Timothy Treadwell & Grizzly Bear
Timothy Treadwell Grizzly Man - I recently watched a commercial-riddled presentation of Grizzly Man on the Discovery Channel. Aside from the fact commercials interrupted the flow of the film every five minutes at times, this documentary about “grizzly man” Timothy Treadwell remained powerful and intimate.
For 13 summers, Timothy Treadwell communed with Alaskan grizzly bears. During his last five summers, he videotaped his experiences, structuring the footage for a documentary. However, he was not able to finish the project because during his last visit he and his girlfriend were killed and eaten by a grizzly.
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After Timothy Treadwell's death, German director Werner Herzog took on the project of telling Treadwell's story. With the cooperation of Treadwell's friend Jewel Palovak, Herzog and his team gained access to the archive of Treadwell's footage. They quickly discovered they had hit a mother load. Treadwell not only documented the bears he studied, he documented his life with the bears, and did so with an intimacy and rawness that astounded Herzog and producer Erik Nelson, who said of Treadwell's effort:
Taking great care, director Herzog weaved together the footage from Treadwell's video archive, along with clips of interviews with some of Treadwell's friends, supporters, and critics. Herzog himself supplied the voice-over narration, often sharing his interpretation of events, even as Treadwell's own narration declared something entirely different. As such, the film is something of a psychological study of Treadwell.
While the film leaves many unanswered questions about Treadwell and his obsession with grizzlies, it does offer a beautifully portrayal of his unique devotion to living at peace with these wild animals. Do watch Grizzly Man. Even riddled with commercials, it's worth the time.
After watching him live with grizzly bears for 13 summers, some grew critical of what Treadwell was doing. Acclimating grizzlies to the presence of humans is certainly a bad thing on so many levels. On the other hand, what he learned, what he experienced (as recorded on his video footage, photographs, diaries, and his book Among Grizzlies) is something rare and precious. It's value is something like the value of putting a human being into space. We probably don't need to risk human lives in our venture to space. Robots could do it all--just look at the successful Mars probes. But putting a human being into outer space is uniquely valuable and...sacred. Because we know another human has experienced this, we experience it is some way, and dream of previously inconceivable possiblities.
Treadwell lived and communed with grizzly bears, foxes, and other wildlife. This avocation, this obsession ultimately killed him and his girlfriend, Amie. The anger directed at Treadwell stems not so much from his death, but from the death of Amie Huguenard's, an innocent bystander.
Timothy openly aspired to become a bear, which gives an indication of the kind of person he was: rock star wannabe, struggling actor, advocate, and hippy. Actually, Treadwell was a recovering alcoholic, whose life was heading into the crapper. Then he visited Alaska, discovered grizzly bears, and the rest is a story of adventure, anger, and sometimes awkward laughter...Yet in the end, he and his girlfriend were killed by a bear. That's an absolute fact. He got too close. He was always too close. He got unlucky. Many think it was inevitable.
The fact that he was literally devoured by the bear is gruesome...yet I think--I'm almost certain--that Treadwell would think it gruesomely poetic. Some of his friends speculated as much.
According to the Hollywood.com, actor Leonardo di Caprio has agreed to star in a biopic of Treadwell, titled The Man Who Loved Grizzlies. I expect di Caprio can pull it off, but I really would have preferred a no name in the role. I'm sure Treadwell would feel the same. Give a struggling actor (like Treadwell was in his earlier years) the chance. But I suppose the star power of di Caprio will get people in to see the film that wouldn't have otherwise. Such is the commerce of story.
|The Grizzly Maze: Timothy Treadwell's Fatal Obsession with Alaskan Bears''' by Nick Jans|
|Among Grizzlies: Living with Wild Bears in Alaska''' by Timothy Treadwell, Jewel Palovak|
|Grizzly Man''' The film by Werner Herzog about Timothy Treadwell|
Wanderings.net Blog Entry - Timothy Treadwell - Grizzly Man
Bear Whisperer Man, Martyr, Myth
'Bear whisperer' Timothy Treadwell's life was a tangle of passionate environmental activism, idealistic half-truths and outright lies. And with his shocking death in October 2003, it all began to unravel. What few knew about Treadwell was that much of his life was an invention.
