Film Capsule: Chasing Ice

“The story is in the ice, somehow.”

So says global photographer-cum-activist James Balog, who has spent the past five-plus years of his career documenting – and subsequently lecturing about – the clear and present danger presented by global warming on our planet.

Back in 2007, Balog embarked upon a multi-year mission known as the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS). The goal: To document the day-to-day impact climate change is having by setting up real-time camera posts in high-risk areas spread across the glacial regions of Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, Switzerland, and beyond.

Chasing Ice chronicles Balog’s journey from brash rebel to weary traveler, incorporating oodles of scientific data along the way, almost all of which supports the need for change. The film is beautifully shot, wrought with panoramic views of the great northwest in all its majesty. On top of which, Chasing Ice delves almost metaphorically into the personal price Balog has paid for his vigilance – sacrificing his own body and spirit in order to ensure the work is completed and preserved.

In a cinematic sense, it’s important to keep in mind that Chasing Ice is slowly leading up to something … something very big, in fact. Something so substantial that it may cause even the most fervent of skeptics to step back and consider the need for action on a global scale.

For, as Balog very bluntly points out toward the end of the film, “You can’t divorce civilization from nature. We totally depend on it.” It’s a timely message, to be sure. One that deserves to be both seen and heard. Thanks to James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey team, moviegoers now have an opportunity to do both.

(Chasing Ice arrives via limited release in Toronto and New York this Friday, with a staggered rollout for most major cities to follow. For a full list of theaters and dates, click here.)