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“Chasing Ice” is the story of an environmental photographer’s mission to bring the reality of climate change to the public and thereby change the course of history for the better.
In the spring of 2005, environmental photographer James Balog journeyed to the Arctic on an assignment of the utmost urgency: to capture images that would help to tell the story of climate change. This trip sparked a passion that in Balog that would see him risk everything to bring evidence of the world’s changing landscape into the public domain.
Despite having been brought up in a scientific family, Balog was initially sceptical of climate change. His first trip north changed that forever. He saw monumental glaciers melting into water, entire ancient landscapes disappearing before his eyes. He came to the realisation that he was documenting in film the memory of things that may never be seen again. Understanding that his pictures were, in this way, evidence of a powerful piece of history unfolding before his eyes, he realised that he must go back to bring the story of climate change to the world at large.
Urged on by an almost obsessive passion, Balog embarked on an ambitious mission: The Extreme Ice Survey. The goal was to shoot every hour, as long as it was daylight, over a period of three years to photograph the world’s changing climate. He did so by employing revolutionary time-lapse cameras, an extremely delicate technology that was now only being tested against the Arctic’s brutal weather conditions. In braving the Arctic’s subzero conditions, Balog was also forced to come to terms with his own mortality and make a decision of just how much he will risk to achieve his goal.
Years of Balog’s efforts are compressed into just minutes of visually breathtaking footage, capturing ancient landscapes disappearing at an alarming rate. The stunning cinematography has seen the film become the recipient of over thirty awards around the world, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Nature Programming, the Sundance Film Festival Award for Excellence in Cinematography.