It’s been a long hill to climb getting Big Dream Little Bears ready for release. It’s hard for anyone outside the movie business to know how many processes a film goes through before it can be broadcast. Just look at the long list of credits on any small, seemingly low budget, documentary and think how many experts and expert wages are involved. It took a while, too long, for us to realise that we weren’t going to get any technical or financial help, so there were no options for us other than to give up on the project or do everything ourselves. Score the music, many hundreds of hours at the edit suite, colour grade, record voice-overs, do the graphics, sound mix, arrange preview screenings etc. etc. etc, on and on it goes.
It wasn’t much of a decision really. We knew we wouldn’t give up on it.
From the beginning, when we first began talking with Wong via Skype, we were determined to do a film that brought the actual people, the real experts doing the heavy lifting, to the forefront of the story. We’ve all seen so many, often very good, celebrity driven documentaries where the true stars of the story are relegated to the background. We thought surely there is an audience taste to meet these dedicated, hard working and hardy individuals doing the back-breaking, often dangerous work, for us all.
We’re glad film stars and other concerned celebrities break their busy schedules to use their high profiles to help. Fantastic. We congratulate them. It’s a selfless and much valued contribution. We believed there was also room for a film that got inside the lives of the people on the ground, a story that showed their hopes, fears, humour, disappointments and victories while fighting to overcome so many obstacles between them and their goals.
Judging from the wonderful reactions to our test screenings at universities and colleges here in Australia, and considering Big Dream Little Bears was selected by World Kids International Film Festival to tour schools in Mumbai for a year and is an Official Selection for the CSIRO Australian Science Film Festival, there is an audience hunger to delve a little deeper into the subject. We’ve had over 65,000 hits on our Youtube site alone. None of that helped us get it broadcast on TV of course, but frankly, we don’t give a damn, we’ve taken a page from Wong’s book, just keep moving forward, one small step at a time. There is an audience out there and we can get it to them, you, on the web.
It’s a great freedom actually, having done all the work and financed it all ourselves, we don’t owe any production company or network anything. It’s ours to do as we want. So we’ve decided to release it Video On Demand and give 40% of the profits to the BSBCC.
I remember well at one point while filming Big Dream I spent six or seven days on a ladder in the sun waiting for the first bear to take it’s freedom. Constant spider webs being woven on the camera, ducking bees, covered in ants, swatting mosquitoes, feet numbed and trying not to touch the electric fence (it finally zapped me). I would gladly triple that time than do one more minute of writing letters or filling in applications to get this film out to the world. Time to get the show on the road.
What better way and what better time to do so than to have Wong, the man who dreamt the dream to release the littlest bears on earth, officially announce the release of Big Dream Little Bears at his TED talk on the 14th of July.
I hope a lot of Malaysians see this program and realise what their incredible, highly trained fellow countrymen are doing to save their heritage. Borneo is a jewel of the world.
Howard Jackson & Dr Audrey Low