Despite the lack of snow and the unseasonably warm weather in NYC, winter officially arrived last week. With colder weather in the forecast for the next few months, 2011's final Indiewire-curation of Hulu's Documentaries page celebrates the new season with a varied selection of cold weather programming.
While not necessarily tied to winter, Mt Everest's status as the world's highest mountain makes it a snowy spot. 1953's "The Conquest of Everest," an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary, captures the danger and grandeur of attempting the ascent of the imposing Himalayan peak.
"From Freezer to Furnace" covers the extremes of hot and cold. This science doc explores the coldest and hottest inhabited areas of the world, and how and why individuals choose to live there – from Siberia to Death Valley.
A group of artists and scientists make their own expedition to a place of extreme cold in "Burning Ice." David Buckland's Cape Farewell project facilitates research on climate change while also allowing creative inspiration for the artists through their experience of Greenland and its shifting environment.
National Geographic sponsored a similar kind of expedition in "Terra Antarctica." Over the course of six weeks, the impact of climate change is viewed around the remote, icy continent directly from sea level.
Moving from the frigid South Pole to the legendary North Pole, Jeff Myers' "Becoming Santa" takes a heartfelt look at its most famous resident. OK, it's not really set in the chilly Arctic. Instead, the doc follows Jack, a would-be Kris Kringle in sunny Los Angeles, as he prepares himself to take on the role of a mall Santa.
Another film subject with Arctic roots is profiled in the nature documentary "Knut & Friends." Knut the polar bear was actually born in captivity in Berlin, and spawned an international fanbase consumed by "Knutmania" until his unexpected accidental death earlier this year.
EDITOR'S NOTE: "Indiewire @ Hulu Docs" is a regular column spotlighting the Iw-curated selections on Hulu's Documentaries page, a unique collaboration between the two sites. Indiewire selections typically appear in the carousel at the top of the page and under "Featured Content" in the center. Be sure to check out the great non-fiction projects available to watch free of charge. Disclosure: Some of the selections are titles provided to Hulu by SnagFilms, the parent company of Indiewire.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Basil Tsiokos is a Programming Associate, Documentary Features for Sundance and a consultant to documentary filmmakers and festivals. Follow him on Twitter (@1basil1) and visit his blog (what (not) to doc).