399: Queen of the Tetons

USA | 2024 | 88 min. | Elizabeth Leiter

The most famous and photographed grizzly bear in the world, known only as #399, lives a humble life in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. But can she raise a rare four-cub litter in a world of unneeded human intervention and the threat of climate change?

Director Elizabeth Leiter scheduled to attend.

“Whether or not you’ve heard of 399 before watching this film, it’s hard not to fall in love with her by the end of it.” —McKenna Johnson, Montana Kaiman

For nearly two decades, Grizzly #399 has been a fixture in Grand Teton National Park. Known only by her research number, #399 has captivated photographers, both professional and amateur, since 2007, becoming the most photographed and famous grizzly in the world. But more important than her photogenic nature is the large number of cubs, 18 total, she has mothered over her lifetime. As the documentary opens, hundreds have gathered, awaiting her first appearance following winter hibernation. When she finally emerges from her den, she is accompanied by an extremely rare four cub litter. But an uphill battle lies ahead: cubs face a 50% mortality rate in their first year, and danger is everywhere. Crowds of photographers, tourists, and wildlife rangers watch as #399 teaches her young to swim, scavenge, and survive along the park’s roadsides. The bears’ proximity to humans offers protection against other predators, including male grizzlies, that are deterred by crowds, but there is also an attendant risk of habituation—a loss of their natural fear response—which could have deadly consequences. Exploring issues around wildlife management, environmentalism, and eco-tourism, 399: Queen of the Tetons offers a complex portrait of ursine-human relations, as continuously in flux as the landscape binding them together.

Dan Doody

  • Director: Elizabeth Leiter
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2024
  • Running Time: 88 min.
  • Producer: Elizabeth Leiter
  • Cinematographers: Daniel Carter
  • Editors: Colin Nusbaum
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Jane Goodall: The Hope (2020)
  • Language: English