A once-in-a-lifetime journey with Antarctica’s 21st century explorers Award-winning documentary filmmaker Anne Aghion takes you on an adventure in one of earth’s most remote locations – Antarctica. Aghion joins geologists Allan Ashworth and Adam R. Lewis as they explore Antarctica’s Dry Valleys in search of remnants of ancient life.
about the film
Professor Ashworth’s significant contributions to the natural sciences have led to an Antarctic glacier and four species of beetles being named after him. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the history of life on Earth, sedimentology and paleontology (the study of prehistoric life forms) at North Dakota State University in Fargo. His long-term paleoecological research has focused on the response of organisms to climate change. His fossil-based research in Antarctica focuses on the ecology and biogeography of an extinct Transantarctic mountain ecosystem which existed before 15 million years ago. He also has interests in integrating fossil and modern studies to predict responses of beetles to global warming as part of longer term conservation efforts, and is collaborating on interdisciplinary studies to understand the history of these insects in the Pacific Northwest, North Dakota and southern Chile. He has traveled widely during the course of a long career and has conducted field studies in Asia, Europe, North and South America, and in remote locations from Baffin Island to the Transantarctic Mountains. Ashworth is chair of the United States National Committee for Quaternary Research and Vice-President for the International Quaternary Association; both organizations are interested in the interdisciplinary study of the history of the natural environment during the Quaternary period—roughly covering the past 1.8 million years. A native of southern England, Ashworth graduated from the University of Birmingham before moving to the United States. Learn more about Allan Ashworth
A veteran of seven research seasons in Antarctica—working out to about a year-and-a-half in tents in the deep field—Dr. Adam Lewis is considered one of the world’s top experts on the glacial geology of the Transantarctic Mountains. His research centers on understanding the role that Antarctica has played in earth’s climate evolution, he has helped to show that the massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet shifted from a dynamic temperate-style configuration to its current sluggish, cold-based configuration about 14 million years ago – and that little has happened since. Originally from Blackfoot, Idaho, he became interested in geology at an early age accompanying his father—a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survery–on field trips. After obtaining his B.S. from Idaho State University, he worked for several years in the private sector as an environmental geologist. In a student career marked by numerous honors and awards, he earned an MS in Quaternary Science from the University of Maine in 2000, and his Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from Boston University in 2005. Both his Masters and Doctoral theses focused on his Antarctic research. During his field work, Lewis became interested in interdisciplinary examination of the region when he and a fellow student discovered extremely ancient lake sediments, including evidence of plants and insects, while trying to track the glacial history of the continent’s Olympus Range. This eventually led to the current collaboration with Professor Allan Ashworth, also in association with Professor David Marchant of Boston University. Before joining the faculty in Fargo in the Spring of 2007, Lewis comes to NDSU from Ohio State University in Columbus where he did post-doctoral research as the Byrd Fellow at the Byrd Polar Research Center. Learn more about Adam Lewis
Anne Aghion - Director & Producer
Nadia Ben Rachid - Editor
Sylvestre Guidi - Director of Photography
Richard Fleming - Sound Recordist
Benoit Gryspeerdt - Producer
Laurent Petitgand - Composer
Directed by Anne Aghion Produced by Benoît Gryspeerdt & Anne Aghion Edited by Nadia Ben Rachid Cinematography by Sylvestre Guidi Sound Recording by Richard Fleming Original score by Laurent Petitgand Sound Design by Roland Duboué & Béatrice Wick Sound Mix by Nathalie Vidal
A co-production of Dry Valleys Productions, ARTE France, and ITVS International, in association with Sundance Channel.
Produced with a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, with major support from the European Commission Directorate General for Research. Additional support from the Centre National de la Cinématographie, the Conseil Régional de la Région Rhône-Alpes, the Conseil Général de l’Ardèche, the SACEM, RTBF (Belgian Television) & SBS (Australia). Developed under the auspices of Eurodoc, with funding from the Media Program’s New Talent fund of the European Commission.
In English. High Definition, 5.0 Sound Mix. 77 minutes.
“An intriguing slice-of-life that observes the area’s staggeringly beautiful and imposing landscapes and the unique challenges experienced by those who work there. Pic should score broadcast sales in numerous territories.” —Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Anne Aghion’s Ice People, a film about explorers in Antarctica that might be the most immersive documentary I’ve ever seen.” —Bilge Ebiri, Vulture “Documentary filmmaker Anne Aghion follows research geologists… as they pick their way across Antarctica’s interior dry valleys, eventually discovering–in front of Aghion’s camera!–plant and animal fossils that prove the ice shelf at the bottom of the world was once green…. Highly recommended!” —Jennifer Merin, About.com Guide to Documentaries “A remarkable visual testament of life seen against the extraordinary backdrop of the beautiiful but bleak environment of Antarctica… Highly recommended.” —Video Librarian “An intriguing, focused and often captivating documentary filled with stunningly beautiful cinematography of the Antarctic landscape.” —The NYC Movie Guru “A return to… the exploits of the brave men and women who threw themselves into such hostile landscapes, and the narrative of the expedition itself. Now we consider such people scientists of various stripes, but back during the “Age of Heroic Exploration,” they were called adventurers.” —Farihah Zaman, Reverse Shot
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EDUCATIONAL USE RIGHTS: DVDs are licensed with Public Performance Rights for non-commercial and educational exhibition when no admission fee is charged. DVDs are “Leased for the life of the media.” Detailed licensing information (pdf). Available formats: HDcam, DIGIBETA, Dvcam, DVD. In English. High Definition, 5.0 Sound Mix. 77 minutes. DVDs may be purchased online via PayPal. Otherwise please order on official institutional letterhead, by Purchase Order, or pay by check in advance of shipping. For screening rentals and speaking engagements, please contact us.