choice, such as what movie to see on the weekend, they can create a better world. To inspire a world to care about a bear and raise the money needed to help communities diversify from one-industry towns, to broad based, community driven economies without burdening the tax payer. That is our task and our opportunity: Make a Hollywood movie.
This is where real world economics and viable business models meet idealistic dreams and environmental hopes; where good business and critical global issues are driven together to create a new dynamic of social entrepreneurship.
Bald eagles to elephant seals, grey wolves to rough-sided newts. It is the Great Bear Rainforest, and its mist-shrouded ecosystem, its diverse inhabitants, ancient rivers teeming with salmon and most especially, its most unique resident - the spirit bear - are now the inspiration for our feature length, CGI animated movie. The Spirit Bear won't preach, but, through our ability to educate, our audience will know of our underlying mission and spread our brand message.
The Spirit Bear is an opportunity to find a new way to inspire, to challenge, and to engage tomorrow's leaders today - not only on this issue but on any issue they believe in, for there are no insignificant endeavors. Most importantly, we can do so in a way that meets the economic bottom line by blurring it with the social bottom line.
The journey began with a leap of faith in the belief of what we can accomplish by everyone working together - business and non-profits, young people and adults. There is no precedent for our current endeavor, but we hope that each of you will join us on the next step of what has thus far been a humbling and remarkable journey - into the land of the spirit bear and into the imagination of our collective dreams.