First stage of filming polar bear documentary completed

First stage of filming polar bear documentary completed

23 September 2020

A documentary about polar bears is being filmed in Russian Arctic National Park. The film tells about the work of Russian scientists in the Arctic and the years-long research on the endangered predator. The first stage of work on the film, called Medvezhy Ugol (The Polar Bear’s Corner), has already been completed.


The initiator and director of the documentary is Marina Menshikova, chief public relations specialist of the national park. The project is supported by a grant from the Russian Geographical Society (RGO).


“The polar bear is a priority species, and its study is extremely important because it is an indicator of changes in the Arctic ecosystem. Films about polar bear research were shot in the Canadian Arctic, on Spitsbergen and Wrangel Island, but there was no filming in the western sector of the Russian Arctic,” Marina said.


The main characters of the film are a group of biologists led by Ilya Mordvintsev (PhD in Biology), a senior researcher at the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the Russian Academy of Sciences. The team has gone to work on Novaya Zemlya for the third time in 2020. The scientists studied six bears. The footage of setting up a bear lure and conducting direct monitoring (weighing, taking blood, fur, etc.) will be included in the future documentary.


The film will show not only scientists’ work to study polar bears, but also the nature of the Arctic in general and the history of life at polar stations.


“This is such a complex story about how science is now being conducted in these latitudes,” Menshikova noted.


According to the director, the film crew had a difficult time in the harsh Arctic.


“If you forget to take something, nobody will bring you additional batteries and chargers. And we had a difficult journey – it took us five days to get to the protected area by boat. It was also hard to cope with the long separation from our families and loved ones,” she said.


Marina Menshikova is sure that such a project is needed to tell the public about what is happening in the country, in science, and in the Arctic region as a whole.


(Photo by Maxim Pervakov)