Private Project

A Bear Named Wojtek

Displaced by the Second World War, a troop of Polish soldiers find an inseparable bond through an orphaned bear they name Wojtek.

A BEAR NAMED WOJTEK tells the fantastic journey of an orphaned Syrian brown bear who was adopted by Polish soldiers during World War II, becoming a beacon of hope and an emblem of their fate.

  • Iain Gardner
    The Tannery, Akbar's Cheetah, The Canterbury Tales - The Journey Back, Ethel & Ernest
  • Wojciech Lepianka
    My Father's Bike, Edi, Strazacy
  • Normand Roger
    Father and Daugher, The Man Who Planted Trees,
  • Iain Harvey
    War Game, T.R.A.N.S.I.T., The Snowman, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, When The Wind Blows
  • Wlodzimierz Matuszewski
    Król i królik, Lucky Day Forever, Tryumf pana Kleksa
  • Piotr Baumann
    Key Cast
    Spies of Warsaw, Fortitude
  • Tomek Borkowy
    Key Cast
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Doctor Who
  • Richard Gadd
    Key Cast
    Against the Law, Wedding Season
  • Michael Golab
    Key Cast
    Killing Eve, The Orchard
  • Shauna MacDonald
    Key Cast
    The Descent, Filth
  • Bill Paterson
    Key Cast
    "Zoo Director"
    The Witches, Miss Potter
  • Remi Rachuba
    Key Cast
    Mongrel Country, The Flyer
  • James Sutherland
    Key Cast
    RSJ, The Widower
  • Rachel Bevan Baker
    Art Director
    The Green Man of Knowledge, The Selfish Giant
  • Ross Hogg
    Animation Director
    Spectators, Life Cylces, Isabella
  • Will Anderson
    A Cat Called Dom, Betty
  • Pierre Yves Drapeau
    Sound Design & Mix
    Hollow Land, Rainy Days
  • Nick Harvey
    Executive Producer
    The Rubbish World of Dave Spud, Little Princess, On Angel Wings
  • Joanna Ronikier
    Executive Producer
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 2, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,330,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    Poland, United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English, Polish
  • Shooting Format:
    2D Animation, rotoscope
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival
    Rhode Island, New England
    United States
    August 11, 2023
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • ANIMA, Córdoba International Animation Festival
    October 4, 2023
    South American Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Aesthetica Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    November 9, 2023
    UK Premiere
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • Illuminated Films
    Sales Agent
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Iain Gardner

Iain Gardner graduated from the Royal College of Art, MA in Animation in 1996 with a previous BA Hons in Illustration from The Glasgow School of Art in 1993. Based in Edinburgh, Iain is an animation filmmaker with an International reputation that has been enhanced by the McLAREN 2014 project celebrating the Centenary of Scottish born filmmaker Norman McLaren. His most recent short film THE TANNERY qualified for the long list of 45 short animations considered for the 2012 Academy Awards®.​

His early career got off to a flying start as an apprentice on triple Academy Award® winning Richard Williams’ legendary Masterpiece THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER. Other studios Iain animated at include TVC in London, which produced THE YELLOW SUBMARINE and THE SNOWMAN. His animation techniques are discussed within THE ANIMATION BIBLE by Maureen Furniss (2008) and the 2nd edition of THE FUNDAMENTALS OF ANIMATION (2016).

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

A Bear Named Wojtek is an animated half hour special which took its inspiration from timeless classics such as ‘The Snowman’, ‘Crac!” and ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’.​

Our story follows the Polish 22nd Artillery Corps during WWII who adopt an orphaned Syrian Brown Bear as their mascot – naming him ‘Wojtek’. The theme of people displaced by conflict is, sadly, forever relevant.​

Whilst based on true events, our film is not an animated documentary. I am interested in how within our cultures and traditions we create mythologies in nature to reflect our human experience. Wojtek becomes a metaphor for the refugee.