'To the Arctic' tells tale of climate change and survival
By Kellie B. Gormly
Published: Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 9:03 p.m.
In an IMAX film making its Pittsburgh debut Friday, viewers will follow the arduous journey of a family of polar bears struggling to survive both a harsh and changing climate.
“To the Arctic” — showing at the Carnegie Science Center's Rangos Omnimax Theater — gives people an intimate look at a mother polar bear and her twin 7-month-old cubs as they live their daily lives in frigid Norway, near the Arctic Circle. The bears struggle to survive in a world of melting ice, giant glaciers, waterfalls and snow-capped mountains. Viewers see this on the giant, panoramic IMAX screen, and get the sense that they are right there with the bears, says Stephen Judson, the film's writer and editor.
Judson says that he hopes the film will change the issue of climate change from the theoretical to the personal, in a non-preachy way.
“There's definitely an environmental message in the film,” he says. “If you just make a film about climate change full of facts and figures, it's hard to make that compelling. If you make a film about a polar bear family ... that is struggling with climate change, it kind of brings it home to people.”
Polar bears, who have become poster children for environmental issues, make a great film subject, because they are so appealing to people and offer great visuals, Judson says.
IMAX filmmakers made “To the Arctic” during five shoots that took place over about two years. Filming in the Arctic environment is challenging, and polar bears typically avoid people, Judson says. Yet, surprisingly, the mother bear allowed the crew — filming from an icebreaker ship — to remain close for a few days. An underwater cameraman who was filming the bears swimming got close, and even found himself sandwiched between the cubs and the mother, Judson says.
“Bears avoid people and cameras, which is part of what makes this footage so extraordinary,” he says. “The mother bear wasn't domesticated. ... She just chose not to run away. ... It's rare to be in their presence so much.”
Actress Meryl Streep narrates the 40-minute movie, which includes a part about caribou migration. The movie came out in the spring, shortly after producers finished creating it, Judson says.
He hopes that people who watch “To the Arctic” will care about the animals, and feel motivated to help.
“What we hope to do is make a difference in people's understanding and attitudes toward the environment,” he says. Judson hopes that, through watching the movie, people go further and get a “determination to take action to actually help with the problem of climate change.”
“I try to make the message as palatable as I can,” Judson says. “We don't want to make a movie like a lecture. We want the information and the messages to emerge naturally ... out of the movie, so you don't feel like you're being lectured to.”
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7824.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Panthers free agent safety headed to Steelers
- Orpik rises to occasion as Penguins take down Capitals once again
- Figure skating coach dies in crash at Washington County Airport
- Police charge Westmoreland County priest in $124,000 theft case
- Penguins notebook: Letang skating, but no return set
- Starkey: No shame for Robert Morris
- Can Pirates star outfielder McCutchen be even better in 2014?
- Obamacare dramatically increases costs for some small businesses
- Pitt aware of Carolina schools’ history in dominating ACC Tournament
- Peduto takes down Pittsburgh’s Redd Up crew
- Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto proposes $16M for schools to boost population