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Deadly Passion| 35mins
Director: Stefan Quinth | Producer: David Kaplan
Focus Years: 2005 | Country: United States
Subject Tags: americas, animals as friends, conflict, ecology, united states
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
For thirteen summers, Timothy Treadwell communed with the bears of Katmai National Park. Emerging from an addiction to drugs and alcohol, Timothy escaped to the wilderness of Alaska, finding his salvation among the bears with whom he felt a close kindred spirit. A self-proclaimed expert on bear behavior, he presented himself to the public as the protector of an “endangered species”, and became an overnight celebrity flaunting videos of himself petting the bears. On October 6, 2003 Timothy and his companion Amie Huguenard were mauled and partially eaten by the very bears they loved and sought to protect. The story unfolded in newspapers and magazines across the globe, reporting Treadwell’s passion for bears, delving into details of Treadwell’s life and outlining the personal choices that ultimately led to his death. I have spent a lot of time in bear country, living among the bears, studying them and filming them for more than 25 years. They are fascinating animals that demand respect, but are extremely tolerant and accepting of humans if we just behave correctly around them. Timothy Treadwell’s behavior around bears was a concern long before the tragedy on Katmai, not just for his own safety but because of the way he portrayed the bears to the public. The best way to protect the bears is to teach people how to behave in bear country. Films of him walking among the grizzly, approaching them and even touching them inspired others to do the same. Bear attacks, injuries and killings presented by a zealous media generates confusion, fear and hatred. Treadwell’s passion for the bears was a deadly passion. His misguided approach to bridging the gap between humans and bears caused only harm to the animals he loved and dedicated his life to protect.

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David Kaplan

United States


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