Epic Yellowstone

bison-in-yellowstone1200.jpg

EPIC YELLOWSTONE


Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Thomas Winston and Shasta Grenier Winston, the husband and wife directorial team behind EPIC YELLOWSTONE the new Smithsonian Channel series from Grizzly Creek Films, that offers a front row seat to the extraordinary spectacle of wildlife and dramatic seasonal extremes in the iconic crown jewel of America’s national parks.

Hosted by renowned actor and Montana local Bill Pullman, and filmed over the course of three years, the series delivers stories from Yellowstone never told before. The stunning four-part project uses state-of-the art 8K cameras, FLIR thermal imagery, drone timelapse, cineflex aerials and miniature nest cameras to reveal the world of Yellowstone’s predators and prey in jaw-dropping beauty – shot fully in the wild with no captive or enclosed animals. 

“This project has been a long time in the making, documenting the awe-inspiring lives and natural splendor of Yellowstone over the past three years,” said Pullman. “I’ve long been aware of the incredible beauty of Yellowstone, so I’m thrilled to partner with Smithsonian Channel to bring this groundbreaking endeavor to viewers at home.”

“Yellowstone is a magical landscape that has a special and emotional place in the American psyche,” said David Royle, EVP and Chief Programming Officer, Smithsonian Networks. “Our filmmakers’ commitment and the extraordinary developments in new technology have enabled us to capture this world in a way that’s never been seen before. It’s full of unexpected moments and wondrous details – and even behavior that has never been seen on camera before.”

Established by Congress in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is known for its varied wildlife and extraordinary natural wonders. The park spans over 3,000 square miles and comprises lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges, including the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano in North America, and the legendary geyser, Old Faithful.

The first episode, FIRE AND ICE, showcases the park’s toughest inhabitants who remain year round, and tells surprisingly intimate stories of survival in Yellowstone’s most spectacular season – winter. After the first storms blanket the park, a bobcat is lured to the banks of the Madison River, kept open by geothermal springs, to hunt for waterfowl. A family of otters makes the long trek to find isolated fishing holes that haven’t frozen over, while a bison matriarch leads her herd on its annual migration to the warmth of Yellowstone’s geothermal core. An unprecedented look at the park’s iconic geysers and hot springs through thermal imagery illuminates the otherworldly landscape inhabited by both predators and prey that are drawn to this beating heart of the park.

RETURN OF THE PREDATORS is the second episode.  Having been reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995 after a 70-year absence, wolves have reignited an age-old battle between predator and prey. The Wapiti Pack, the largest in Yellowstone, has earned a reputation for ferocity. Now a young, lone wolf, “Blacktail,” seeks to join their ranks as they master the art of taking down a mighty bison. But wolves aren’t the only force keeping Yellowstone’s herds in check. The endangered Yellowstone grizzly population has made a remarkable comeback, rising from a low point of fewer than 150 bears to more than 700 today. Many are descendants of legendary matriarch “Quad-Mom,” who, at more than 20 years old, is raising two new cubs – perhaps the last of her litters. She must defend the cubs against giant boar grizzlies and teach the cubs to hunt newborn elk. As the family ventures to the high alpine in search of a rare treat, darkness descends on Yellowstone during a total solar eclipse.

The third episode is LIFE ON THE WING. Soaring above Old Faithful, the cascading Lower Falls and the brilliant Grand Prismatic Springs, Yellowstone’s winged creatures survey an extraordinary landscape. Winter’s silence is broken only by the song of the American dipper, North America’s only aquatic songbird, which feasts on tiny insects gathered from the river bottom. Spring heralds a dramatic chorus as seasonal migrants flock to the park, nesting in every niche provided by its mosaic of forests, grasslands and wetlands. Breeding sandhill cranes perform their annual courtship dance as they renew lifelong partnerships with their mates. Summer brings opportunities for birds to take advantage of the season’s bounty alongside bears and bison as the park’s wildlife population swells with new arrivals. A pair of bluebirds works feverishly to deliver food to two consecutive broods nestled inside a treehole, while an osprey fends off a peregrine falcon’s attack to defend his catch. As chicks compete for food, aggressive siblings turn on the weakest with dramatic effect.

The final episode is DOWN THE RIVER WILD. As the longest undammed river in the United States, the Yellowstone River moves untamed through its 700-mile journey. In the heart of winter, trumpeter swans congregate at the river’s outlet on Yellowstone Lake’s northern end, sheltering in its geothermally warmed waters. The river’s biggest vertical drop over the iconic Upper and Lower Falls poses a danger for even the strongest swimmers – a family of river otters makes a daring portage down the cliffs to reach fishing grounds at the bottom of the waterfall. Spring’s thaw unleashes millions of gallons of meltwater and transforms the tranquil river into a raging torrent, forcing a sow grizzly and bison herd to ford treacherous rapids while protecting their young.  Summer brings an easier flow to the river as it leaves the confines of the park and winds through Paradise Valley. Fly fishermen take advantage of the seasonal swarm of salmon fly hatch as fireworks from Livingstone’s Fourth of July rodeo light up the sky. The river leaves the mountains behind and enters the prairie, where new creatures emerge – distant echoes from the muddy Mississippi that grow stronger as the river’s journey nears its end.

EPIC YELLOWSTONE is produced by Grizzly Creek Films for Smithsonian Channel. Tom Winston is executive producer, founder and president of Grizzly Creek Films, a full service production company that has created original series and specials for The National Geographic Channel, NatGeo WILD, History Channel and PBS. His films have been winners and finalists at Wildscreen Festival, the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Shasta Grenier Winston’s writing and producing credits include work in both television and documentary film. The three feature documentaries she has directed have earned Emmy, CINE Golden Eagle, and numerous film festival awards. Her most recent feature, Not Yet Begun to Fight, was selected by Roger Ebert to appear at Ebertfest. Tria Thalman and David Royle are executive producers for Smithsonian Channel.

For viewing dates, times and outlets, visit www.GrizzlyCreekFilms.com and www.SmithsonianChannel.com.

National Parks Arts Foundatio International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No Feedback Received