American Bear is authentic, unscripted Americana at its best—the top road travel story since Kerouac’s 1957 defining work of postwar Beat and Counterculture, On the Road. American Bear investigates our assumptions about human nature, interrogates our comfort zones and encourages us to listen to each other in order to grow in moral development.
Sarah Sellman and Greg Grano’s American Bear is not just any road-trip flick; no, far from it. This is a spiritual journey of love between two people who are on a pilgrimage to understand their fellow man. The faith, joy, vulnerability of the protagonists in this film will pull at your heart- something rare in film today. If I could program this film every year, I would.
American Bear is a thoughtful film that creatively touches on two of our nation’s core values—trust and sense of community. The film’s content is timely and thought provoking. It is the perfect documentary film for introduction courses but would also work well with advances classes. Greg and Sarah complement their film with their masterfully designed “Bear Talks” series, which can be tailored to a variety of courses. My Introduction to Sociology students were engaged throughout their talk and many of them even stayed afterwards to talk to Greg and Sarah personally about their thoughts and reactions. Needless to say, I recommend the American Bear without reservations!
This film is a delightful and unexpected pleasure. It belongs in the classic road trip genre. Filled with unexpected moments, it blends the best of the reality and documentary traditions.
To believe – without qualification – in the kindness of strangers is to understand existence as both a mere-ness and immensity. To extend kindness, as accomplishment, as celebration, is to be extended. How does one navigate through the new millennium American psyche and still maintain faith in others? With Sellman and Grano, we witness the creation of atlas, western consciousness as continental map…
American Bear is a thoughtful, provocative and, ultimately, redemptive film about trusting in the kindness of strangers. Take this trip with Sarah and Greg. You’ll be happy you did.
Thirty states later, the film includes tales as vast and different as all the places they visited…The majority of the people that took them into their homes had recently experienced some kind of loss, death, job, a major change, etc...Yet even with all these interesting characters, I am most intrigued by Sarah and Greg. They are bright, creative and brave, yet feel so ordinary, in a really beautiful way. Their gentle authenticity is a story all in itself.
Greg and Sarah at the American Documentary Film Festival.