Timothy Treadwell, the avowed bear man of the Alaska wilderness, lived poor and little known for most of his 46 years despite a desire for the spotlight of celebrity. He claimed to have led a life of drugs, brawls and booze until, in the late 1980s, he found his way to the grizzlies, most recently in Katmai National Park and Preserve on the Alaska Peninsula about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage. His cause: to save them from hunters and poachers who apparently didn't exist. Those efforts brought him national recognition. He attracted even more when he told David Letterman on national television that the sometimes ferocious grizzly bears were really nothing more than big "party animals."
But the party came to a macabre end when, on Oct. 6, 2003, Treadwell and his girlfriend were found dead after being attacked by a 1,000-pound grizzly bear. Though captured on an audio recording, the deaths remain the topic of much debate. They brought to a dramatic end what had become Treadwell's Hollywood life, but they opened a new chapter in the saga of the man some had come to call "the bear whisperer."
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Rated: R (for language) Run Time: 103 mins.
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Directed by…………………………… Werner Herzog Executive Producers……… Erik Nelson ………………………………………………………… Billy Campbell ………………………………………………………… Tom Ortenberg ………………………………………………………… Kevin Beggs ………………………………………………………… Phil Fairclough ………………………………………………………… Andrea Meditch Co-Executive Producer… Jewel Palovak Producer…………………………………… Erik Nelson Cinematographer………………… Peter Zeitlinger Editor………………………………………… Joe Bini Composer…………………………………… Richard Thompson
In his mesmerizing new film GRIZZLY MAN, acclaimed director Werner Herzog explores the life and death of amateur grizzly bear expert and wildlife preservationist Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell lived unarmed among the bears for thirteen summers, and filmed his adventures in the wild during his final five seasons. In October 2003, Treadwell’s remains, along with those of his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, were discovered near their campsite in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Reserve. They had been mauled and devoured by a grizzly, the first known victims of a bear attack in the park. (The bear suspected of the killings was later shot by park officials.) In GRIZZLY MAN, Herzog plumbs not only the mystery of wild nature, but also the mystery of human nature as he chronicles Treadwell’s final years in the wilderness. Herzog uses Treadwell’s own startling documentary footage to paint a nuanced portrait of a complex and compelling figure while exploring larger questions about the uneasy relationship between man and nature.
Founder of the organization Grizzly People, Treadwell devoted his life to the preservation of bears, co-authored a book with Jewel Palovak, Among Grizzlies, and educated thousands of schoolchildren about bears. Treadwell also used his charisma and growing celebrity to spread the grizzly gospel, appearing on television shows including The Late Show with David Letterman, downplaying the dangers of his encounters.
But was Timothy Treadwell a passionate and fearless environmentalist who devoted his life to living peacefully among Alaskan grizzly bears in order to save them? Or was he a deluded misanthrope whose reckless actions resulted in his own death, as well as those of his girlfriend and one of the bears he swore to protect?
Not everyone believed in Treadwell’s unorthodox research. Some locals said that by living among the grizzlies he was crossing a line that had been respected by native Alaskans for thousands of years. Wildlife experts expressed concerns that by taking away the bears’ natural fear of humans — and portraying the animals as cuddly companions — he was doing them more harm than good. And while one of the ostensible reasons for his Alaska trips was to protect grizzlies from poachers, park officials contended that poaching was never a serious threat to the thousands of grizzlies living in the Kodiak archipelago. Adding more fuel to the controversy is the fact that aspects of Treadwell’s life remained shrouded in mystery until his death. He lied about his background even to his close friends, claiming to be Australian when in fact he was from a middle-class family in suburban New York. He had a history of serious drug and alcohol problems and had had several run-ins with the law before devoting his life to bears, which he credited with turning his life around.
