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The Polar Explorer

Eco documentary film

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Interview with a Bi-Polar Explorer

  • Jan 7, 2011
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Photo: Mr. Ramon Terrado of ArcticNet

Grab a blanket! Mark Terry, the award-winning documentary filmmaker who brought us The Antarctic Challenge: A Global Warning, has another film in the hopper: The Polar Explorer. The Official COP16 Film! (COP16 is the 16th edition of Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) . View the trailer…

Mark was kind enough to take time out of his tremendously busy schedule to answer some questions about his crew’s October 2010 expedition across The Northwest Passage to the most remote and mysterious parts of our planet: the Polar Regions.

What was the most surprising discovery?
Perhaps the “seabed donuts”, found at a depth of about 1,500 feet, these are huge rings measuring 200 meters across by 30 meters high (600 feet by 100 feet).

Unknown circular features on the Arctic seabed. Photo: Jonathan R

What was most disappointing?
The lack of sea ice. Our rugged Coast Guard icebreaker seemed like overkill in these barely frozen Arctic seas.

An Arctic sunrise | Photo: Mark Terry

Any frightening moments?
When we were hunted by polar bears. We were approaching a ridge to plant an ice motion beacon when a “watcher” on the ship said on the loudspeaker “STOP! Do not go any further! Polar bears on the other side of the ridge! Return to the ship IMMEDIATELY!” We bid a hasty and heart-pounding retreat, but the ship blew its foghorn chasing the bears away. We returned to plant the beacons – nervously.

Photo: Mark Terry

How about the funniest?
The sheer giddiness of the scientists who were celebrating their unexpected HUGE haul of marine life at a midnight collection. Like pirates celebrating the recovery of a treasure chest full of gold and diamonds, the scientists were raising worms, squids and starfish in the air with their bare hands laughing with delight over their biological bounty.

Arctic starfish | Photo: Mark Terry

More Arctic starfish | Photo: Mark Terry

Anything embarrassing?
Not for us, but perhaps for the scientists when our sound guy, Steve McNamee, made a major scientific discovery while casually looking out the window of the bridge. He spotted a collection of round ice balls that the scientists, the ice specialist and the crew of the ship had never seen before.

Formation of ice | Photo: Mark Terry

What inspired you to explore such cold regions?
A vacation in Alaska when I first came face-to-face with the size, beauty and majesty of an iceberg. The unique eco-system seemed other-worldly and fragile and I became a hungry student of the polar regions and why they are so unique and how they impact on us even though, by and large, we ignore them and know very little about them.

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January 08, 2011
Thanks for this little glimpse into the arctic! I would love to see The Polar Explorer. PS: Love your blog and shopping site :)
January 08, 2011
Thanks for reading and checking out my blog and site! CHEERS!
January 08, 2011
Great interview, Lynn! This is an exciting insider look at one of the most fragile and quickly disappearing ecosystems on Earth. Thanks so much for sharing :)
January 08, 2011
Glad you found it interesting. Can hardly wait for the release in the spring. The film's director is also part of an amazing film and concert, Polar, which premieres in Liverpool tonight! You can read more about that here: They'll be touring the world.
January 08, 2011
Those photos are GORGEOUS! That trailer looked amazing...kinda makes me wish I was in Liverpool lol. I loved the rest of your blog as well! Thanks so much for the link!
About the reviewer
Lynn Johnson Hasselberger ()
Ranked #7
I'm a mom, wife, advocate for people + planet, writer, morning person, chocolate lover and HUGE fan of comedy. Founder of and the I Count for myEARTH blog, I also contribute to elephantjournal,com … more
About this movie


Sought by explorers for centuries as a possible trade route, Canada’s Northwest Passage was first navigated by Norwegian Roald Amundsen in 1903–1906, a true polar explorer. Amundsen was the first man to reach the South Pole as well. Until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular marine shipping throughout most of the year, but climate change has reduced the pack ice, and this Arctic shrinkage has made the waterways more navigable.

Now, one of the first scientific expeditions to explore the Passage will be taking place on the aptly named icebreaker, the Amundsen, in October, 2010. The Polar Explorer crew will be on this landmark expedition. 

Studying the effects of climate change in this Arctic region, in general, and discovering new life on the ocean seabed and other previously inaccessible areas of the Arctic seas, in particular, will be the focus of this one-hour HD documentary.

This historic journey, featuring the work of 10 of the world’s foremost polar scientists over a two-week crossing, will be the highlight of a film that will also compare and contrast these findings with the latest studies being conducted at the other end of the earth – Antarctica. 

New scientific discoveries being made related to climate change this year in Antarctica will be included to provide a unique comparison of current climate change research at both ends of the earth. 

In addition to showing how warmer temperatures are affecting the ...
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Film, Video, Science, Documentary, Climate Change, Global Warming, Arctic, Eco, Polar, Mark Terry, Sea Level Rise, Antarctic


Director: Mark Terry
Genre: Documentary
Release Date: Spring 2011
Screen Writer: Mark Terry
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