The award winning Canadian taxidermist, Ken Walker, also famous for building a Bigfoot re-creation, is the subject whom filmmaker Dan Wayne shares with the world in his documentary Big Fur. Walker is a world champion taxidermist and his work is on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of National History. His creations are also featured in National Geographic. Ken is a Bigfoot enthusiast to the degree of obsession. Unfortunately, his passion has its draw-backs.
Wayne, a photographer and cinematographer, began his film career prior to the new digital media formats. While he enjoys this new world, he knows the need to have a diversion from the large amounts of time spent at the computer. His health depends on the distraction.
Wayne finds the diversion he's been looking for in the world of taxidermy. He was drawn to this world because, "It's an under-appreciated art form that requires many skills and a bond with the natural world." His discovery of this creative world gave him a deep appreciation and a growing understanding for the artists and their craft. The connection to the taxidermy community gave Wayne the opportunity to meet fascinating characters. After many encounters, Wayne wanted to make a film about these people and their unique artistic precision. When he meets Ken Walker, Wayne knows he has his film.
Wayne follows Ken for five years. These years are during Ken's research and the building of a life-size female Bigfoot based on frames from the famous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film. Part of Ken's research included conversations and photographs of eyewitnesses who claim they have encountered Bigfoot. Wayne states in his film the relevant facts that document 3,313 reported Bigfoot sightings from 1921 to 2013 that have occurred in every state in the United States, except Hawaii.
In addition to gaining first-hand experience following the life of a taxidermist, Wayne was privy to Ken's personal life and the highs and lows of an unconventional lifestyle. Wayne was also aware of the struggles taxidermists face as well as their sincere love of animals. The artistic expression to transform wilderness animals into life-like form today allows both the young and the old to learn and admire the animal kingdom up-close and personal.
One of the experiences Wayne has the honor of witnessing is when Ken unveils Bigfoot, which he names "Patty", at the 2015 World Taxidermy Championships in Springfield, MO. He was hopeful for an award in the winner’s circle competition but it didn't come in the way he had expected. No trophy was given him but he was courted by our nation's most reputable museums and historical exhibitions. As special guest, Patty appeared at the Slamdance Film Festival with Ken. Patty is truly a magnificent female Bigfoot re-creation.
Big Fur is a delightfully entertaining journey about a unique artist that believes some day there will be a validation of his hairy, 800-pound Patty, but until then, Ken Walker continues to enjoy his craft to preserve wild species in our animal kingdom.