Kingdom of the Polar Bears Documentary | 2 x 1 hr Series | Language: English

Veteran polar bear guide Dennis Compayre prepares for a remarkable expedition, following polar bears for an entire year to learn how they survive. From the birthing den to precarious sea ice, a mother bear leads her cubs on the journey of a lifetime.

As the Arctic changes faster than ever, veteran polar bear guide Dennis Compayre prepares for an epic journey; to follow polar bears for an entire year and find out how they survive despite treacherous conditions and a changing climate.

Kingdom of the Polar Bears is a two-part documentary series from CBC’s The Nature of Things, which tells the heartwarming tale of a mother polar bear as she introduces her two newborn cubs to their icy world for the first time and also provides some surprising evidence for how these animals are adapting to the changes in their mysterious realm.

Episode One introduces us to our guide, Dennis Compayre. He has lived his entire life among polar bears, and on the precipice of retirement, his last mission is to follow the bears for an entire year to see first-hand how polar bears are surviving. Using technology, gut instinct and his years of experience, he takes us out into the frozen north. In brutal temperatures, he waits patiently for the moment the newborn cubs poke their heads out of the den to experience the world for the first time. Compayre watches as the polar bear mom prepares her cubs for the perilous trek back to Hudson Bay and across the sea ice to hunt seals, teaching them how to survive in a world of dangers.

In Episode Two, Compayre travels by land and sea to witness the dangers a mother polar bear and her two cubs face as they negotiate the shifting ice, unpredictable weather and predators that threaten young cubs. As summer arrives, Compayre sees the return of his beloved bears to land and meets Robert Rockwell, a population biologist and ecologist from the Hudson Bay Project, who explains that shorter hunting seasons and less seal meat are pushing the bears to find new food sources. The amazing discovery of a group of large bears offshore is a great sign of hope and gives Compayre clues to how the bears are adapting to the changes in their environment and also their diet.

Kingdom of the Polar Bears reveals the amazing ways the polar bears of Hudson Bay are fighting to survive in a changing world, asking a crucial question: is it possible for the bears to adapt in time?


  • Genre: Documentary
  • Running Time: 2 x 1 hour
  • Writers: Erna Buffie, Alexis Barbier-Bouvet
  • Director: Alexis Barbier-Bouvet
  • Producers: Merit Jensen Carr, Sally Blake, Patrice Lorton
  • Original Music by: Thomas Mercier
  • Format: HD
  • Languages: English
  • Subtitles: Yes


Dennis Compayre is a native of Churchill, Manitoba and a pioneer in the movement to introduce the world to polar bears in the wild. He is regarded as one of the most experienced guides on Hudson Bay.

“They’re a part of my identity, they’re part of who I am. I’ve seen all the range of emotions these animals go through and I can connect with every emotion they show me. They experience the same emotions we do as a human; only it’s much more simple.”

Production Team

Alexis Barbier-Bouvet | Director

Since 1997, Alexis has directed and edited documentary films for various television channels for France 5, Planète, Canal and Arte. He is particularly interested in the relationship between man and nature. His latest notable works in production and editing are: Pour quelques degrés de plus (for Arte), Humain 3.0 (for Planète), Antartica (for Arte), Paris: une histoire Capitale (for Planète), and Pallawan: la rivière mystérieuse (for Arte).

Merit Jensen Carr | Producer

For over 30 years, Merit Motion Pictures (MMP) has worked with Canada’s foremost writers and directors to produce award-winning documentary films and series. During this time, MMP has partnered with BBC, ARTE, ZDF, France TV, Vulcan, CBC, Smithsonian Channel, National Geographic Channel and many others. MMP is a frequent partner for international science and nature co-productions and is fortunate to have access to the highest and most flexible tax credits in Canada. Executive producer and founder, Merit Jensen Carr, is passionate about telling stories which reflect humanity’s relationship with the natural world and has received some of the industry’s top honours including the inaugural HOT DOCS Don Haig Award for Special Achievement in Producing. Recent highlights include the MMP & CAPA/Films A Cinq science and nature co-production, Reef Rescue (ARTE, CBC, NOVA, VULCAN) winner of Best Conservation Film Long Form at the Jackson Wild Media Awards 2020. Merit is currently producing the 2 x 1hr natural history series Kingdom of the Polar Bears (National Geographic Channels, France 3, CBC, Terra Mater, Canal D); Great Lakes (Smithsonian, TVO, Terra Mater); Everest Dark (CBC documentary Channel) and season 4 of Dr. Keri: Prairie Vet (Animal Planet). Other highlights include the Canadian Screen Award-winning films What Plants Talk About (CBC/PBS Nature), Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees nominated at Pariscience and the Canadian Screen Awards for Best Science and Nature Film, Turtle Beach (BBC, ARTE, Blue Ant, CBC) and Polar Bear Town (Smithsonian Channel US, OLN).

Sally Blake | Producer

Sally Blake is a Canadian producer/director living in France, and partner in Films à Cinq. With a strong interest in art and culture, recent films include Cinema Through the Eye of Magnum (ARTE, BBC, TMC, Canal+, Telluride premier); Beauty and Ruin (ARTE, AVRO, Superchannel, premier FIFA, Austin Film Festival) and the docu-animated hybrid web series The Real History of H.I.P.H.O.P. (ARTE Creative). At the same time, and in the face of grave environmental threats, Sally is dedicated more films to the theme of science and the natural world. Recent productions include The Messenger (Netflix, ARTE, CBC, Canal D, winner Best Conservation Film at Jackson Wild, cinema release North America) and The Shadow of Gold (ARTE, TVO, Canal D, SVT, Canadian cinema release). Her upcoming films include Reef Rescue (ARTE, CBC, Vulcan) and King of the North (France Television, Nat Geo Wild, CBC).

Patrice Lorton | Producer

For media inquiries, please contact:

Ophélie Petit | Email: ophelie@meritmotionpictures.com | Tel: +1 (204) 775-4092