When I first heard about bear farms I could hardly believe that humans could treat thousands of these wonderful animals in this way  -  and not even for any necessary purpose. It was beyond my understanding. But I knew straight away that I had to try and make a film to draw the world’s attention to the plight of the bears.

However, making a documentary film and having people want to see it are two different things. That, even though the situation with the bears is awful, I also knew that an audience would be turned off by the relentless cruelty.

So, when I found out about the mission to rescue the bears, I knew that we had the makings of a fuller, rounder story. And one that people might want to see.

Of course, when Jill Robinson and her team set off to drive thousands of kilometres to rescue the bears, they really had little idea of the drama that was to unfold.  

Being able to tell this story has been one of the most satisfying achievements of my career. And I truly hope that audiences get the central message: That these bear farms are shameful and totally unacceptable. And each and every one of them needs to be closed down.

I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Animals Asia. Without them this film would not have been possible. They have supported me all the way, and continue to do so.

Animals Asia has been working in China for more than 13 years on this issue.  It is difficult to exaggerate the value of the work that they do (and, in particular, Jill Robinson’s tireless endeavours). Their efforts in publicizing the situation have drawn worldwide recognition. Their hard work negotiating with the Chinese and Vietnamese governments to close bear farms have proven fruitful. They have made major inroads in educating bear farm owners and bear bile users. And, despite popular misconceptions, they are in fact the only organization to actually rescue bears in China.

To find out more about them and the work that they do, please go to: Animals Asia

Martin Guinness

If you would like to see details of other award-winning films by Martin Guinness, For example “Through a Child’s Eyes” (Best Director at the New York International Film Festival) please click here.

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