Bear Nation
watch Bear Nation trailer

Bear Nation

USA, 2010, 87 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Bear, Documentary, Gay
Program: Documentary
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Malcolm Ingram

“What does ‘bear’ mean to you?” asks Bear Nation of the gay men who identify as bears, chase them, and everyone else who wonders what it’s all about. This insightful exploration from the director of Festival favorite doc Small Town Gay Bar swings from heterosexual ignorance to the superficially obvious, then digs deeper into an emotional identification for queer men who felt marginalized… at least until they found others who fit their aesthetic.

The journey begins with reflections of gay bears. For most, there was a dual coming out process, starting with the acceptance of being gay and then experiencing a lack of acceptance in the queer community due to body image. These men then share heart-felt stories of their second coming out: finding other big, hairy guys.

The focus broadens to a “community” of bears, high-lighting Chicago’s annual Bear Pride and clubs like London’s XXL that helped transform the bear movement into a celebrated subculture. This hirsute image has even reached mainstream media. Hetero standup comic Kevin Smith, who passes for bear, candidly and humorously shares his appreciation for the bear image on Tonight with David Letterman and with us.

Acclaimed director Malcolm Ingram deftly guides us from the experience of being lonely and believing a negative self-image to finding acceptance in a big way. The strength, courage and passion of a bear are unmistakable, and those of us watching get brought into the fold. — MARCUS WONACOTT

Text Voting Codes:
Play Date: S509
Bear Nation: D328

Copresented by

Bears of San Francisco and San Francisco Movie Bears


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