This blog follows the journey of Sarah and Greg as they made their film. To see a trailer, read more, learn about the progress of the film or share your story visit AMERICANBEARFILM.COM

60 days. 25 States. 5 Bears.

Sarah and Greg are setting out on an adventure exploring American trust and fear through hospitality. Armed with their charm, courage, and a camera, they will rely on the kindness of strangers for a home each night, and if they're lucky, a few meals along the way.

The story began in summer 2009 when Greg exclaimed in his sleep, "We have to go to Bear, Colorado!" Unfortunately, no Bear actually exists in Colorado. However, there are five Bears in America, fortuitously located in a perfect a 'U' around the continental U.S. - in Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Arkansas, and Delaware. Following the trail of the Bears, Sarah and Greg will travel through 25 states of all different cultures, demographics, populations, and Americans.

Through conversations with locals, we will explore our themes on a personal level and embrace the stories that turn strangers into neighbors. Our discussions with scholars and professionals will dig into the philosophy and nature of a core aspect of what makes us human. We will understand why (or if) we let people into our hearts and our homes.

Check us out at:


Letter of Inquiry to the Playboy Foundation is going through approval from Fractured Atlas. On Friday, Sarah and I impulsively called the offices of Robert Kenner and Doug Pray, directors of "Food Inc." and "Big Rig," respectively, seeking advice, mentorship, support, who knows? I recently saw "Food Inc." and its messages and images have stuck in my mind more than just about any movie I've seen in a long time. "Big Rig" is a documentary we recently watched the follows a number of long-haul truck drivers around the United States and presents their stories in an intimate way. We are looking to present the lives of Americans in a similar portrait style in our film.

Coming up on our to-do list: calling our scholarly and professional contacts to organize planned interviews along the road. I'm especially excited to contact Nanette Sawyer, a pastor at the Wicker Park Grace faith community in Chicago, whose book Hospitality the Sacred Art: Discovering the Hidden Spiritual Power of Invitation and Welcome examines hospitality from a Christian viewpoint, bringing people closer to God and each other.


To our new Followers, thank you so much! We're very excited to have your virtual support, and hopefully we'll keep things interesting and moving and shaking here on the American Bear blog.

Things are always moving and shaking though, so we're not too worried about that. I got some good news and some bad news today. The bad news is that the Jerome Foundation, an organization whose grant sounded right up our alley, does not accept grant applications from full-time students. One down, plenty more to go, I suppose. But the good news is that Breathe Owl Breathe, the wonderful band from Michigan, said they were very interested in our project and would love to discuss further after their current tour is over. So music is on hold for a few weeks, but we've got a lot of positive energy waiting for us.
I just spent the morning doing distribution and marketing research.

I am a little excited and intimidated.


Maryland Humanities Council

I sent our official and approved letter of inquiry into the MDHC today!

Tomorrow morning: calls to other granters and organizations.

I am feeling super excited about our film! There is so much to learn about the country and so many different little notes and facets that our experiment has the potential to hit upon.


E-mail out to Breathe Owl Breathe. Letter on the way to Great Grandma. Letter of Inquiry for the Playboy Foundation and application for the Jerome Foundation in the next round of business.

Sarah and I had some solid creative discussion about our approaches to shooting and safety -- out of context, that sounds particularly smart, but our shooting isn't as unsafe as the sentence suggests. Rather, we talked about what kind of structure we want to have during production as it relates to the structure that will come together in editing. We're both very excited for a fairly free-form documentary that doesn't consistently follow our journey chronologically or geographically but instead is guided by the questions we ask people and the themes we're exploring.

While discussing safety, I recommended that we have something noisy on top of our equipment in the room that we're sleeping in, so that if someone sneaks into our room at night to steal our equipment, they would have to move this very noisy object and so we would foil their heist. However, there aren't a lot of items that make enough noise inadvertently to wake people up. Yet another problem to solve.