EXCLUSIVE: Disneynature’s ‘Polar Bear’ Director on the Film’s Hopeful Ending

The director’s of Disney’s ‘Polar Bear’ documentary discuss the film’s hopeful ending and how it is about perseverance.

Disneynature’s latest documentary, Polar Bear, tells the story of a new mother whose memories of her own youth prepare her to navigate motherhood in the increasingly challenging world that polar bears face today. While the film has many uplifting and joyous moments, it takes place against the background of climate change in the Arctic that is threatening the survival of polar bears.

Still, Polar Bear ends on a noticeably optimistic note, with the mother bear (in the form of the voice of two-time Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener) expresses that she and her cub will persevere and survive the changing and dangerous environment. In an exclusive interview with Murphy’s Multiverse, directors Jeff Wilson and Alastair Fothergill were asked why they chose to end Polar Bear in that way. Wilson stated:

I think it’s important for our audiences to have a sense of empowerment and hope at the end of the film, because we believe that that’s the greatest emotion that will drive people to take action. And that really helps us get our message across.

Jeff Wilson

Wilson went on to describe one particular moment in the film that embodies that spirit of hope and resilience:

[The] extraordinary images of the mother bear climbing the iceberg…it’s so impossibly beautiful that you’d never imagine that would happen. But when you film something like that—and you realize at that moment in time when you’re filming it—the power of those images, and the power of the metaphor of what is happening there, you do suddenly the chemistry of script and narration and music and and just the serendipity of capturing that unique moment. [It] gives you the power to take hope, and plant it firmly in the audience’s lap and say, hey, look, this, there is hope here. But you know, there’s also uncertainty.

Jeff Wilson

Viewers can enjoy the documentary’s story and powerful moments when it releases on Earth Day. Disneynature’s Polar Bear launches exclusively on Disney+ on April 22, 2022.

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