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The Project Behind the Movie, “Pandas”

If you are having a bad day and need some cheering up you should definitely see the film, Pandas. You will love the film for obvious reasons; it’s 45 minutes of adorable and fun-loving panda bears. But that’s not what it’s all about.


The film is actually the start of a worldwide project and the goal is to increase the panda population. In order to do just that, American and Chinese experts teamed up in order to achieve this goal. The film takes you on the start of their journey. American biologist Jake Owens was asked to come to Chengdu Panda Base in China and help baby pandas that were born in captivity to learn how to live in the wild, in hopes to move pandas off of the endangered species list.


The film focuses on one panda in particular and her name is Qian Qian (CHEN-CHEN). Qian Qian was born in captivity but was chosen out of his brothers and sisters to learn how to live in the wild. In order to do this, Chinese experts reached out to black bear expert, Ben Kilham from New Hampshire. Kilham has been raising orphan black bears into the wild for over 25 years, Kilham stated that he “documents their juvenile behavior in order to understand their adult behavior.” Black bears are known to have a similar behavior to panda bears, and Kilham was recruited help Qian Qian assimilate.


Qian Qian’s journey is not one that should be missed and she is still on her journey to repopulate today. In a Q&A with biologist Jake Owens, Ben Kilham, and the director of the film, Drew Fellman, they discussed the start of Qian Qian’s journey and how they’re currently preparing more pandas for the wild. Pandas have been officially moved off of the endangered species list and are now listed as, “vulnerable” since the project began, but Owen’s does not want to stop there. Jake hopes to learn more about why panda bears act the way that they do. Owens stated, “We don’t know much about how pandas interact and we’re hoping to find out with this project.”



As for why you should go see the film, besides the fact that it’s a film that features the cutest panda bears and is narrated by Kristen Bell, Ben Kilham stated, “This movie is a story about cultural exchange and being able to work together to save something.”


Pandas comes out in IMAX theaters on April 6th.

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