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Behind the Scenes: Wild Canada – A World of Wonders

This four-part documentary presents the breath-taking beauty of Canada’s nature. By displaying several memorable places such as the magical rainforests of British Columbia, the Rocky Mountains’ majestic peaks, the prairie’s endless grasslands or the Arctic’s ice sheet, this comprehensive portrait provides spectacular insights into the North American flora and fauna.

Canada is the second biggest country in the world, triumphed only by Russia in size. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find countless natural wonders in such a vast region, as director and author of the series, Jeff Turner recounts: “By helicopter, we travelled to a remote region at Leaf River, where caribous are gathering since primeval times to calve.”
Within ten days, thousands of kilometres of territory were covered. Nevertheless, only small groups of caribous were to be found. The main population of the animals seemingly evaded the camera crew. “This just shows how incredibly huge this region is“, says Turner. “One would think that finding a herd of 400,000 caribous might not be that hard.”

A Canadian cinematographer, he wanted to record the beauty of his homeland’s nature. During filming, Turner benefited from his long-time experience in dealing with wild animals. “We wanted to film grizzly bears in the Yukon region, where these animals go into hibernation rather late in the year“, the filmmaker recounts. “They hunt salmons in order to grow a considerable layer of fat before they face their months-long phase of dormancy.”

The grizzlies are protected animals, which results in them not considering humans as a threat – and so they are quite relaxed. “These huge bears were less than two meters away from me while filming – but I felt completely safe being this close to them”, Jeff Turner remembers. The results are breath-taking close-ups from grizzlies as ‘ice bears’, when covered in water, snow and frost.

Unexpectedly, filming the autumnal and beautifully coloured forest of Algonquin Park in Ontario proved to be a most lavish and complicated shoot. “You wouldn’t believe it, but the camera equipment for these simple-looking scenes – like leaves falling from the trees down to the ground – altogether weighed 800 kilograms. For these scenes, we had more equipment at use than for any other shoot in the entire four-part series.”

Fall colors in Algonquin Park, Ontario Director and cameraman Jeff Turner filming a grizzly

 

Read more about the series and watch the programme’s official trailer by following this link.