Submarine Entertainment has sold all U.S. rights (minus TV) for Jeff Orlowski's feature documentary "Chasing Ice" to Oscilloscope Laboratories, following the film's screening at SXSW Friday night. Oscilloscope plans to open the film theatrically later this year so that it will qualify for Oscar consideration before releasing the film on its DVD label and through its digital & VOD partners. National Geographic acquired television rights out of the Sundance Film Festival. Here's the TOH! interview; exclusive clip is below.
The official synopsis of the film:
When acclaimed photographer James Balog asked, “How can one take a picture of climate change?” his attention was immediately drawn to ice. Soon he was asked to do a cover story for National Geographic on glaciers that became the most popular and well-read piece in the magazine during the last five years. But for Balog, that story marked the beginning of a much larger and longer-term project that would reach epic proportions. In this breathtakingly beautiful documentary, filmmaker Orlowski follows the indomitable photographer as he brings to life the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS)—a massive photography project that placed 30 cameras across three continents to gather visual evidence of the Earth’s melting ice. "Chasing Ice" tells the story of a visionary artist who, in facing his own mortality, bequeaths the magic of photography and the adventure of the expedition to a new generation and captures the most visible sign of climate change on the planet today.
"Chasing Ice," which won the Cinematography Award at Sundance, has thus far received fairly strong reviews:
"The case for climate change is mounted in visually breathtaking yet conventional fashion in "Chasing Ice." Following the exhaustive efforts of photographer-scientist James Balog to capture irrefutable evidence of the world's glaciers in retreat, first-time helmer Jeff Orlowski's documentary supplies a heroic human-interest angle on global warming that's ultimately less remarkable than the grandeur of its arctic imagery."
The Hollywood Reporter:
"Aesthetics and eco-advocacy are a perfect match in Chasing Ice, a doc so stuffed with eye-soothing images one prays it can seduce a climate-change skeptic or two. With vistas made for the big screen and an engaging personality at its center, theatrical prospects are better than those of the usual eco-crisis film."
"The doc is obviously a big screen advocacy spotlight for the project, but it is also a fascinating portrait of a man infatuated with nature, photography, and their combined ability to affect people in spellbinding ways...Featuring never before captured time lapse photography as the film's center piece, this documentary should make for a revelatory experience for climate change naysayers."
Oscilloscope has proven its good taste in acquisitions over the past couple of years and going forward, having released Kelly Reichardt's "Meek's Cutoff" last spring and Lynne Ramsay's "We Need to Talk About Kevin." Still to come is Andrea Arnold's upcoming "Wuthering Heights."
Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.