“The story is in the ice.” Chasing Ice documents James Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) with haunting images of day-to-day climate change in glacial regions. Jeff Orlowski is director and cinematographer.
Chasing Ice takes you to Greenland, Iceland, Switzerland and Alaska. Balog’s time-lapse photos are combined with beautiful footage, music and scientific observations. Balog rappels down sheer ice cliffs and wades barefoot on icy shores, determined to capture what’s happening.
A nature photographer and geologist, he speaks to audiences worldwide. Balog himself was a climate change skeptic 30 years ago.
Cameras don’t lie
You’ll see a glacial chunk the size of lower Manhattan break off. Crashing into the ocean, it turns bottom side up. This “calving” is a natural process. The problem is that glaciers are thinning and receding too. Climate change is causing extreme weather worldwide, scientists agree.
The cameras don’t lie. “I never imagined that you could see glaciers this big disappearing in such a short time,” Balog worries.
Climate change in action
Ice is “sculptural, architectural, insanely, ridiculously beautiful,” Balog says. It’s a simple, moving metaphor that can reach almost everyone, he believes. “We have a problem of perception,” he adds. “Time is running out.”
Balog and his assistants set up camera posts. Returning each year, they are struck by rapid change. Equipment malfunctions. Balog stands weeping near a broken camera. He wants to preserve history. Most of all, he wants to show his own daughters that he did something during this crisis.
Our lives depend on nature
Balog’s knee problems finally make it impossible to hike in some locations. Videographers carry out the most difficult treks.
“You can’t divorce civilization from nature,” Balog says. “We totally depend on it.” Chasing Ice won the Audience Award at SXSW 2012, and a Sundance Award for Excellence in Cinematography.
Chasing Ice: Take Action
Chasing Ice 2013 / PG-13 / 1 hour, 15 min
Cast Overview: James Balog, Jeff Orlowski, Tad Pfeffer, Louie Psihoyos, Svavar Jonatansson, Adam LeWinter, Jason Box
Director: Jeff Orlowski