Byron Horner: Great Bear Rainforest

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Upon completing university, Byron Horner and Ian McAllister, long- standing best friends, chose career paths that went off in completely different directions:  Byron to become a corporate lawyer and businessman; Ian an environmentalist, photographer and film maker.  Many years later fate re-connected them for the making of IMAX film: The Great Bear Rainforest when Byron, as President of Spirit Bear Entertainment Inc., took on his company’s challenge to become Executive Producer of a film about this remote and unique ecosystem north of Vancouver Island.  Shot exclusively for the giant screen, the film will offer a remarkable journey into one of the planet’s most spectacular wildernesses – a land of wolves, grizzly bears, humpback whales, sea lions, sea otters and others – as it explores the secret world of the Spirit Bear. Using First Nations people as guides, the film follows the herring run in March through to the salmon run in September.

On May 4th, Byron spoke at our PROBUS meeting about the making of this film which, he said,  is “not Hollywood” and not expected to become a big money maker;  instead he defined it as one of his company’s “passion projects”.   With no roads going to any of the areas, which are only accessible by boat or plane, it was not an easy project to tackle.  This enormous conservancy/reserve  still has one of the lowest populations per square mile on earth. The area itself is in the hands of the First Nations people from whom they  had to get permission to make the film.  Byron defined First Nations people as “critical to the area” and whom the film company used extensively during its production as guides and advisors.

Great Bear Rainforest features one of the rarest animals on Earth – the fabled all-white Spirit Bear. These remarkable creatures, a rare subspecies of the American black bear, are the result of tens of thousands of years of evolution. They live in the lush temperate rainforests of British Columbia, where they hold almost mythic status among the region’s indigenous people. To read more about Spirit Bears, go to

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