B.C. Teen Sparks Global Enviroment Movement in Award Winning CTV Original Movie Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story, June 4
Graham Greene, Ed Begley Jr. and Mark Rendall Star in Festival Favourite Inspired by Passionate 15-year-old Political Activist
Toronto, ON (May 8, 2006) - CTV announced today the world television premiere of its original movie Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story on Sunday, June 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV and in High Definition on CTV HD East and CTV HD West (check local listings). Inspired by a true story, this heart-warming movie dramatizes how one Canadian teen's commitment to make a difference led to an ongoing global movement to save the endangered Spirit Bear - also known as the Kermode - a rare, white subspecies of the black bear found in British Columbia's North Coast.
Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story has been embraced by audiences across the country and around the world at prestigious national and international film festivals. Recently nominated for a 2006 Banff World Television Award for Best Family and Youth Program, Spirit Bear was the 2005 Audience Choice Award winner at the Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children. It also won the Children's Audience Choice Award at the Mill Valley Film Festival (California) and was an official selection at the Atlantic Film Festival (Halifax), Calgary Film Festival, Chicago International Children's Festival, London Children's Film Festival (UK), Whistler Film Festival and Reel to Reel Festival (Vancouver). Upcoming festival screenings include Alaska Children's Festival (Homer, Alaska) and Little Big Shots in Australia (Melbourne and Sydney).
** Media Note ** Download photos from Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story at www.ctvmedia.ca.
Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story is about 15-year-old Simon Jackson (Mark Rendall, (Childstar, ReGenesis), a real-life, average teen who spends time hiking in the British Columbian wilderness. Nearly attacked by a ferocious black bear, Jackson is rescued by a rare white Kermode Bear known as the "Spirit Bear." When he discovers that these bears are endangered and their habitat is targeted for clear-cut logging, Jackson turns into a passionate and vocal teen political activist. With the help of Lloyd Blackburn (Graham Greene, Transamerica, Into The West), Jackson takes on the powerful forestry industry and the provincial government, eventually rallying young people around the world in support of the Spirit Bear. In the real life story that inspired this dramatization, the outcome of Simon Jackson's David vs. Goliath fight was the protection of more than 600,000 hectares of Canada's Princess Royal Island, one of the largest land protection battles ever won. It also led to Jackson being named one of Time magazine's 60 Heroes for the Planet in 2000 and to the creation of The Spirit Bear Youth Coalition (www.spiritbearyouth.org), the world's largest environmental network of young people with over six million members in 30 countries, spearheaded and founded by Jackson himself, who remains the Executive Director.
"The story of Simon Jackson's fight to save the Spirit Bear is an inspiring one that will appeal to viewers of all ages," said Susanne Boyce, CTV's President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group. "Embraced by film festivals in Canada and around the world, the powerful message that Spirit Bear delivers is that one person really can make a difference."
"The Kermode bear is Canada's Panda - a unique species that is endangered and is under Canada's watch," said Heather Haldane, Producer. "Our 'little movie that could' is bringing the world's attention to the bear and to the real Simon Jackson, an impassioned and committed young man. Mark Rendalll, Ed Begley Jr and Graham Greene all felt a personal connection to Simon's passionate defense of the bear and came aboard with a great sense of purpose. It was a real pleasure to see this in the process of making this film."
Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story also stars Emmy-nominated actor and real-life environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. (St. Elsewhere, Six Feet Under) as Frank Perdue, the head of the large log conglomerate and Katie Stuart (Poltergeist: The Legacy, Stargate, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) as Marcus, Simon's best friend. JUNO-nominated band The Trews make a special appearance as themselves.
Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story is a Screen Door and Massey Productions co-production in association with CTV. Mary Young Leckie is Executive Producer (Shades of Black, Prom Queen: The Marc Hall Story). Producers are Heather Haldane (Shades of Black, Prom Queen: The Marc Hall Story), Raymond Massey (The Papal Chase, Letters) and Cheryl-Lee Fast (Long Life Happiness & Prosperity, The Burial Society). Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story is written by Kent Staines (Prom Queen: The Marc Hall Story) and directed by Stefan Scaini (Burn: The Robert Wraight Story; Degrassi: The Next Generation). Robin Johnston is the CTV production executive for the movie. Bill Mustos is Senior Vice-President, Dramatic Programming for CTV. Susanne Boyce is President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group.
Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story is the latest dramatic title in CTV's Signature Series, CTV's original movie production strand that features programming dealing with social issues of national importance. Previous titles that have enjoyed critical and ratings success include Selling Innocence, the latest CTV original movie to break the one million viewer mark with an average audience of 1.07 million viewers* in April; One Dead Indian; Milgaard; The Sheldon Kennedy Story; Tagged: The Jonathan Wamback Story; Prom Queen: The Marc Hall Story; Choice: The Henry Morgentaler Story and Plague City. Titles in CTV's Signature Series, slated for upcoming broadcast include Doomstown and Last Exit. CTV's Signature Series was established in 1997.
CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster, offers a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming. It has the number-one national newscast, CTV National News With Lloyd Robertson, and is the number-one choice for prime-time viewing. CTV owns 21 conventional television stations across Canada and has interests in 14 specialty channels, including the number-one Canadian specialty channel, TSN. CTV is owned by Bell Globemedia, Canada's premier multi-media company. More information about CTV may be found on the company Web site at www.ctv.ca.