Spring 2013 Documentary series
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 8:00pm
Directed by Jeff Orlowski
Screenplay by Mark Monroe
Starring James Balog, Svavar Jonatansson, and Adam LeWinter
Rated PG ·
A Special Presentation at the 2012 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and winner of several awards — including the Hot Docs People’s Choice Award and the Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival — Chasing Ice is the engrossing and enlightening debut feature from documentary filmmaker Jeff Orlowski.
The film follows National Geographic photojournalist James Balog as he struggles to bring dramatic visual evidence of climate change in the Arctic to the attention of the world. After an eye-opening 2005 visit to Iceland, Balog initiates an expedition called the Extreme Ice Survey, traversing the Arctic with a band of young adventurers and deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world’s receding ice sheet.
As the climate change debate continues to polarize America and natural disasters around the world intensify exponentially, Balog finds himself at the centre of a maelstrom and near the end of his tether, struggling to make the world see what he has seen with his own (camera) eye.
Featuring stunning cinematography and privileged views of some never-before-seen areas of the Arctic, Chasing Ice is an engrossing chronicle of one man’s quest to reveal crucial evidence about the damage we have wrought to our carbon-powered planet. Shocking, sobering yet ultimately optimistic, the story of Balog’s incredible journey is an urgent reminder that our world is in crisis, and a rallying call to take action against its continued deterioration.
“The documentary’s climax, [is] a landscape-altering ‘calving’ during which a melting glacier suddenly cracks, shimmies and collapses, as if being swallowed from inside. As Orlowski and two patient EIS team members watch, the likely future of the polar regions transpires in real time. In Hollywood these days, such epic transformations are rendered with computers and called ‘morphing.’ Offering a lesson both to filmmakers and climate-change deniers, Chasing Ice demonstrates how much more powerful it is to capture the real thing.” (Mark Jenkins, NPR)
“Chasing Ice is heart-stopping in its coverage of the brave and risky attempt by a scientist named James Balog and his team of researchers on the Extreme Ice Survey, where ‘extreme’ refers to their efforts almost more than to the ice. At a time when warnings of global warming were being dismissed by broadcast blabbermouths as ‘junk science,’ the science here is based on actual observation of the results as they happen … scientists are seeing climate change happening right now — and with alarming speed.” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)