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Vol. I Issue 3
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Chasing Ice is the story of James Balog’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer 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 to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.
In a year where the Short Listed Academy documentary features deal with issues ranging from sexual harassment in the military to the Catholic Church’s cover-up of sexually molesting children, Chasing Ice deals with arguably the most important issue proving that the ice caps are melting and that the warming of the planet will have a catastrophic effect. But this is a year where the MPAA rating of a film about bullying school students has seemed to get the most press. That’s a shame. Chasing Ice needs to be seen. It is the most important short listed documentary film of the year. Like Davis Guggenheim’s Al Gore PowerPoint presentation, this film is scary. With never-before-seen time lapse photography we can dramatically see the ice caps and giant glaciers shrinking. A chunk of ice the size of lower Manhattan crashes into the sea. The ice flows like a river into the sea. We all know that when the ice melts, it releases its fresh water into the sea and that the water will rise. In time a few feet. Say good bye to land that several hundred million people live on.
So what’s the problem? They don’t have the press machine of Bob and Harvey Weinstein that makes a mountain out of an MPAA rating. Can the Oscar nomination go to the most important film? (could this paragraph go after next paragraph?)
But wait, there is more. This is a strikingly well made film. It has a compelling character, James Balog, who is giving his body to science and this cause. The cracks we hear are not chunks of ice but his knees disintegrating as he scales cliffs of rock and ice. The filmmakers really are risking their lives making the film, the ice takes no prisoners, the small planes and helicopters regularly crash. The film unfolds with precision; we are moved and awed by the characters and the stunning photography. The score is first rate as is the editing. This is a work that should be short listed but might be overlooked because it lacks the political coolness of some of the other films. This would be a shame.
Chasing Ice is directed by Jeff Orlowski, cinematographer for the Extreme Ice Survey, and an award-winning filmmaker. A Stanford University graduate, he has been working with Balog since 2007 and has shot over 300 hours of footage of Eis in the field. His work for Eis has screened on NBC, CNN, PBS, National Geographic, and hundreds of other venues around the world.
The film is produced by Paula DuPre’ Pesmen, the winner of the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary and 2010 Producers Guild of America ‘Producer of the Year’ for her role on The Cove. She has also served as producer on three Harry Potter films, Rent, and Mrs. Doubtfire. The film is also produced by Jerry Aronson, nominated for an Academy Award for the documentary The Divided Trail, and the director of The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg.
Director/Producer: Jeff Orlowski
Producers: Paula DuPre’ Pesmen, Jerry Aronson
Executive Producers: David and Linda Cornfield
Writer: Mark Monroe
Cinematography: Jeff Orlowski
Music Composer: J. Ralph
Editor, Mark Monroe
Production: Diamond Docs (in association with)
Exposure Production, Exposure
Distributors (Us): Submarine Deluxe and National Geographic Channel
Maggie Simpson a short animated film by David Silverman
The Longest Daycare is a four-and-a-half-minute-long animated 3D short animated film based on the animated television series The Simpsons.
Directed by David Silverman The Longest Daycare is one of my favorite short animated films short listed for the Oscar this year. Silverman, credited with creating the look of the Simpsons, has directed numerous episodes of this hit series. Daycare has no dialogue. It is hilarious in part because of its silent film style. It is smart and fun. Maggie is a delight. This short film is really special. Between the 3D, the super clever writing and the stunning animation style, it is one of the very rare animations that can be enjoyed by any audience. Silverman’s work deserves an Oscar.
Scored by Hans Zimmer, best known for his work on Hollywood blockbusters, the score references numerous films scores and adds another layer of meaning to this magnificent (really?) work. Silverman attended the University of Maryland College Park and studied animation at UCLA.
Directed by: David Silverman
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Running time: 4:30
Academy announces 15 feature documentary films shortlisted for the Documentary Film Nomination
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the short listed documentary features on December 3, 2012. Under the new documentary branch rules all of the branch members as well as documentary nominees and award winners from other Academy branches could vote for the short listed films. About 180 Academy members participated. Dropping the committee process where four committees would screen one quarter of the submitted films, Documentary Branch Governor Michael Moore pushed the branch to use a preferential voting system with all branch members and other qualified Academy members participating. As this writer expected, works with a lot of hype, such as Bully, were short listed. One can wonder how many members who voted for this film actually saw it. In addition to changing the short listing process, the branch demanded that films had to have been reviewed in either the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times. Voters received 126 DVDs in the mail.
