2012 Sundance Docs in Focus: CHASING ICE

Continuing my doc-by-doc look at Sundance 2012: Jeff Orlowski’s US Documentary Competition title CHASING ICE, which follows the efforts of an acclaimed photographer to document climate change.

Sundance Program Description:

When National Geographic photographer James Balog asked, “How can one take a picture of climate change?” his attention was immediately drawn to ice. Soon he was asked to do a cover story on glaciers that became the most popular and well-read piece in the magazine during the last five years. But for Balog, that story marked the beginning of a much larger and longer-term project that would reach epic proportions.

In this breathtakingly beautiful documentary, filmmaker Jeff Orlowski follows the indomitable photographer as he brings to life the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS)—a massive photography project that placed 30 cameras across three continents to gather visual evidence of the Earth’s melting ice. CHASING ICE tells the story of a visionary artist who, in facing his own mortality, bequeaths the magic of photography and the adventure of the expedition to a new generation and captures the most visible sign of climate change on the planet today.

Some Background:
Orlowski makes his feature documentary debut with this film, having previously shot, produced, and/or directed shorts. A graduate of my alma mater, Stanford University, he works with Balog’s EIS as a videographer, which provided the first-hand access to create his stunning film. Joining him on the project are producers Paula DuPré Presmen (Sundance winner THE COVE as well as the first three HARRY POTTER films) and Jerry Aronson (Sundance alum THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ALLEN GINSBERG).

Why You Should Watch:
Orlowski, who also shot the film, captures the magnitude and majesty of the icescapes surveyed in EIS’ photo project, and their rapid disappearance due to rising global temperatures. Balog’s personal investment in his work shines through, with the hope that the dissemination of this visual record of glacier transformation can correct public misperception of climate change and become a call to action to prevent resultant life-threatening catastrophe.

More Info:
Check out the film’s website and Facebook page. Orlowski discusses his doc in his “Meet the Artists” interview for Sundance here. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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