By Jason Guerrasio | Indiewire January 26, 2012 at 4:02PM
The National Geographic Channel has acquired the TV rights to “Chasing Ice” and says a theatrical partner will follow shortly.
Jeff Orlowski’s U.S. Documentary Competition doc has been getting high marks for its beautiful cinematography, which is only equaled by the work of its subject, photographer James Balog.
The film follows Balog who, after going out on an assignment to take photographs of climate change, discovers a much larger project that reaches epic proportions.
The deal was negotiated by Submarine and Pryor Cashman.
Read full press release:
(Sundance Film Festival — January 26, 2012) Submarine Entertainment announced today that National Geographic Channel (NGC) has purchased television rights for the feature documentary Chasing Ice from Exposure, LLC following its Sundance Film Festival screening in the US Documentary Competition category. It was announced tonight by NGC Executive Vice President of Programming Michael Cascio and Josh Braun & David Koh of Submarine Entertainment.
The deal was negotiated by Braun & Koh of Submarine and Wilder Knight and Anne Atkinson of Pryor Cashman LLP on behalf of the Producers and Director along with Lisa Truitt, President of National Geographic Entertainment Cinema Ventures. The film was Produced by Jeff Orlowski, Paula DuPre’ Pesmen, and Jerry Aronson; Written by Mark Monroe; Associate Produced by Stacy Sherman and Billy Ray; Music by J. Ralph; Cinematography by Jeff Orlowski; Edited by Davis Coombe.
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” according to Editor Dennis Dimick. But for Balog, that story marked the beginning of a much larger and longer-term project that would reach epic proportions.
The documentary, which Harry Potter director and producer Chris Columbus has called “the most important film of the year,” follows Balog to the Arctic as he attempts to capture images of the Earth's changing climate.
“This has been a passion project for the entire team for the past 5 years, and to announce this deal following our premiere at Sundance is a dream come true,” said director Jeff Orlowski. “We’re so glad that National Geographic is joining our team and helping to shine a light on James’s powerful imagery.
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 time-lapse 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.
“This documentary is one of the highlights of the Sundance slate and an obvious fit for our distinguished global brand and we are pleased to work with the filmmakers to help present their wonderful and important film,” added Cascio.
National Geographic has an extensive history of involvement in Balog and his work and in 2009, National Geographic Books published "EXTREME ICE NOW: Vanishing Glaciers and Changing Climate: A Progress Report." Balog's ice survey photographs also appeared in two issues of National Geographic magazine in 2007 and 2010.
This also marks the latest in a number of high profile programming announcements since Howard T. Owens took over as the network president in November, including the recently announce Tony and Ridley Scott production on the New York Times best-selling novel Killing Lincoln.
Chasing Ice is directed by Jeff Orlowski, the cinematographer for the Extreme Ice Survey. In addition to Orlowski, producers include Paula DuPre' Pesmen, the winner of the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary and 2010 Producers Guild of America 'Producer of the Year' for her role on The Cove and Jerry Aronson, Academy Award nominee and Director of The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg. Writer is Mark Monroe, who won the Writers Guild of America (WGA) award for Best Documentary in 2010 for his work on The Cove. Editor Davis Coombe received an Academy Award nomination for his short documentary The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner and is currently shortlisted for the upcoming Academy Awards for his film Saving Face. Music by J. Ralph who scored The Cove and Man On Wire. J. Ralph also wrote the original song “Before My Time” for "Chasing Ice," performed by Scarlett Johansson.