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Spirit Bear - The Simon Jackson Story

1 rating: 5.0
A movie

This inspirational drama follows real-life teenager Simon Jackson (Mark Rendall), a quiet and awkward student who, after a remarkable encounter in the woods, almost single-handedly embarks on a successful crusade to protect the endangered Kermode Bear … see full wiki

Cast: Katie Stuart
Release Date: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Spirit Bear - The Simon Jackson Story

Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story - 2005

  • Jan 18, 2010
Pros: good family movie with powerful message

Cons: none for me

The Bottom Line:
"Today, we must illustrate that the greatest sin is not trying ... "
~Simon Jackson

I recently had the pleasure of watching Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story, which is based on the events in Jackson’s life when he was age 13-17. It was directed by Stefan Scaini, written by Kent Staines. It was nominated for 3 awards, winning one and shows no obvious rating on IMDB but it certainly is a movie that could be viewed by any age.

The principles in the movie are Simon Jackson played by Mark Rendall; Lloyd Blackburn played by Graham Greene; Marcus Perdue played by Katie Stuart; and Frank Perdue played by Ed Begley, Jr. I did have to laugh at the irony of Ed Begley playing the part of the evil destroyer of forest land when he is so obviously a tree hugger in real life.

Simon and the Spirit Bear:
Simon is such a cliched nerd it is almost embarrassing. At age 13, while hiking in the forest taking photographs, he takes a tumble down a ravine. As he attempts to climb out, a large black [maybe brown] bear shows up. At the point that it looks like Simon’s part in the movie is going to be short lived, a large white bear appears out of the forest and confronts the black/brown bear.

After proving to the darker bear he was the alpha bear, the white bear turns to Jackson with almost a benevolent look on his face. He actually approaches Jackson, within touching distance, and allows him to take a photo of him. As Jackson scurries to safety, he runs into Lloyd Blackburn and tells his story.

Lloyd, as part of the wildlife protection agency, has been scouring the woods, looking at the destruction big business, in the form of the lumber industry, has taken on the environment. He tells Jackson the white bear is a Kermode Bear, known as the Spirit Bear, who has been given the task of protecting the spirits of the forest. He says they are rarely seen and have only about 300 left in the world. Their natural habitat is Princess Royal Island, BC, the next area slated for the lumber downfall.

Simon’s mission:
Blackburn gives the idea to Simon, in passing really, that something or someone had to do something to protect these areas and this endangered species. And so Simon begins his campaign to fight big business and the government to protect this area. He forms the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition which continues today as one of the largest youth coalitions with over 3 million members in 60 countries. Jackson, now in his 20’s, continues to fight for the protection of these animals and the area where they live.

This was definitely a feel good movie, made for television. It had those irritating blackout pauses where, when on TV, it fades to commercial. There were no commercials on the DVD, and no extras either. Shame they didn’t include further information about the coalition. The only notation was a brief message at the end of the movie: for more information go to www.spiritbearyouth.org.

What started as a whim grew to epic proportions in a short period of time. This previously shy and retiring youth even had the tenacity to approach Princes William and Henry, when they arrived in BC for an event, to get their support. Schoolmates were divided in their support since most of their parents were associated in some way with the lumber industry, the main staple of employment in this area. His staunchest supporter, by a peer, was Marcus Perdue, the stepdaughter of Frank Perdue, head of the lumber company Jackson was fighting.

The filming was fantastic on this picture with beautiful scenery and clear delivery. Acting was decent, it was a small budget film. Graham Greene played Graham Greene.  He never acts, which is what I love about him. The Trew, supporters of SBYC, appeared in the film in a small part.

Simon Jackson was awarded the Time Magazine “Heroes for the Planet” award, which has only been given to 60 people.

So when I say a movie can be live-changing, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will find wealth and fame. It can simply mean you can change one small corner of your life, which, in turn, can help to save the world.



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