A number of worthy films were omitted, as is always the case, including: The Central Park Five (directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon), West of Memphis (directed by Amy Berg), The Queen of Versailles, directed by Lauren Greenfield. I also really liked Bad 25 (directed by Spike Lee) and Love Marilyn (directed by Liz Garbus). Samsara (directed by Ron Fricke) is the year’s best documentary for its sheer poetry
The Academy can choose to nominate up to three people. However, only the director has a lock on the nomination. Individuals credited as “Producer” are vetted by the Producer’s Guild. Each must prove that they did a majority of the producer roles. This is the third year that this rule has been in force. Many of the films have multiple “producers” so it remains to be seen who will receive nominations. The decision of the Academy will be announced once the films are nominated. This has been somewhat contentious in the past.
AMPAS rules follow:
The nominee(s) should be the individual(s) most involved in the key creative aspects of the filmmaking process. A maximum of two persons may be designated as nominees, one of whom must be the credited director who exercised directorial control, and the other of whom must have a producer or director credit. If a producer is named, that individual must have performed a major portion of the producing functions, in accordance with Academy producer criteria. No more than two statuettes will normally be given in the Documentary Feature category. All individuals with a “Producer” or “Produced by” credit on films that reach the semifinal round will automatically be vetted. The Documentary Branch Executive Committee will determine which producers, if any, are eligible to receive an Oscar. In the unlikely event of a dispute, filmmakers may appeal the committee’s decision. In extremely rare circumstances, a third statuette may be awarded. Production companies or persons with the screen credit of executive producer, co-producer or any credit other than director or producer shall not be eligible as nominees for the motion picture.
The Short List:
The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards will be announced at 5:30 am (Pst) on Thursday, January 10, 2013. The awards will be handed out on Sunday, February 24, 2013.
Mitchell Block specializes in conceiving, producing, marketing & distributing independent features & consulting. He is an expert in placing both completed works into distribution & working with producers to make projects fundable. He conducts regular workshops in film producing in Los Angeles and most recently in Maine, Russia and in Myanmar (Burma).
Poster Girl, produced by Block was nominated for a Documentary Academy Award and selected by the Ida as the Best Doc Short 2011. It was also nominated for two Emmy Awards and aired on HBO. He is an executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Carrier, a 10-hour series that he conceived & co-created. Block is a graduate of Tisch School and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. He is a member of Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Television Academy, a founding member of BAFTA-la and has been teaching at USC School of Cinematic Arts since 1979. Currently Block teaches a required class in the USC Peter Stark Producing Program.
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- Mitchell Block
I don't typically see many documentaries every year, but since becoming a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (Bfca) it has become far easier (and necessary) to see more of them over the last two years. One, I have to nominate and vote on the category for the Critics' Choice Awards and two, I get more screeners each year than I used to. This year I've watched 14 documentaries and have yet only seen seven of the 15 documentaries up for Best Documentary at the 2013 Oscars. Of those seven, only one makes my top five of 2012. Outside of the five I list below, virtually all of the documentaries I watched this year were quite great, but seeing how I only saw 14, it didn't make sense to do a top ten. So if you're looking for some additional docs to watch other than my top five, also consider Bad 25 (which would »
- Brad Brevet
Jeff Orlowski's first-rate documentary begins with complacently smug anti-global-warming clips from Fox News and from the owner of America's weather channel. It then introduces the persuasive environmentalist James Balog, a celebrated photographer working for National Geographic, who became fascinated with what glaciers can teach us about our changing planet. In 2007 he set up the Extreme Ice Survey (Eis), a well-funded project to monitor glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, Montana, the Alps, Canada and Bolivia, and the results – photographed using state-of-the-art time-lapse cameras – are sensational in their beauty, terror and the irrefutable evidence they provide of the rapidity with which age-old ice packs are melting away. It's like watching our world disappear.
