USA – 2012 – 74 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY JEFF ORLOWSKI
In the spring of 2005, National Geographic photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth's changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change and a cynic about the nature of academic research. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.
CHASING ICE is the story of one man's mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers.
As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. CHASING ICE depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.
CHASING ICE is directed by Jeff Orlowski, cinematographer for the Extreme Ice Survey, and an award-winning filmmaker. A graduate of Stanford University, he has been working with Balog since 2007 and has shot over 300 hours of footage of EIS in the field. His work for EIS has screened on NBC, CNN, PBS, National Geographic, and hundreds of other venues around the world, including a multi-year installation at the Denver International Airport.
The film is produced by Paula DuPre' Pesmen, the winner of the 2010 Academy Award® for Best Documentary and 2010 Producers Guild of America 'Producer of the Year' for her role on The Cove. She has also served as producer on three Harry Potter films, Rent, and Mrs. Doubtfire. The film is also produced by Jerry Aronson, nominated for an Academy Award for the documentary The Divided Trail, and the director of The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, which also premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has won over 250 international awards.
The writer, Mark Monroe, won the Writers Guild of America (WGA) award for Best Documentary in 2010 for his work on The Cove. His credits also include The Tillman Story, the WGA nominated film Once in a Lifetime, and through his company Diamond Docs, he worked on We Live In Public. Film composer J. Ralph is well known for his documentary work including the scores to the back to back Academy Award® winning films The Cove and Man on a Wire as well as the autism documentary Wretches and Jabberers by Oscar® winning director Gerrardine Wurzburg. His most recent film projects include 2011's Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary Hell and Back Again, for which J. Ralph wrote and produced the score, sound design and end title song "Hell and Back" performed by Willie Nelson and the score for Chasing Ice premiering at this year's 2012 Sundance film festival.
Davis Coombe, the editor, received an Academy Award nomination for his short documentary The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner and he just won an Academy Award for the film Saving Face Saving Face.
Hey Bill O'Reilly, You're Busted! Fan Watches CHASING ICE and Now Understands Global Warming Is Real (VIDEO)
- HUFFINGTON POST
"The opponents of the theory of global warming often seem to be financed by the fossil fuel industries. The "green" teams looking into such energy sources as solar, wind and nuclear are often ridiculed. Watch "CHASING ICE" and see if you laugh."
- ROGER EBERT, SUNTIMES
"Pictures from ground zero of climate change"
"Environmental doc doesn’t preach"
- WE VANCOUVER
"CHASING ICE director Jeff Orlowski: climate change is “pretty damn definitive”
- THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT (Interview with director Jeff Orlowski)
"...a stunning portrait of glacial melt in the high Arctic, with an undeniable subtext"
- VANCOUVER SUN
"CHASING ICE depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet"
- SIERRA CLUB BC
"...stunning scenes of hiking the ice to set up the cameras, men rappelling down into deep cravasses, video of a chunk of glacier the size of Manhattan breaking off and finally, at the Copenhagen climate change summit, the time-lapse evidence."
- VANCOUVER OBSERVER
"...one of the best (and most important) environmental documentaries you’ll probably ever see."
- TORONTO FILM SCENE
"CHASING ICE might just send you in a transformative new direction."
- THE SCREENING ROOM
"Balog forces you to think."
- THE SQUARE
"You can’t deny it.” No doubt – the iceman cometh"
- THE GLOBE AND MAIL
"'CHASING ICE': Time-Lapse Cameras Capture Rapidly Melting Glaciers"
- YAHOO NEWS
"...it would be a mistake to miss the film. It’s rare that movies about issues such as global warming are this informative, visually beautiful, and entertaining. See it before the world ends."
- DORK SHELF
"With the destructive power of Superstorm Sandy still hobbling parts of the Caribbean and eastern U.S., the timing couldn’t be better for the release of Hot Docs audience-award winner CHASING ICE, about writer-photographer James Balog’s pulse-taking environmental project on shrinking glaciers."
- THE TORONTO STAR
"“It’s the same thing with climate change. The fearmongers are telling us we need the fossil fuel industry for a healthy economy… but without securing the safety of the planet we live on, we’re risking more than the economy, we’re risking our survival.”"
- THE NATIONAL POST
"The achievement of Orlowski’s film is that it allows us to share in his vision."
- THE GRID
"...images of Manhattan-sized glaciers folding over are not just breathtaking but desperately deserving of our attention"
- NOW MAGAZINE
"‘I never saw myself as an activist’ CHASING ICE filmmaker Orlowski talks about his shift on climate change as Sandy’s devastation hits home"
- THE NATIONAL POST
CHASING ICE awarded NYTimes Critic's Pick!
- THE NEW YORK TIMES
5 Stars! "amazingly beautiful, and amazingly frightening"
- NY DAILY NEWS
"Superstorm Sandy a ‘wake-up call,’ says former climate change skeptic James Balog"
- THE TORONTO STAR
"Frigid temperatures, blizzards no match for filmmaker Jeff Orlowski"
"‘CHASING ICE’ doc opens in Toronto"
- FILM ARMY
"'CHASING ICE' Director Chases Truth"
"Opening Nov. 9 against Skyfall (chasing spies) and Lincoln (chasing slavery) is CHASING ICE, a new documentary directed by Jeff Orlowski, and featuring award-winning environmental photographer James Balog."
- THE NATIONAL POST
"In one of many candid scenes, Balog talks about the “tension between the huge enduring power of these glaciers, and their fragility.” His hope is that CHASING ICE’s imagery will move the rest of us enough to embrace a solution."
- ALTERNATIVE JOURNAL
CHASING ICE: Telling the story of our changing climate through photography
- WWF CANADA BLOG
"...a powerful and thought-provoking eco-doc that proves without a doubt the negative impact humans have caused on the environment and begs us to take action without heavy-handed tactics. As Balog stated in the film, "the story is in the ice."
Closing night film this year is CHASING ICE, an award-winning documentary from Jeff Orlowski. National Geographic photographer James Balog, the subject of the film, will be present to receive the festival’s International Eco Hero Award.
- TORONTO SUN
"This inspiring evening includes the presentation of the ESRI Canada-sponsored International Eco Hero Award to James Balog, the Festival Awards presentation, the screening of CHASING ICE and a post-screening party at Hotel Ocho"
- THE GRID
"CHASING ICE” to close Planet in Focus fest"
- REAL SCREEN
"This quietly jarring documentary about National Geographic photographer James Balog’s work explores the challenge of bringing climate change into focus"
- ALTERNATIVES JOURNAL
"2009 photo released by Extreme Ice Survey shows photographer James Balog rappelling into Survey Canyon in Greenland during the filming of CHASING ICE."
- THE PROVINCE
"The most important film of the year.”
- CHRIS COLUMBUS
"This is the climate change film we've been waiting for."
- CAROLINE LIBRESCO, SUNDANCE SENIOR PROGRAMMER
"If there was ever a film that needed to be on the big screen, this is it!"
- DAVID COURIER, SUNDANCE SENIR PROGRAMMER