At the heart of GRIZZLY MAN is the spectacular footage of enormous grizzlies hunting, playing and fighting just feet from Treadwell and his camera. Treadwell shot these scenes over his last five visits to the Alaskan wilderness, apparently with the intention of creating a wildlife documentary. Even more fascinating are the times Treadwell turns the camera on himself, alternately testifying to his almost religious love for the grizzlies and revealing less exalted, all too human emotions, including vanity, rage, paranoia and loneliness.
To provide perspective on his subject, Herzog interviews Treadwell’s friends, family and colleagues as well as environmentalists and wildlife experts, whose opinions about Treadwell vary as widely as Alaska’s extreme landscape.
The movie’s score is composed and performed by legendary British guitarist and singer-songwriter Richard Thompson. For more than three decades, Richard Thompson has consistently set songwriting and performance standards others aspire to. He has long been acknowledged both as a sensitive writer and an innovative guitarist. In autumn 2003, Rolling Stone placed Richard Thompson in the “top 20” of the World’s 100 Greatest Guitarists.
Lions Gate Films and Discovery Docs present a Werner Herzog film. GRIZZLY MAN. Directed by Werner Herzog. Produced by Erik Nelson, with Phil Fairclough and Andrea Meditch as executive producers. The film is co-executive produced by Jewel Palovak. The director of photography is Peter Zeitlinger, the editor is Joe Bini; music is by Richard Thompson.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Timothy Treadwell made his first trip to Alaska in the summer of 1989, when he camped and viewed grizzly bears at the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary. The experience so inspired Treadwell that he chose to dedicate his life to the protection of the bears and their habitat. By 1992, he was camping independently in Katmai National Park and Reserve, living among the bears as they converged at key salmon runs. During his first ten years, Treadwell chronicled his experiences and observations in diaries and photographs. In 1999, Minolta loaned video cameras to Grizzly People, the organization Treadwell had established with his friend and colleague Jewel Palovak, allowing Treadwell to capture daily life in Katmai as never before. The footage he shot over the course of five years became the backbone of Werner Herzog’s documentary GRIZZLY MAN, a film by and about Timothy Treadwell: the story of a self-taught naturalist and adventurer who dwelled alongside untamed wildlife, and an intensely intimate portrait of that same man as he lived each day with his complicated self.
Throughout his career, Herzog has gravitated to stories of individuals who stand apart from mainstream society and take enormous risks in pursuing their very personal, often highly idiosyncratic aspirations. GRIZZLY MAN’s Treadwell belongs to the tradition of driven Herzog protagonists found in narrative features like AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD (1972) and FITZCARRALDO (1982), and in documentaries such as THE GREAT ECSTASY OF THE WOODCARVER STEINER (1973) and LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY (1997). With GRIZZLY MAN, Herzog’s probing approach to Treadwell’s saga results in a film that speaks to emotional peaks and valleys we all experience.
Herzog came to Treadwell’s story entirely by chance. In the early summer of 2004, he was visiting the busy production offices of Erik Nelson, an accomplished filmmaker whose company, Creative Differences, produces an average of 75 hours of television documentaries for approximately ten different networks each year. As Herzog describes it, he had misplaced his reading glasses and was scanning Nelson’s desk for a sign of them. “Erik Nelson believed that I was looking at something in particular and shoves over an article about Timothy Treadwell and says, ‘Read this. This is a fantastic story which we are doing,’” the filmmaker recalls. “I read it and I knew that that was a film for me. No matter what, I had to do it. I had the feeling there was something much, much bigger in Treadwell’s story. And probably not so much a look at wild nature as a look at human nature: the dark side, the demons and also the exhilarations and ecstasies.”
Upon returning to Nelson’s office, Herzog inquired about the status of the film. “I asked Erik who was going to direct it because somehow I had the feeling they were still negotiating. Erik said to me, ‘Well, I’m kind of directing it.’ So I said with my thick German accent, ‘I will direct this movie.’ And stretched my hands out to him and he grabbed them and that was the deal,” Herzog concludes.