DocumentaryGlaciersClimate changeFox NewsPhilip French
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- Philip French
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey | Smashed | Neil Young Journeys | Chasing Ice | Love Crime | Dead Europe | UFO | False Trail | Code Name: Geronimo | Tinkerbell And The Secret Of The Wings | Babette's Feast | Baraka | What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?
So the three-movie idea is more likely down to financial demands than creative ones, and the now-notorious higher frame rate reduces cinematic spectacle to pin-sharp TV movie, but this is terrifically wrought escapism. Freeman is the perfect lead, too. But what could have, should have been a masterpiece ends up a fantasy epic with too much epic and not enough fantasy.
Winstead shows impressive range as a young alcoholic teacher trying to get back on track. The familiar subject feels fresh applied to a new demographic. »
- Steve Rose
With both Skyfall and Twilight experiencing fairly hefty drop-offs for the second week running, 37 and 55% respectively, Rise of the Guardians sneaked past both with a solid second week to claim top spot with takings of around £1.6million at the UK Box Office this past weekend.
Dreamworks’ animated film will be benefitting not only from the lack of festive feel-good competition, but also the fact that school are starting to break up and more and more families will start going to see it as a result. Likewise Nativity 2, the only other major Christmas family film out in cinemas this month, had another strong week and remains in fifth spot in defiance of the legions of bad reviews it has received.
Seven Psychopaths had a pretty decent opening, going straight into third spot at the Box Office after taking in around £1.2million over the past weekend. A fair chunk of that number »
- Rob Keeling
This climate-change documentary's approach is conventional, but the extraordinary images of crumbling icesheets speak volumes
Jeff Orlowski's documentary begins as a straightforward biographical profile, before shifting up into something more urgent, impassioned and compelling. Its subject, James Balog, is a photographer who goes to extremes to prove the existence of global warming: his latest expedition involves descending Arctic cliff faces to fit time-lapse cameras with which to monitor glacial erosion. Orlowski's framing – interspersing field footage with talking heads – is somewhat conventional, but the images he and Balog have collated are consistently breathtaking, and accumulate real power. The cameras look on in vain as massive icesheets shear off, leaving once-mighty glaciers – characterised in the manner of the endangered species in Attenborough documentaries – to slump into the sea. Behind them, they leave nothing – save colossal insurance premiums for those areas subsequently flooded by displaced waters.
If any film can convert the climate-change sceptics, »
- Mike McCahill
Could this be it? Could this be the thing that finally makes the doubters wake up and smell the global warming? I think it could be... but only if everyone sees Chasing Ice. Hear that? Everyone must see this movie. Even those who do not doubt. The film isn’t anything like “devastating proof” that the planet is warming -- we already have that, in piles and piles of scientific evidence. What we haven’t quite had is the devastating illustration of a reality that moves on scales our human-sized perception typically cannot see. Enter photographer James Balog, whose aim has been to make nature “seductive,” whose work has been celebrated by National Geographic and likened by experts to that of Ansel Adams. He set up the Extreme Ice Survey, invented new equipment for time-lapse photography in extreme environments, and set about documenting the retreat of glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
★★★★☆ Capping off a standout year for appealing, thought-provoking documentaries, Jeff Orlowski's Sundance Film Festival hit Chasing Ice (2012) is arguably the pick of the bunch - visually at least. Following the pioneering exploits of photographer turned climate change activist James Balog (now on his fourth knee operation due to his penchant for hiking in sub-zero temperature), Orlowski thankfully doesn't feel the need to ram the issue of global warming down his viewers' throats. Instead, the director seems to share the same belief as his likeable main subject; that certain stories are best told through images.
Read more » »
- CineVue UK
We wanted to pass on the excellent news that among the 15 titles that will advance in the voting process for the category of Best Documentary Feature, two of Dogwoof‘s own, The House I Live In and Chasing Ice, have been chosen in the shortlist by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The team at Dogwoof had this to say:
We’re very proud to have The House I Live In and Chasing Ice mentioned among so many other fantastic documentaries from the past year. The inclusion of these Dogwoof films is a testament to the power and persuasion of both films as they consider the world around us and push audiences towards making a change.
