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The Stars of Wolves

bigImage Gray Wolf, Scientific Name: Canis Lupus
The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is the largest member of the canine family, measuring 26 to 32 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 70 to 85 pounds. The coloration of the gray wolf is usually tan with gray and black areas. The gray wolf’s territory originally ranged throughout the continental U.S. due to its ability to adapt to temperature extremes. For survival, gray wolves require large expanses of land ranging from 25 to 500 square miles, and large supplies of prey such as deer, moose, and bison. Gray wolves travel in packs with anywhere from two to 15 wolves, including an alpha (dominant) male and female breeding pair, and their offspring. Packs have a sophisticated social structure; they hunt and raise young cooperatively, and they communicate through sounds, scent and body language. Packs require a large territory, with larger packs needing up to 1000 square miles. They can reach speeds of up to 35 mph during a chase. Wolves are very shy of humans, and avoid them whenever possible. There has never been a documented fatal attack of a human by a healthy, wild wolf in North America.

bigImage Arctic Wolf
The Arctic Wolf has evolved a white coat with which it blends into its backdrop of winter snows. During the brief summer, its pale presence can be distinguished from miles away against the gray rock and green mosses of the high north. A million-year-old species, the Arctic wolf still follows in the wake of the herds which once moved across Beringia, the land bridge that connected the Asian and North American continents. The hunt unfolds like an age-old dance. Neither predator nor prey has easy work in this dangerous duel. Evolution has equipped the primordial musk-ox with strong hooves and curved horns, a mighty defense against any predator's efforts. But over time, the wolf has mastered a hunting strategy, a technique that begins with forcing the herd to run. Weak or sick animals stand out immediately from the herd, and the wolves choose the best candidate for their next meal.

Koani, Wolf Ambassador
Koani is a wild wolf who was born in captivity in May 1991. Shortly after her birth, she was adopted by a human couple. The human couple never viewed Koani as a pet. They accepted the responsibility of raising a tiny pup for a very specific role – that of ambassador wolf for her entire species. Wildlife biologist Pat Tucker and writer Bruce Weide care for huge, black Koani with the goal of using her to help people understand what real wolves are really all about. But keeping a adult wolf healthy and happy is a demanding task. Pat and Bruce walk through the forest for several hours every with Koani at the other end of a 60-foot leash. Koani is a traveling companion, but not a pet. Throughout small western towns, Pat, Bruce, Koani, and her canine companion Indy help thousands of schoolchildren each year to reassess their view of the wolf. Telling stories and using biology to replace folklore, they are preparing a new generation for a world that includes wolves. A slide show takes the classroom into the folklore of the past, and compares it with scientific facts so that students can make up their own minds about wolves.

Steve Torbit, Senior Scientific Advisor to WOLVES
Scientific accuracy is vital to the integrity of any major film undertaking involving a wild creature and a wilderness area. Therefore, the producers of Wolves turned to Dr. Steve Torbit, Senior Scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, to ensure that the film benefited from top scientific expertise. Since earning his Ph.D. at Colorado State University, Steve has worked in every aspect of wildlife conservation including stints as an instructor, biologist, wildlife population manager, and consultant to federal and state agencies. More recently, Steve worked as a member of the National Wildlife Federation's team on the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone Park. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt appointed Steve to the 1996 Green River Basin Federal Advisory Committee which is evaluating the development of gas and oil resources on federal lands in Wyoming and Colorado. In addition, Steve has served as an expert witness in many legal forums and is technical consultant to the NWF's movie production subsidiary, National Wildlife Productions. Currently, he leads NWF's effort to assist Native Americans with the restoration of bison to their reservations and to the Western prairie ecosystem.

Sophie Czetwertynski, Biologist
Another source of expert assistance and participation for the challenges faced in the making of Wolves came from Quebec biologist, Sophie Czetwertynski who was Field Supervisor for the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve Wolf Ecology Project, the activities of which are highlighted in one of the film's segments. The specific purpose of the field work for this program was to gather data on the Eastern Timber wolf population. This required the capturing, collaring and physical examination of 65 wolves in the wild. Czetwertynski's careful example provides viewers with insights into the special efforts biologists make when examining their study subjects, so as to inflict the least possible amount of stress and damage as well as human interference on their charges.

Robbie Robertson, Narrator
Melodies have been in his blood since his early teens when Robbie Robertson, who is of Mohawk descent, first picked up a guitar one summer while visiting relations on a reservation. He went on to play in teen groups in Toronto. At the age of 17 two of his songs were recorded by Ronnie Hawkins. In 1960, he joined Hawkins's backup band, The Hawks, and went on to make musical history. His signature-bluesy renditions have influenced musicians during a career that has straddled four decades. He was leader of Bob Dylan’s legendary back-up group The Band and has shared the musical stage with such well-known performers as Chuck Berry, Dylan, Levon Helm, Jesse Winchester, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Van Morrison, and Hirth Martinez. He was the first rock 'n roller to seriously engage the medium of film, writing the music for the 1979 film Carny, starring Jodie Foster and Gary Busey; in 1980, he also did the background and source music for Scorsese's Raging Bull. His Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Songwriters is simply one in an endless list of accolades that attest to his consummate skills as a performer, songwriter, album producer, and film score composer.

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Wolves: Behind the Scenes Real 300 K

Wolves: Koani Real 300 K

Wolves: Proper Role Real 300 K

Wolves: Trailer Real 300 K

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A National Wildlife Federation Presentation in collaboration with Primesco Communications. Producer: Goulam Amarsy. Associate Producer: Diane Roberts. Director: David Douglas. Distributed by National Wildlife Federation and Primesco Communications. Japanese Distributor: Cinema Japan Co., Ltd. Executive Producer: Christopher Palmer. Narrator: Robbie Robertson. Composer: Michael Cusson.


Outside Reviews:

"Wolves (IMAX)" By Cassandra Nunn,

"Wolves could use more bite" By Tyler McCleod, Calgary Sun

"Wolves" By Aaron Beierle,

"Call of the mild" By Shelly Decker, Edmonton Sun

"Wolves" By Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle

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