Nelson handed Herzog the reins to GRIZZLY MAN. He explains, “I realized at that point that Werner was the perfect person for this story, which taps into a lot of the themes in his work. As a Werner Herzog aficionado, I wanted to see what he would do with this material.” GRIZZLY MAN was already well along in its development at Discovery Networks, which had produced a television special, “The Grizzly Diaries,” with Treadwell in 1999. In the wake of his death, Nelson and Discovery’s Phil Fairclough began incorporating his story into a program, “Anatomy of a Grizzly Attack.” They quickly realized that Treadwell’s tale held a unique opportunity for a feature film that would examine not only man’s relationship with nature, but a complex and fascinating individual. Nelson and Fairclough, along with Andrea Meditch, Executive Producer of Discovery Docs, Discovery’s feature documentary division, took their idea to Discovery Networks president Billy Campbell, who launched Discovery Docs in 2003.
Campbell agreed that the project was right for Discovery Docs. Recalls Campbell, “The first time that I became really familiar with Timothy Treadwell was, unfortunately, when I heard that he had been killed. It became national news, and I remember thinking, ‘That’s a really peculiar story.’ I was intrigued that someone actually would spend much of his adult life living in the midst of grizzly bears. We’ve all had passions, we’ve all had causes, we’ve all believed in things so fundamentally. But I don’t know how many of us would be willing to ‘give our lives’ or risk our lives every day for thirteen years. I was curious about who would make that choice and why.”
Meditch was thrilled that Herzog wanted to take on GRIZZLY MAN. “Herzog is a visionary,” she comments. “He has a unique way of looking at documentary filmmaking, and he’s been exploring the line between human beings and the natural worldfor a long time. He also has a great passion and understanding for larger-than-life characters, and he’s able to bring them to life in ways that virtually no one else can.”
Crucial approval came from Jewel Palovak, who controls the rights to Treadwell’s archives as the co-founder of Grizzly People. Palovak had known Treadwell since 1985 and felt a deep sense of responsibility to her late friend and his legacy. He had often discussed the subject of his video archives with her. “Timothy was very dramatic: it was the best day ever on the planet, or it was the worst day and the world was going to end. With familiar hyperbole, he had always said to me: ‘If I die, if something happens to me, make that movie. You make it. You show ’em.’ I thought that Werner Herzog could definitely do that,” Palovak affirms. “I saw a similarity between Werner and Tim, each as a kind of maverick who would not give up on what he believes in. I knew that I wouldn’t be getting a fuzzy nature film or a little conservation piece. I knew that Werner would give an unflinching honesty.”
The project found an enthusiastic production partner in Lions Gate Entertainment, which in July 2004 established a feature-length documentary division in the wake of the record-breaking success of FAHRENHEIT 9/11. GRIZZLY MAN became the new division’s first feature, as a co-production with Discovery Docs, the feature film arm of the Discovery Channel.
Production had to begin quickly in order to take advantage of optimum summer scenery, weather, and bear activity in Alaska. Herzog traveled to Alaska in August, accompanied by Palovak, who played a hands-on role as the film’s executive producer. Production began in Alaska on Labor Day, September 4 and continued in Florida, home to Treadwell’s parents, and California.
While production was underway, four researchers had been busy screening and pulling footage from Treadwell’s wilderness video archives - some one hundred hours in total. Most of the footage had never been seen by anyone other than Treadwell; Palovak had seen highlights that Treadwell had earmarked to show to donors and others, but even she had no idea what the other hours held. When Herzog and his longtime editor Joe Bini began screening the footage, they were stunned. “We could not believe it. It couldn’t have been our wildest fantasy to find something like this,” the filmmaker recalls. “We had to stop and walk out of the building. Both of us had quit smoking, and yet we had to smoke a cigarette to take what was coming next. It was one of the great experiences I’ve ever had with film footage. It was so beautiful.”
