Chasing Ice
Chasing Ice
Chasing Ice

Chasing Ice

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The cinematic imagery in the film proves that the power (and the responsibility) to solve the global problems of today can be found in each of our own diverse skill sets.

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed 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.

Chasing Ice is a feature documentary about 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, Balog 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, by helicopter, canoe, and dogsled, to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers.

Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether, risking both his career and his well-being.  As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, he comes face to face with his own mortality.  It takes years for him to see the fruits of his labor.  But his hauntingly beautiful videos compress those years into seconds.  His Extreme Ice Survey captures ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.  Chasing Ice depicts a heroic photojournalist doing everything in his power to deliver hope to our carbon-powered planet.

Cultural Significance

The value of Chasing Ice lies not in its critical acclaim, but rather in its ability to communicate and visualize an issue that has literally been invisible. James Balog always says that climate change is not a political issue, it is a human issue. The cinematic imagery in the film proves that the power (and the responsibility) to solve the global problems of today can be found in each of our own diverse skill sets. We must put the onus on individuals to do whatever is in his or her power to create a better world. The cultural value of Chasing Ice is in sharing the hauntingly beautiful images of the ice melting across our globe, enabling people to see climate change not as a polarized argument, but simply an issue that all citizens must face together. —Jeff Orlowski

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