First up is Chasing Ice, that’s coming to cinemas December 14th.
Acclaimed photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change. But through his Extreme Ice Survey, he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet. »
- Dan Bullock
The Documentary Branch screened 126 films and will now watch the 15 contenders listed below again to determine the final five which will be revealed on Jan. 10, along with the rest of the Oscar nominations. -Insertgroups:8- In alphabetical order: "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" Directed by Alison Klayman. Synopsis - Chronicling artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and gets into an increasing number of clashes with the Chinese government. "Bully" Directed by Lee Hirsch. Synopsis - A documentary on peer-to-peer bullying in schools across America. "Chasing Ice" Directed by Jeff Orlowski. Synopsis - Follow National Geographic photographer James Balog across the Arctic as he deploys time-lapse cameras designed for one purpose: to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers. "Detropia" Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. Synopsis - A documentar »
The Earth is dying. Not in a metaphorical way and not dying over a geologic timescale of billions of years. But dying in a very real and observable way. Chasing Ice from director Jeff Orlowski offers striking evidence of a dying Earth in footage of events that have rarely ever been seen, much less recorded. Orlowski’s documentary profiles famed environmental photographer James Balog who, together with a small and dedicated team, has sought to capture on film the retreat of Earth’s glaciers using an army of time-lapse cameras positioned across the globe—from Alaska and Glacier National Park in Montana to »
Chasing Ice, a new documentary by Jeff Orlowski, follows award-winning environmental photographer James Balog on his journey to capture rapidly-eroding glaciers in the Arctic. Balog was once a skeptic about climate change and a cynic about the nature of academic research. But through his Extreme Ice Survey, he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet. In the film, Balog deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it won for Excellence in Cinematography, and was recently awarded the 2012 Environmental Media Award for Best Documentary. At the film’s press day, Balog and Orlowski talked about how their pioneering film makes global warming visual and emotional in a way that has never happened before. »
- Sheila Roberts
Practically everyone on the planet has their own opinions about global warming, one of the most polarizing topics in the 21st Century. World-renowned photographer James Balog and director Jeff Orlowski sought out to prove the drastic changes in our global climate by chronicling the eroding glaciers in the fascinating documentary Chasing Ice, currently playing in limited release and expanding to Los Angeles and Denver theaters November 23 (clickHere to find showtimes in your area).
Through the Extreme Ice Survey, they set up a number of still cameras in arctic climates around the world, set to take still photographs every hour over a few years. Using time-lapse technology, these years are compressed into mere seconds, and you can see the proof of our rapidly-changing climate before your very eyes in this stunning documentary. »
Just in time for Thanksgiving tables where politics reluctantly come up, the Chasing Ice trailer provides some excellent visual proof for those in the world that still doubt that the world is getting warmer. Whether or not you can convince them that humans are at fault is another issue, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could at least agree that science is a better starting point than “how Uncle Melbert’s knee feels when it’s about to rain”? Sorry, Uncle Melbert, but you might want to check this out. This documentary is a life-and-camera-endangering exercise that follows nature photographer James Balog complete the arduous task of placing time-lapse equipment in some of the harshest environmental conditions on the planet. His goal? Capturing footage of melting glaciers. The resulting shots are nothing short of awe-inspiring. There is a massive raw power in these mammoths disappearing from the landscape, and »
- Cole Abaius
After years of shooting in extreme conditions, National Geographic photographer James Balog finally realized he could no longer ignore the slow disappearance of frozen landscapes he’d come to know and love. In Chasing Ice, director and cinematographer Jeff Orlowski documents Balog’s ambitious plan to install 25 separate time-lapse cameras across the globe in order to record receding glaciers and shifting ice, dire omens of a changing climate with no audience to bear witness. All the while Orlowski follows directly behind, shooting in dog sleds and ice crevasses, capturing the troubles that beset the most impassioned plans and what one man is willing to risk for the perfect shot. Filmmaker spoke to Orlowski about the unique challenges of making the film.