Treadwell’s chronicle slipped the confines of the nature film. Remarks Nelson, “Treadwell was basically recording everything that was happening to him. Inadvertently or purposely, he was filming this Joseph Conrad-like epic of a man under pressure, coming apart in the middle of nature. He was this extraordinary character who did this extraordinary thing and, amazingly, covered it all. And covered it very well, I might add. He always knew where the camera was pointing; he really worked hard at making a good movie.” Some of Treadwell’s sequences were incorporated whole, including the portion where he angrily demands rain from God, Jesus, Allah and “the Hindu floaty thing” – and the rain actually arrives. “No one could edit that better than it was in the camera – raw, uncut,” says Herzog. “It was sometimes very stunning to be allowed to look so deep into the abyss that is the soul of everything a human being is.”
GRIZZLY MAN reveals a man who could be frightening as well as enchanting – much like the untamed world he so loved. As executive producer Phil Fairclough sees it, “There is a real parallel between Treadwell’s personality and the nature of Nature. He was a sort of wild animal in his own way. He could be very placid and charming and warm and sunny. At the same time, he was a dark and turbulent person. Werner, who is not afraid to have opinions and state them strongly, makes you see both the beauty and the darkness in Treadwell, and in this place where he lived for thirteen years.”
Herzog ultimately felt that the last moments of those thirteen years should remain private. When the fatal attack occurred Treadwell’s camera was switched on; the lens cap was not removed but the audio rolled. Herzog filmed himself listening to the audiotape in Jewel’s presence. Remembers the filmmaker, “Once I heard it, I didn’t waste five seconds to know: this will not be published, not in my film. Period. Even if Jewel had given me the permission and had asked me to include it, I wouldn’t have done it.” By September 28, a rough edit of the film had been submitted for the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. The filmmakers continued to shape GRIZZLY MAN in subsequent edits. GRIZZLY MAN unravels the mystery that was Timothy Treadwell, working backwards from his death to reveal the past he had hidden for many years.
Herzog’s narration adds another layer as the filmmaker offers his own thoughts on Treadwell and his concept of nature. “I do have an ongoing argument with Timothy Treadwell throughout the film,” Herzog acknowledges. “I differ with him and I say so. But it’s a warmhearted argument. It’s like I’m arguing with my own brothers; I love them but we do have arguments once in a while. Not that I can say that I love Timothy Treadwell, but I feel very close, very often. And I feel close to his tragedy.”
Herzog also wanted to honor the actor Treadwell had wanted to be before he discovered bears. “There was such a deep desire in him to be a star, and so I gave him that space to be his own star. And I vowed I would give him the best music to make him the real movie star.”
To write the film’s score, Nelson suggested they approach Richard Thompson, one of the world’s great guitarists and songwriters – and fortunately, a close friend of the producer. Thompson met with Nelson and Herzog in Los Angeles, and after seeing a few scenes from the film he agreed to compose the soundtrack.
The soundtrack sessions for GRIZZLY MAN took place over the course of a mere two days, on December 8th and 9th, in Berkeley, CA. Joining Thompson was a small group of accomplished musicians, including guitarist Jim O’Rourke of Sonic Youth. The producer was the renowned composer/musician/producer Henry Kaiser. The method was quite unusual: the music was composed and recorded on spot, as Thompson and the other musicians viewed the finished film. It was a gamble, acknowledges Nelson. “Going into the studio with musicians of Thompson’s caliber – Richard had never played with these musicians before, none had ever played together before, and there was no written score – we had no idea if it would work. But as was the case with the film itself, it ended up being an intensely creative experience. I can’t imagine GRIZZLY MAN without this music.”
On his involvement with GRIZZLY MAN, Thompson says, "It was a great thrill to work with Werner, whose work I have admired for many years, and who has produced, for me, some of the most striking and poetic images in cinema history." On January 24, 2005, GRIZZLY MAN had its world premiere at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, where audiences and critics greeted it with enormous enthusiasm. Watching the film with its first festival audience was at once nerve-wracking and exciting, says Discovery President Billy Campbell. “To be at Sundance, which is arguably the leader in independent filmmaking in terms of display and festivals, was an honor. To have the privilege of sitting there with the filmmaker, with our chairman, John Hendricks, who started Discovery 20 years ago, sitting two seats away from Roger Ebert – it was pretty harrowing. You’re like, ‘Holy smoke, I hope people like this movie.’ And then to hear the response, it was very emotional.” GRIZZLY MAN was subsequently awarded the Festival’s Alfred P. Sloan Award.
