Bear Hunter

A hunter strapped for cash must face off with a deadly predator, it’s anyone’s game in this forest showdown.

  • Maxford Robert Luke Jeffs-Waddell
  • Maxford Robert Luke Jeffs-Waddell
  • Tyson Michael Pearce
    Key Cast
    "All the Bears"
  • Noah Douglas Grittani
    Key Cast
    "The Hunter"
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    action, comedy, sci-fi
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 23, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    220 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Etobicoke School of the Arts
  • ESA Big Screen Film Festival
    April 19, 2023
    World Premier
    Best Screenwriting
Director Biography - Maxford Robert Luke Jeffs-Waddell

I am a 17-year-old student attending Etobicoke School of the Arts, enrolled in their film program. My films explore themes of forgiveness and self-acceptance, but I like making people laugh above all. I try to do something wildly different with each new movie I make and really challenge myself.

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Director Statement

Like most of my films, Bear Hunter was made to challenge and express myself. And what better way to do that than make a guy fight a bear? The impetus of the film was wanting to return to action movies, while also layering more meaning and humour on top of it.

The film is structured around switching action subgenres during one continuous fight. The idea of this came from watching Everything Everywhere All At Once, and how during many parts of the film the characters will switch from one universe to another midway through a conversation or brawl. But at the same time, I didn’t want to just copy what they did so it became more about tone and movement than location and costuming. This idea was kicking around in my head for a long time before I had an actual plot, and I only joined it with the Bear Hunter project after I started writing the script.

This movie was created in my mind very differently than my previous films, it didn’t come from a brainstorming session or an image in my head, but from a running joke. See for a while now I’ve had a joke with my friends that I earnestly believe that I could win a fight with a bear “You just need to get low to the ground and spear it when it lunges at you”- I would say unconvincingly to my friends. And eventually, that joke grew into a rough idea for a film, “Man Fights a Bear” was all I had at that point but the rest of it came together pretty quickly. The one thing I remember being hard to decide was who won the brawl, if the Man wins it's an underdog story, but if the Bear wins then it's unexpected. Ultimately I went down the middle and it drastically changed the outcome and themes of the film, that is the Man wins but the Bear has the moral victory.

The themes of Bear Hunter weren’t present when I initially drafted the movie but rather developed as I wrote the ending of the movie. The conclusion of the film is very important to me as I wanted those final moments to stick with the viewer more than the rest of the film, that final shift in tone away from lighthearted action is where most of the narrative substance of the film lies. That “substance” is the themes of human nature and change that are brought up in the Bear’s monologue but are ultimately present throughout the film in a strangely unintended way.
The Bear waxing poetic was originally meant to be another joke, the harsh tonal shift was meant to be a parody of when bad action movies try to be deep. But it evolved past that into what I think is a pretty poignant message. You side with the Hunter in the fight because the Bear is big and scary and in opposition to the protagonist, and the movie is so fast-paced you don’t get time to stop and think at all. That’s why when the movie slows down and reality sets in it’s made clear that the Bear was never evil, but that it was merely how things would always play out between a man and a Bear, unless we change.