Tag Archives: Ice Pilots

Omnifilm Entertainment begins production on Wild Bear Rescue

From a media release:

Omnifilm Entertainment is pleased to announce the start of production on a new documentary series for Animal Planet, Wild Bear Rescue. The 12 x 30 series follows a northern B.C. family that runs the only animal shelter in the world legally allowed to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned grizzly bear cubs.

The series, set in Smithers, British Columbia, features shelter manager Angelika Langen, her husband Peter Langen, their two adult children, and volunteers as they work around the clock to rescue bears and other wildlife in distress.

If a call comes in that a car has hit a mother grizzly, a hunter has killed a black bear with four tiny cubs, or a young bear has fallen out of a tree, the team at the shelter drops everything and rushes to the rescue. Once on the scene, Angelika will track, capture, and tranquilize the cub(s). If the cub isn’t doing well, she might have to take it to the vet. Next stop: the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter.

Michael Chechik and Omnifilm partner Gabriela Schonbach are executive producing Wild Bear Rescue with David Gullason, who show-ran six seasons of the award-winning series Ice Pilots for History, and is currently executive producing season three of Jade Fever for Discovery. Series Producer Brad Quenville, who has written and directed numerous projects for Omnifilm including CBC’s The Dolphin Dealer, is directing and writing.

The project is being structured as a Canadian production but will be pitched internationally in the coming months. Wild Bear Rescue is slated to air in 2017 on Animal Planet in Canada. Edwina Follows and Heather Williamson serve as executive producers for Animal Planet.

Image courtesy of Northern Lights Animal Shelter


Preview: Ice Pilots flies into the sunset

For the last six seasons, viewers have been able to experience what it’s like–visually at least–to climb aboard a DC-3 and jet around Canada’s north. Now it all comes to an end as Ice Pilots NWT takes off for the final time.

Airing Wednesday night on History, the series-ender “D-Day” is unlike most episodes of Ice Pilots in that it was recorded in June–the polar opposite to the sub-zero filming in Yellowknife’s winter months–and the only cargo are human beings. But what a group of human beings. Mikey McBryan’s two-year dream of celebrating the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Europe has finally arrived. He’s got 12 Canadian troops and 12 American Green Berets flying up to Yellowknife to participate in the event, a commemorative jump into Alberta’s Abraham Lake from just 1,200 feet off the ground. Not only that, but Mikey and long-time Buffalo Airways employee Corey are jumping too, in a separate exit from the DC-3 at 12,000 feet.


But, like the D-Day jump that was postponed due to weather, all of the planning and plotting Mikey had done seems for naught when Hurricane “Buffalo” Joe McBryan arrives on the scene and unhappy about the landing zone. Add to that a wall of bad weather and the entire project is set to be scrubbed.

I won’t ruin what happens next.

I was lucky enough to fly up to Yellowknife during a press junket for Ice Pilots NWT. The highlight, of course, was climbing into the back of the DC-3 and flying to and from Hay River with Joe in the cockpit. Bundled up in layers of clothing and packed into that fuselage, I realized I was one of a small group who’d had the opportunity to do it in real life. It was an experience I’ll never forget. Thanks, guys, for six great years on the air, and for welcoming a TV critic from the south into your lives for a day or two.

The Ice Pilots NWT series finale airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on History.