Palovak believes GRIZZLY MAN presents a multidimensional picture of the man she knew long and well. “Not many people get to pursue their lives and their dreams and do it the way they want to, and Timothy Treadwell did. I hope people see themselves in Timothy in some ways; the film is about all the different emotions, about being a flawed person but still a happy and whole person when you’re in your element.” She adds, “I think Tim really would have liked the film. It might have made him a little uncomfortable in places, just because he’s showing himself so nakedly. But he would have liked GRIZZLY MAN because he was a fearless person in a lot of ways, and it’s a pretty fearless movie.”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Werner Herzog (Director)
Werner Herzog (real name Werner H. Stipetic) was born in Munich on September 5, 1942. He grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria and never saw any films, television, or telephones as a child. He started traveling on foot from the age of 14. He made his first phone call at the age of 17. During high school he worked the nightshift as a welder in a steel factory to produce his first films and made his first film in 1961 at the age of 19. Since then he has produced, written, and directed more than fifty films, published more than a dozen books of prose, and directed as many operas. Herzog has also acted in several films, including Zak Penn’s INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS, Harmony Korine’s JULIEN DONKEY-BOY, Vincent Ward’s WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, and Paul Cox’s MAN OF FLOWERS. Les Blank’s documentary BURDEN OF DREAMS chronicled the making of Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO; Herzog also starred in Blank’s short film WERNER HERZOG EATS HIS SHOE.
Herzog and his films have received numerous awards, including: the Silver Bear (Berlin International Film Festival), Special Jury Prize and Best Director (Cannes), and several German National Film Awards.
see also www.wernerherzog.com
THE WILD BLUE YONDER (2005) GRIZZLY MAN (2005) THE WHITE DIAMOND (2004) WHEEL OF TIME (2003) TEN THOUSAND YEARS OLDER (2001) PILGRIMAGE (2001) INVINCIBLE (2000) MY BEST FIEND (1999) WINGS OF HOPE (1999) THE LORD AND THE LADEN (1999) LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY (1997) DEATH FOR FIVE VOICES (1995) THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE WORLD INTO MUSIC (1994) BELLS FROM THE DEEP (1993) LESSONS OF DARKNESS (1992) FILM LESSON 1-4 (1992) SCREAM OF STONE (1991) THE ECCENTRIC PRIVATE THEATER OF THE MAHARAJA OF UDAIPUR (1991) ECHOES FROM A SOMBER EMPIRE (1990) WODAABE – HERDSMEN OF THE SUN (1989) LES GALUOISES (1988) COBRA VERDE (1987) WHERE THE GREEN ANTS DREAM (1984) BALLAD OF THE LITTLE SOLDIER (1984) THE DARK GLOW OF THE MOUNTAINS (1984) FITZCARRALDO (1982) HUIE’S SERMON (1980) GOD’S ANGRY MAN (1980) WOYZECK (1979) NOSFERATU (1978) LA SOUFRIÈRE (1977) HEART OF GLASS (1976) STROSZEK (1976) NO ONE WILL PLAY WITH ME (1976) HOW MUCH WOOD WOULD A WOODCHUCK CHUCK (1976) THE ENIGMA OF KASPAR HAUSER (a/k/a EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF AND GOD AGAINST ALL (1974) THE GREAT ECSTASY OF THE WOODCARVER STEINER (1973) AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD (1972) LAND OF SILENCE AND DARKNESS (1971) HANDICAPPED FUTURE (1971) EVEN DWARVES STARTED SMALL (1970) FATA MORGANA (1970) PRECAUTIONS AGAINST FANATICS (1969) THE FLYING DOCTORS OF EAST AFRICA (1969) SIGNS OF LIFE (1968) LAST WORDS (1967) THE UNPRECEDENTED DEFENSE OF THE FORTRESS DEUTSCHKREUZ (1966) GAME IN THE SAND (1964) HERAKLES (1962)
Erik Nelson (Producer)
An Emmy Award-winning producer, director and writer, Erik Nelson has established himself as an innovative and versatile creator of documentary and reality television programming. For 25 years, Nelson has been at the forefront of numerous television trends, from music videos to "reality" series and forensic-based investigation programs.
