"Bear Nation" is a good enough documentary which simply doesn't go far enough. It is a snapshot of the Bear movement at a particular time, 2011, over 25 years on, and mostly in a few particular places, Toronto and Chicago predominantly. There is some interview footage with the current publisher of the current manifestation of "Bear Magazine," which is apparently now headquartered in Las Vegas. The documentary depends predominately on 6-8 talking heads, most of whom appear to have probably been in grade school when the movement began. It would've been nice to see some of the history explored. The first "Bear" magazine began coming out of San Francisco in the mid-80s in a 5"x 8" format, so one can easily hold it with one hand. Interviews with original publisher Richard Bulger and/or early contributors such as Jay Shaffer, Jack Fritscher, Chris Nelson, Congo Moore, Luke Maumerman and Furr (or at least those of whom are still with us) or later editors Rich Iremonger or Scott McGillivray would have been wonderful to see and would have provided insight into the birth and early development of the movement. It would've been nice to see mention of other early publications which explored alternative images of gay men such as "RFD" which began publishing in the 1970s, "Hippie Dick" which began its brief but influential run in 1989, "S.T.H. (Straight To Hell)" which began coming out of NYC in the 1970s, and "Daddy, the Magazine" which published throughout the 1990s. All of these magazines featured photographs, artwork, essays, "one-handed fiction" and men who were not the clichéd smooth, young, pretty, slightly effeminate usually retouched/airbrushed image which was most often propagated through the media, when any image of us was propagated through the media at all in those days. The men in these publications were real guys you could actually meet and in those pre-Internet days, if one can imagine that, most of these magazines featured Personals ads through which like-minded men could hook up. Cartoonists like Tim Barela and Sean Martin gave the burgeoning movement an often touching sense of humor. All of these men and magazines, and many others, contributed to what we now know of as the bear movement. Dr. Les Wright's anthologies "The Bear Movement: Readings in the History and Evolution of a Gay Male Subculture" (1997) and "The Bear Book II: Further Readings in the History and Evolution of a Gay Male Subculture" (2001) provide a lot of background and analysis gathering essays written relatively early in the movement's evolution and an interview with him would have been an insightful addition to the film. Likewise an interview with Ron Sushura, editor of "Bears on Bears: Interviews and Discussions" could have added a lot to the film. The interviews in "Bear Nation" are pretty consistently interesting, especially (for Husker Du and Sugar fans) the one with musician Bob Mould (check out his solo album "Black Sheets of Rain" - like "Husker Du's "Zen Arcade" it is a true rock masterpiece). Filmmaker Kevin Smith provides humor along with a straight man's point of view. Like Henry Rollins he seems absolutely unafraid to be embraced by the gay culture and is unhesitating in his support. But most of the real insight to be gleaned from the film comes from the regular, non-celebrity men who share their experiences. To summarize, "Bear Nation" is an enjoyable view of the current state of the bear movement. It doesn't dig very deep, touching quickly on issues like divisions within the bear community before moving on. One is almost tempted to refer to it as a "fluff piece" but it is a bit more than that. However a definitive documentary on the bear movement it is not. That, I hope, is still to come. DVD production is fine although bonus features are slight, consisting solely of extended interviews with the three celebrities, Smith, Mould and Tracy Morgan. In the spirit of full disclosure I am proud to say that the original "Bear Magazine" published three sets of my photographs, including the cover of issue number 49 (I believe the last B&W cover), and one of my poems.