‘Chasing Ice’ kicks off the Eagle Valley Alliance film series on Tuesday in Avon | VailDaily.com

‘Chasing Ice’ kicks off the Eagle Valley Alliance film series on Tuesday in Avon

Caramie Schnell
2.12.08 | Iceland/Svínafellsjökull Glacier
James Balog/Extreme Ice Survey |

The series lineup

A total of seven documentary films are part of the series. Each month through May, a film will show twice, the first Tuesday of the month at Loaded Joe’s in Avon, and the third Tuesday of the month at Dusty Boot in Eagle. The shows start at 6:30 p.m.

“We picked up-to-date films this year where in the past, we’ve used films that were a bit older,” said Melissa Kirr, the education, outreach and office coordinator for the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainable.

While each film is on a different topic — with everything from dumpster diving for food (“DIVE!”) in California to teaching women in third world countries how to be solar engineers (“Solar Mamas”), there is a common theme, Kirr said.

“They’re all about environmental issues that are affecting the world today, some here in the U.S. and some on a global scale,” she said.

Here’s a look at the films showing:

Tuesday and again Nov. 19: “Chasing Ice”

The story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of climate change. Using time-lapse cameras, his videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.

Dec. 3 and 17: “DIVE!”

Inspired by a curiosity about our country’s careless habit of sending food straight to landfills, the multi award-winning documentary DIVE! follows filmmaker Jeremy Seifert and friends as they dumpster dive in the back alleys and gated garbage receptacles of Los Angeles’ supermarkets. In the process, they salvage thousands of dollars worth of good, edible food.

Jan. 7 and 21: “All.I.Can”

class="STND-STND BodyText"> An unparalleled cinematic experience: All.I.Can is a stunning exploratory essay that compares the challenges of big mountain skiing to the challenges of global climate change. Shot on six continents over two years, the world’s best skiers deliver inspirational performances while ground-breaking cinematography expands our vision of the natural world.

Feb. 4 and 18: “Solar Mamas”

A strong-minded Bedouin woman struggles against tradition and society as she seeks to become Jordan’s first solar engineer. Rafea lives with her four daughters in one of Jordan’s poorest desert villages on the Iraqi border. She is given a chance to travel to India to attend the Barefoot College, where illiterate grandmothers from around the world are trained in 6 months to be solar engineers. If Rafea succeeds, she will be able to electrify her village, train more engineers, and provide for her daughters.

March 4 and 18: “Elemental”

The story of three individuals united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most pressing ecological challenges of our time. The film follows Rajendra Singh, an Indian government official gone rogue, Eriel Deranger is a young leader from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in northern Alberta, Canada, and Jay Harman is a prolific, award-winning inventor and entrepreneur who finds inspiration in nature.

April 1 and 15: “Tiny”

The film follows one couple’s attempt to build a “tiny house” from scratch, and profiles other families who have downsized their lives into homes smaller than the average parking space. Through homes stripped down to their essentials, the film raises questions about good design, the nature of home, and the changing American Dream.

May 6 and 20: “Minds in the Water”

An award-winning documentary following the quest of professional surfer Dave Rastovich and his friends to protect dolphins, whales and the oceans they all share. Through Dave’s journey — a five-year adventure spanning the globe from Australia to the Galapagos, Tonga, California, Alaska and Japan — we see one surfer’s quest to activate his community to help protect the ocean and its inhabitants.

Starting Tuesday evening, the second annual Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainable Community Film Series kicks off at Loaded Joe’s in Avon. The first film, called “Chasing Ice,” follows environmental photographer James Balog as he deploys time lapse cameras to capture a multi year record of the world’s changing glaciers as part of his Extreme Ice Survey. His beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear.

The film, directed by Jeff Orlowski, the same man who produced the Academy Award winning documentary “The Cove,” has been getting a lot of press since it was released. Among the long list, it nabbed the “Excellence in Cinematography” award from the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 and was an Audience Award Festival Favorite at SXSW in 2012.

Orlowski answered a few questions about the film:

Vail Daily: Talk about how “Chasing Ice” came to you as a film. How did you get involved?

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Jeff Orlowski: I was connected to James Balog through a good mutual friend, and we met on occasion in Boulder every time I visited. I was a photographer, and a huge fan of James’s work, and really wanted to work with him. In 2007, he started his project called the Extreme Ice Survey and I offered to help for free. I went with him and a team to Iceland when he started installing his first time lapse cameras, and I filmed the entire trip. It was mostly just to document what he was doing, and to have a record of the project. Then I went with him to Greenland, and then Alaska, and then kept traveling with him, filming everywhere we went.

As time went by, we had collected a great archive of the project, and I knew we could make a great film out of it. There have been so many efforts to document climate change, but this one was unique

As James’ time lapses started to come back from the field, we knew the project was working. So I put all my efforts into making a feature doc, built a world class team to support me, and spent the next few years dedicated to ice.

VD: How many locations did you shoot at and how did you select them?

JO: The list is too long! Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, Glacier National Park in Montana, the Alps, Bolivia, Canada … Wherever James went, we followed. James selected the locations to install his time lapse cameras based on wanting to capture a very broad representation of glaciers all around the world. He wanted his Extreme Ice Survey to show people how glaciers are responding everywhere not just in one small region; so, we followed him everywhere. Beyond the work in the field, we filmed scientists and experts all around the country who could help explain why James’s work is so critical.

VD: What were your biggest challenges during filming?

JO: The biggest challenge was the harsh environments. We had weather as low as negative 30 degrees. One winter night in Greenland, I thought I was going to freeze to death in our cabin. Our heater was leaking gas so we decided to go to sleep without it. I woke up in the middle of the night from my own teeth chattering. I rubbed my body to stay warm, and suffered until sunrise.

But as cold as it was, and as difficult as it may seem, that was all the fun stuff. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. I’d much rather be out shooting than editing!

VD: “Chasing Ice” features some very moving images of how climate change is impacting our natural world. What do you hope audiences take away from the film?

JO: As James says, he wants people to realize that these images are visual evidence of climate change. His time lapses capture that process in action. It’s really hard for the average person to see the impact that humans have on the planet, especially when we live in a huge, beautiful country like America. You can drive across the States and spend days just looking out at huge open fields, and think, “How is my little car supposed to be having some sort of impact on all of that?”

Yet, what James has documented is that visual record. It’s something that people can see and feel that represents what the science has concluded. Glaciers may seem really far away, in a distant world that nobody ever goes to, yet we humans are changing them. I hope that “Chasing Ice” can take James’ work and make it real for people; to take the beautiful world of ice and to make it tangible and bring it close to home. If it helps change how people think about their relationship to nature, and how human beings exist on this planet, then I’ll consider it a success.

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