In 1979, Nelson produced and wrote "TV: The Ultimate Drug"; the show subsequently aired on San Francisco public television and was nominated for a local Emmy. In 1980, he produced and co-directed the music video "Two Triple Cheese, Side Order Fries," which was selected for Rolling Stone Magazine's "Hall of Fame" of Rock Videos and is also part of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art permanent collection. These projects led to an ongoing relationship with MTV, which tapped Nelson's production company to produce news programming for its first three years and has continued to work with Nelson on various programs and specials.
As the founder of the Los Angeles-based production company Creative Differences (formerly Termite Art Productions), he has overseen the production of over 400 hours of programming for a wide assortment of networks. One of television's leading production units, Creative Differences has produced programs on a broad range of topics, including wildlife ("World's Most Dangerous Animals" for CBS), history ("Ku Klux Klan: A Secret History" for the History Channel) and lifestyles (the cult hit "The Brini Maxwell Show" for Style). The company's upcoming slate includes the two-hour "political reality show" “Red and Blue” for The Discovery Channel and "Beyond the Bible," a sixteen part series for National Geographic. The company's debut series, 1995's "CyberLife," was the first television program devoted exclusively to the Internet; during the production of that series, Nelson created San Francisco's Webby Awards, now recognized as the Academy Awards of the Internet.
Nelson's other credits include the 1993 PBS series "Great Drives"; its hosts included Levon Helm and Robert Townsend. In 1996, he produced the PBS series "Great Streets," featuring hosts Halle Berry, Nathan Lane, and Randy Newman, among others. He was a lead writer on the first three seasons of "Unsolved Mysteries," one of the most successful reality programs in prime time history. Other producing credits include "Secrets and Mysteries," a paranormal documentary series that garnered two Los Angeles Emmy Awards.
GRIZZLY MAN marks Nelson's first theatrical production, and is the first film produced under his aegis as Vice President of Feature Documentaries at Lions Gate Entertainment.
Peter Zeitlinger (Director of Photography)
Peter Zeitlinger is an accomplished filmmaker whose career encompasses cinematography, directing, writing and editing. Zeitlinger first worked with Werner Herzog in 1995 when he was director of photography on the director’s documentary DEATH FOR FIVE VOICES. That film began an intensive collaboration that has yielded such documentaries as LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY, MY BEST FIEND, and WHEEL OF TIME, as well as the drama INVINCIBLE.
Zeitlinger has been director of photography on some thirty feature and television films, as well as several television series. His credits include: the drama TUNNELCHILD, which he co-wrote and which screened at the 1989 Berlin Film Festival; the dramas ERWIN UND JULIA and FEAR OF THE IDYLL for Austrian director Götz Spielmann; and the documentaries THE CAMPAIGNERS and ANIMAL LOVE. He has directed 20 short and experimental films since 1988. His feature directorial credits include the dark comedy HUSBANDKILLERS and the crime drama CONCEPT OF AN ENEMY, both co-directed with Holger Gotha.
Zeitlinger was born in Czechoslovakia. He was not yet 10 when he left Czechoslovakia with his mother in the wake of the 1968 Soviet occupation. They settled in neighboring Austria, where Zeitlinger making 8mm films as a teenager. He studied cinema and television at the Vienna University of Art, and concurrently studied ethics at Vienna’s University of Philosophy.
Joe Bini (Editor)
Joe Bini has edited all of Werner Herzog’s most recent films, starting with LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY and continuing through such films as MY BEST FIEND and INVINCIBLE, starring Tim Roth. Bini considers GRIZZLY MAN their most successful collaboration to date.
