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Wild Bear Rescue nominated for five Leo Awards

Docu-series based at Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter near Smithers focuses on wildlife rescues
Northern Lights Manager Angelika Langen preps one cub for an ear tag. (File photo)

A show based at a wildlife shelter near Smithers has been nominated for five Leo Awards.

The Leo Awards celebrate excellence in British Columbia Film and Television.

Wild Bear Rescue has won a Leo before in 2019 for Best Musical Score in a Documentary Program or Series and is now up for best documentary series, best screenwriting in a documentary series and best cinematography in a documentary series.

The show takes viewers to Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter near Smithers, where Angelika and Peter Langen care for at-risk black bear cubs and other wildlife as they prepare for a second chance at life in the wild.

The TV series started on Animal Planet in 2017 with 12 episodes and was later also aired on Discovery Channel and Knowledge Network.

Series producer Brad Quenville said he was surprised to be nominated.

“It is a good little series but it isn’t wasn’t a highly funded series. It was for Animal Planet; there isn’t a huge subscription to Animal Planet Canada so it isn’t like a lot of people who have seen it compared to if it was on one of the main channels,” he said. “It is up against some pretty pricey series with a lot of resources. It is up against The Age of AI which is a series produced by Robert Downy Jr and against a series produced by Iggy Pop. I’m of the mind that it was good to be nominated.”

A total of three seasons have been filmed and it was not renewed for a fourth, which Quenville said was disappointing.

He said dealing with the bear rescues, there was a lot of excitement and a lot of interesting things happened while they were filming and the whole experience was very positive. He added he’s done a lot of projects in his life and this was definitely a high point.

“The great thing is that [Angelika and Peter Langen] gave us incredible access, they let us see the good, the bad, the ugly, they were incredibly open to film everything,” he said.

“There were some really high moments when animals recovered and did well and there were some instances were animals didn’t do well.

“There were situations where animals escaped and they were embarrassed and had to call in the conservation office to help out. They also had a really terrific team of dedicated volunteers and they were wonderful to film with. And also the Conservation Officers, they came and helped out the shelter on a few occasions, Flint Knibbs and Kevin Nixon, they were terrific guys.”

Quenville said this was also a great opportunity to work with his son.

“It was probably one of the biggest experiences of my life and I don’t say that mildly. I was filming with my son, we did the bulk of the filming for the series. Particularly, he was the DOP on it and he has been nominated for best cinematographer. He has also been dominated for best director, as have I, so we are actually up against each other.”

He is very appreciative of the time he and his son spent in Smithers.

“It is a great spot to live. All the wildlife, hiking, the mountain biking, the backroad drives we did in that area, we loved it.”

Details on when the winners of The Leo Awards will be announced are still being finalized.

Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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