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Conservation Project Seeks Local Filmmakers to Make Bear Documentary

FOUR PAWS Viet Wildlife Conservation Center is looking for a Vietnamese filmmaker to create a documentary about the stories of their rescued bears at the Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh.

According to the open call, eligible filmmakers have until November 24 to apply, and the film production period will run from January to August 2022. With the documentary, the organizers hope to raise awareness about cruel practices like bear bile farming and consumption, as well as cultivating in viewers a sense of empathy for these endangered animals. 

Nguyễn Lê Thùy Linh, FOUR PAWS Viet Education and Communication Manager, shares with Urbanist in an email: “All the former bile bears suffered from horrific captive environments before they were rescued. They were poached from the wild from a very young age and the mothers were often killed in the process. They would then be sold in the illegal wildlife trade to be someone’s pet or to the bear farms.”

In the wild, Asiatic black bears often live for 25–35 years. Most of the bile farm bears at the Ninh Binh sanctuary had been living in a small cage for 10–20 years before they were rescued. 

Linh continues: “Oi and Dua spent 15 years in the bear farms, they were abused so badly that they weren’t really bears anymore. We rescued them last November and after a year, they have become friends and do all the ‘bear stuff’ at the outdoor enclosure like foraging, swimming in the pool and playing with each other all day. Their resilience and forgiveness are incredible.”

Oi and Dua’s are just two of the many stories that can be told with the documentary. The film is expected to shed light on the illegal wildlife trade, illegal bear keeping, and bear bile farming. The filmmaker can also follow the team in case of a sudden bear rescue. 

The project is a collaboration between FOUR PAWS Viet and the Center for Nature Conservation and Development (CCD), with support from the Goethe-Institute. The chosen candidate will receive storytelling training as well as a budget of EUR7,000 for the film production. The final product will also be promoted on both local and global platforms.

To see the eligibility requirements and apply for the project, visit this link

[Photo by Hang Dinh Le via FOUR PAWS]

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