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The Naturalist ~ Kent Bonar

2001, Color/B&W, 32 minutes, DVD

Kent Bonar, who has been called the "John Muir of the Ozarks," is one of America's great naturalists. Living without modern amenities in the tradition of Thoreau, Leopold and Muir, Bonar has spent his life observing and recording the natural history of the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks. The Naturalist documents the work and philosophies of this extraordinary modern-day woodsman.

The Naturalist highlights the work and philosophies of an extraordinary modern-day woodsman. Kent Bonar, who has been called the "John Muir of the Ozarks," is one of America's great naturalists. Living without modern amenities in the tradition of Thoreau and Muir, Bonar has spent his life observing and recording the natural history of the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks. Bonar melds philosophy, spirituality, wood-lore, and art into a simple yet profound lifestyle; his example is a powerful antidote to the cynicism and artifice of modern culture. The Naturalist also screened at the 2001 Savannah Film & Video Festival in Georgia and will be included in the East Coast PBS series, "Through the Lens," which begins airing in the fall of 2002.

"The Naturalist is somewhat of a departure from previous High Plains films," commented Director Doug Hawes-Davis. "All of our work has documented culture's relationship with nature, but most of our films have been relentlessly issue oriented. The Naturalist takes a step back from individual issues and examines one person's practice of interacting with the natural world. And through Kent Bonar's example, we get a glimpse of how culture can begin to redefine its relationship with nature."

Montana filmmakers, Doug Hawes-Davis and Dru Carr, worked over a period of four years to complete the movie about Bonar. "Apart from a very small grant from the Rolla, Missouri-based, R. Wakeham Fund, we had essentially no funding for the project," director, Hawes-Davis said. "It's just something we wanted to do. Dru and I are both Ozark natives and wanted to create something that would get people interested in the incredible work that Kent has done," he added, "The Ozark Mountain region is a little known, but phenomenal landscape and Kent's work illustrates that beautifully." The film features an original soundtrack from Montana musician Aaron Parrett and Birmingham, Alabama musician, Ned Mudd. Maple Lake Releasing will handle broadcast sales, home video and theatrical distribution. The University of California distributes the film to non-theatrical markets.

Since 1992, Missoula, Montana-based non-profit production company, High Plains Films, has produced and distributed fourteen documentaries that explore our relationship with the natural world. High Plains Films have won more than 30 awards and been screened at film festivals and theaters world-wide. Other titles include The Naturalist 2001, Killing Coyote 2000, Wind River 1999, Southbound 1995, and This is Nowhere 2002.

Producer: High Plains Films

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