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December 27, 2012
Climate Documentary “Chasing Ice”
— Posted by Kenny Miles
Pesmen had just completed post-production on “The Cove” when photographer James Balog had contacted her. In fact, Pesmen was so determined to make sure this project was successfully launched, she volunteered her time “for 3 and half years” to make sure the footage became a documentary feature reality.
Director Jeff Orowski also admitted that the project “Chasing Ice” had very humble beginnings which grew into something much larger then he ever expected.
“The original plan wasnt to make the film,” said Orowski. “We were doing YouTube promotions for this ice project. During every trip we went on, more crazy stuff just happened. Over time, we decided that we had this footage we share with the world.”
And with this stunning footage, these shots captured in “Chasing Ice” are some of the best photography I have seen in a nature documentary in several years. Despite the challenging and harsh climate, the filmmakers were in command of their surroundings to provide the best perspective for their audience.
“Obviously the conditions were challenging including everything from the weather and the cold, the rain, snowstroms, sleet, and hail,” said Orlowski. “The whole purpose was to get these time lapses on camera. We were forced into these situations and just had to wait for them.”
Best described as a photographers exploration turned scientific expedition, “Chacing Ice” showcases it takes dedication, passion, and skills from talented filmmakers to make documented footage into a full length film a reality. Bringing something different to the discussion of climate change made ‘Ice’ such an unforgettable experience. Numerous amateur and top notch filmmakers have made climate change documentaries from various perspectives. Everyone from Al Gore to Leonardo DiCaprio to Alanis Morisette to Bjorn Lomborg have provided their high profile statue to promote an environmental documentary. What makes “Chasing Ice” such a unique, thought provoking scientific expose is the evidence captured of melting ice. The justifiable panic is all in the photos. With numerous documentaries about our chaotic climate, focusing on the photography particularly the melting ice makes it stand out and brings the reality of the climate crisis to the viewer.
“For me, hearing about ice melting makes it feel far away.” Pechmen said. “Seeing those images and the evidence of these ice caps and glaciers melting even faster then predicted was very shocking. I was able to make the connections. Its the extreme storms and temperatures that are responding. We cant see it. You can see the ice. When you see it retreating, we see the damage we are doing. If its happening there, its happening in all other things we cannot see.” Orlowski wanted the photography to show the realism in the devistation, but wanted to be very scientific based.
“I think a lot of the film is science oriented,” Orlowski said. “We wanted to make a unique and invaluable story to tell. We wanted to tell that story, but wanted to convey the philosophical approach to working on the film as well.”
With little time for action, Pechman bluntly and simply frames the solution to the climate crisis unfolding in the film: “We need to quit politicizing this issue and do something about it.”
Documentaries aren’t typical big box office draws nor usually viewed on the big screen. Most seemed to be experienced on the very limiting space of a flat screen television at home. In today’s age, many viewers apathetically will find a documentary on cable or in a Netflix library. However, “Chasing Ice” was meant for a large screen format to disgust the stunning visuals displayed.
“When you see these images on the big screen, you can get a small sense of the scale of the ice and landscapes,” she said. “You can feel more of the scale of the destruction on a big screen in a large theater. It is an experience to see these landscapes at this size. I never tire of watching those images on the big screen.”
Director Orlowski whole heatedly agrees that “Chasing Ice” is meant to be seen in a movie theater.
“We designed it for the big screen,” Orlowski said. “It was very difficult and complicated to conveine how big they are. When you see it on the big screen you see how big it. Both the images and the sound are designed for the format.”
Likewise, Pechman wants the viewer to be educated, then inspired to take action on this pressing climate issue.
“Our entire team is truly humbled that Chasing Ice has been shortlisted. There are so many incredible films out this year, it is such an honor to be included amongst these great filmmakers and powerful stories,” Orlowski said.
For showtimes and locations to screen “Chasing Ice,” visit chasingice.com. This is a documentary you do not want to miss watching in a theater screen.
The showing of “Chasing Ice” I attended was supported by Colorado Public Radio via our CPR Landmark Movie Night program, which was developed to thank listeners who donate $365/yr or a dollar a day to CPR. When donating this amount, you are eligible for two tickets each month to an exclusive screening of a soon-to-be released film at the Mayan, the Esquire or the Chez Artiste. Colorado Public Radio initiated the program to help support Denver’s local independent movie theaters while also giving our listeners the added benefit of being exposed to new films that similarly seek to inform, enlighten and entertain.
For more information about the CPR Landmark Movie Night, please contact Christine Andresen at [email protected]
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Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.
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