Filmmaker: Balog’s documentation of receding glaciers across the globe is a multi-year endeavor in the film. What was the timeline of following his mission, and the making of Chasing Ice? »
- Martha Early
To crassly understate it, the weather on the Eastern Seaboard has been a bit unpleasant. Hurricane Sandy was a disaster the likes of which public transit in New York City has never seen, and the crises of electricity and gas all over the region may continue well into November. Always ready to lighten the mood and lift our spirits, The Onion ran the following story: “Nation Suddenly Realizes This Just Going to Be a Thing That Happens from Now On.” As if responding to the challenge, a Nor’easter promptly hit on the night of November 7th. The satirical newspaper’s droll acceptance of climate change, however, isn’t yet shared by everyone. Enter Chasing Ice, the most recent in a wave of documentaries dead set on changing the national perception of the weather. It’s an uphill battle. This most recent cycle of presidential debates was the first since 1988 without a single mention of climate change »
- Daniel Walber
Warming Up to the Idea; Visually Recorded Hard Facts Closes the Climate Change Case for Good
The name James Balog should be quite familiar if you’re an avid reader of National Geographic. The highly regarded photographer has been a leading pictorial contributor for the monthly for years, and his cover story on melting glaciers became the best selling issue in recent memory. Against the elements, director Jeff Orlowski has documented the development and execution of Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey (Eis), a grandiose time lapse photography project that was set up across multiple continents in hopes of finding hard visual evidence of the impact of global warming on the accelerated melting of Earth’s largest glacial formations.
Despite thorough scientific research, global warming is still very much a bilateral debate because of the few remaining lobbyists. Skeptics refuse to see the facts through the data. Knowing this is true, »
- Jordan M. Smith
What Wednesday night’s engaging, high-profile New York screening of “Chasing Ice” needed was more conflict. Yes, Jeff Orlowski’s debut documentary will have plenty of competition throughout awards season, especially as it battles its way toward the Oscar podium. But I mean real argument, debate, confrontation. Because a breathtaking feature-length display of the effects of global warming is ultimately designed to change minds, and the one thing you can be pretty sure is going to be in short supply at a high-profile New York City awards-season screening is climate-change deniers. So, as impressive as that insanely moving footage was to capture, the real challenge for the "Chasing Ice” filmmakers— Orlowski and his producers, National Geographic, Submarine Deluxe and the film’s main subject, photographer James Balog — is to get Fox fixture Sean Hannity, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, the billionaire Koch Bros., and »
- Jay A. Fernandez
The votes have been tallied and now Hot Docs has announced the final winners at this year's festival. Jeff Orlowski's "Chasing Ice" took the People's Choice Award and Bart Layton's "The Imposter" won the Filmmakers Award. "Chasing Ice" follows "National Geographic" photographer James Balog as he documents the world's changing glaciers, while "The Imposter" explores the mysterious return of a child three and a half year's after he was kidnapped. This year's festival is reported as the largest edition ever with an estimated audience of 165,000 over 11 days. "In these challenging times for Canadian doc-makers, our audience numbers have broken all previous records,” say Chris McDonald, Hot Docs executive director. “This country has a global reputation for outstanding documentary filmmaking, and Toronto audiences are quite possibly the best in the world. We need to »
- Devin Lee Fuller
29th April saw the last day of the Sundance London Film and Music festival, which took place at the O2 Arena.
Sundance London was a highly-anticipated event. As the first Sundance festival to be hosted outside of its home in Utah, it was exciting to discover an event that was so successful in the Us was going to have its own UK counterpart.
For a first-time festival, it was a huge gamble – the last time a film-based event took place at the O2 (Empire Big Screen in August 2011), there were some issues with crowd control and general disinterest amongst film fans and O2 visitors. There were misgivings on how British filmgoers would take to the festival, seeing as independent cinema is at risk due to lack of Government funding and support. But my personal general impression of the festival is positive.
The film programme was diverse and generated a lot of interest. »
- Katie Wong
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