WGCU and ‘Survivorman’ win funds for documentary

(FORT MYERS, FLORIDA) – What would you do if a natural disaster struck? Or rather, when a natural disaster strikes? While Southwest Floridians are among those who generally know what to do when a hurricane is approaching, there are many other situations of which they may be unaware and unprepared.

“Survivorman” Les Stroud knows what to do, and he’s going to tell all when his collaboration with WGCU results in a documentary, “Surviving Disasters with Les Stroud.”

Stroud is a practical survivalist. He’s not the guy who’s going to tell you to construct an underground bunker stocked with a year’s supply of paper towels and oatmeal. But he does know the best way to get out of a flooded car, how to purify water when you can’t boil it in a container, how to gauge the hours of daylight left with your fingers, how to use a vegetable peeler for kindling and other life-preserving hints.

Stroud and WGCU Associate General Manager for Content Amy Shumaker recently won a $75,000 grant from American Public Television to produce a 90-minute documentary.

In “Pitchfest,” part of the APT Fall Marketplace in November in Scottsdale, Arizona, five public media teams competed as finalists for the prize money to help jump-start production on new programs.

The industry experts on the APT panel were so impressed with two of the teams that they awarded two prizes of $75,000 each. Detroit Public Television will produce “The Stress Solution with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee,”based on receiving the highest points from the judges. Shumaker and Stroud received high scores as well for “Surviving Disasters with Les Stroud,”and were awarded the (unprecedented) second grant.

The “Surviving Disasters” documentary is projected to cost about $200,000 and is expected to be complete and air nationally on public television late next year. WGCU intends to look for additional sponsors to supplement the seed grant.

Stroud, who has produced and hosted more than 100 documentaries in both Canada and the United States, will host and produce this new program. The cinematographer/editor for the project is James Beard Award nominee (for his series, “From the Wild”) Kevin Kossowan. 

In this era of dire predictions about climate change and weather emergencies, Stroud’s tips seem particularly timely. For years, his mind has been on surviving massive disasters such as wildfires, flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes, snowstorms, tornadoes and tsunamis. Stroud is looking forward to bringing this expertise to public media.

 “After 30 years of experience in filmmaking, bringing my creative efforts and energy to public television feels like coming home. Public television provides the only uncompromised, high-quality, authentic and integrity-filled viewing possible, on TV today,” Stroud said.

About Les Stroud

Les Stroud is about to release his 20th Anniversary Collection on Valentine’s Day

2020. Stroud set a brand new pace for adventure filmmaking with his groundbreaking series “Survivorman” and subsequently created a whole new genre of TV: Survival TV. His critically acclaimed “Indigenous Culture” series “Beyond Survival” hit some of the highest ratings on TV. His camera work and editing techniques have been studied in numerous filmmaking college and university courses and he has been nominated a record 27 times for Canadian Screen Awards (Directing/Hosting/Series/Music/Editing), winning three for writing and camera work. His films are shown in over 100 countries.