Richard Thompson (Composer)
For more than three decades, Richard Thompson has consistently set songwriting and performance standards others aspire to. Admired both as a sensitive writer and an innovative guitarist, Thompson has forged one of the most influential and eclectic careers in rock & roll, with a number of classic albums to his credit. He is an extremely popular concert performer, drawing devoted fans to acoustic and electric concerts, solo and band tours.
Born in West London, Thompson grew up in post-war Britain surrounded by a family with wide musical tastes. He first came to attention as a teenaged founder of the pioneering folk-rock band The Fairport Convention, which released its eponymous debut in 1968. Playing an inventive musical mix of blues and California-style rock, the group was quickly dubbed “the new Jefferson Airplane.” Fairport Convention gradually developed a more personal and British-based repertoire. In 1969, the band released Liege and Lief, a milestone of British Rock that also revealed the extent of Thompson’s talent as a songwriter. Penning contemporary songs that drew upon deep traditional genres, Thompson established the style that would define his career. In 1972, Thompson released his first solo album, Henry the Human Fly, which displayed a twisted sense of humor along with his vocal abilities.
In 1972 Thompson married folk singer Linda Peters, and they went on to record six albums together over the next decade, including the classics I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, Pour Down Like Silver and Shoot Out the Lights. The couple’s last collaboration, 1982’s Shoot Out the Lights was both a critical and commercial success and was voted one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “Top Ten Records of the Decade.” Thompson’s music has been collected in numerous box sets, and his songs have covered on several tribute albums, including Beat the Retreat, featuring REM, Los Lobos and Bonnie Raitt, among others. His recent albums include the 2003 studio LP The Old Kit Bag and The Chrono Show: Live Versions of Vintage Favorites. 2005 will bring a new solo acoustic album, and a DVD of his recent, wildly popular club tour “1,000 Years of Popular Music.”
LIONS GATE DISCOVERY FILMS DOCS
A FILM BY WERNER HERZOG
Directed and Narrated By WERNER HERZOG
Produced By ERIK NELSON
Edited By JOE BINI
Music Composed By RICHARD THOMPSON
Director of Photography PETER ZEITLINGER
Executive Producers ERIK NELSON BILLY CAMPBELL
Executive Producers TOM ORTENBERG KEVIN BEGGS
Executive Producers PHIL FAIRCLOUGH ANDREA MEDITCH
Co-Executive Producer JEWEL PALOVAK
Co-Executive Producer DAVE HARDING
Associate Producer ALANA BERRY
Production Managers TOM KOYKKA JESSICA DEJONG
Post Production Supervisor RANDALL BOYD
Assistant Editor MAYA HAWKE
Editorial Assistants DAVID W. RYAN BRIAN PATTERSON
Assistant Camera Operator ERIK SOLLNER
Audio SPENCE PALERMO KEN KING
Post Production Audio MICHAEL KLINGER D.D. STENEHJEM Tree Falls
Music Produced By HENRY KAISER
Musicians Richard Thompson guitar/bass Danielle DeGruttola cello John Hanes percussion/drums James O’Rourke piano/guitar Damon Smith acoustic bass
Recording Engineer Stephen Hart
Recorded at Fantasy Studios Berkeley, CA
“Late Show with David Letterman” Courtesy Worldwide Pants Incorporated
Photos/Footage Provided by Val and Carol Dexter Sam Egli Willy Fulton NBC News Archives Anna Rogers
“Coyotes” by Bob McDill Performed by Don Edwards Courtesy of Universal-Polygram Int. Publ., Inc. On behalf of itself and Ranger Bob Music (ASCAP) Warner Bros. Records, Inc. by arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
Special Thanks Grizzly People www.grizzlypeople.com Sue Houghton Kodiak Fish and Game Alaska National Park Service
Executives in Charge of Production For Discovery Channel, Inc. Jane Root Don Baer
Produced by Real Big Production, Inc.
LIONS GATE FILMS
© MMV Lions Gate Films, Inc.