In 2007 James Balog started a multi-year initiative called "Extre Ice Survey" (or EIS), targeting glaciers in Iceland, Greenland and Alaska where he placed about two dozen cameras to document what is happening to glaciers around the world. Director Jeff Orlowski and his team tagged along and the results of this were captured in a documentary called "Chasing Ice". It played very briefly here in SW Ohio a few months back and I missed it but I finally had a chance to see it last month at the West End Cinema in Washington DC.
"Chasing Ice" (2012 release; 76 min.) feels like a National Geogprahic special, and this is not a surprise (nor a complaint) in that James Balog started a pre-EIS project in partnership with National Geographic. Once it became clear to Balog that this could be something very special, the project was expanded into what would become the EIS. This movie was shot over a period of almost 4 years, and the patience with which this movie came about really pays off. If you think this is some one-man show, you will be surprised to see how many people became involved with this, and what the techological challenges were and how they would need to overcome (the most obvious one being: how to shelter the cameras from the relentless weather elements). Once the cameras are positioned, they were to make photographs every 30 min. during the daylight hours. When you collect the thousands of pictures into a time-lapse film, the results are nothing short of astonishing. In addition to the time-lapse photography, there is various video footage as well. Sometimes you need to be a little lucky, as when a team goes out in the hope of catching the "calving" of a glacier (when a huge piece breaks off), and then actually catches it on camera (the concluding part of the movie is primarily the jaw-dropping footage of a "calving" the size of lower Manhattan from a glacier in Greenland).
In all, I can't say enough about this movie. I was initially a bit skeptical of going to see this due to the rather short running time, but all I can say is that I am very glad I went anyway, as this movie will without a doubt blow your mind, as it did mine. If you have a chance to see this, either in the theatre or on DVD, do not miss it. "Chasing Ice" is HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!