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The Antarctica Challenge – Interview with Mark Terry



“Was it cold?” The question documentary filmmaker Mark Terry often gets when interviewed about his film The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning.  From watching his film, it looked like it was a bit chilly but not cold enough from stopping him from taking the opportunity to jump in the lake for a quick swim with some penguins.

The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning takes a look at the dramatic climate changes occurring in Antarctica and the chain effect those changes have had on the world.  The film explores the startling phenomenon of suicide among penguins, the melting of polar ice caps, rising sea levels and the sudden appearance of new vegetation. Now one of the top 10 most popular documentaries of all time on IMDB, The Antarctica Challenge provides us a rare and extraordinary glimpse of the world’s most remote and mysterious continent.

I had a chance to sit down with Mark recently and talk about his multi-award winning film and his upcoming project which will focus on how climate change is impacting north and south poles. I think he seemed surprised that I didn’t ask if he was cold, instead I had my own question that I was dying to ask, which I’ll get to later.

Mark spent a year and a half filming, researching and working with research scientist to bring together The Antarctica Challenge.  With on going research and reports from around the world on climate change, there was still a lack of reports coming out of Antarctica. So as a documentary filmmaker, he felt Antarctica was the obvious place to go and see what was happening there. What he found confirmed the concerns about rising sea levels and temperatures but he also witnessed the strange phenomenon occurring with penguins. In the film, Mark discusses how climate change has effected penguins and how some have gone wandering off inland to never return. As their main food source, krill, is located in the waters, these wanderers end up going on what some consider a suicide march.

I personally found the film to be really interesting because as Mark mentioned during our interview, you don’t hear too much about Antarctica. But I’m not sure what drew me in more, the amazing cinematography and visual eyecandy of the vast landscape or seeing how much climate change has really affected the continent and its natural inhabitants.

What’s next for Mark? In October, Mark and his crew will begin working on his new film, The Polar Explorer. They will continue their work in examining how climate change is impacting our environment and compare these findings with what they discovered in Antarctica. They’ll be venturing through the Northwest Passage and explore previously inaccessible areas of the Arctic seas.  The Polar Explorer is expected to be released in Spring 2011.

The Antarctica Challenge is a phenomenal documentary that will open your eyes to a whole new world that you probably haven’t seen beyond the cute little penguins. And it’s one thing to hear people talk about global warming, pollution, melting polar ice caps, going green and all that jazz but it’s another thing to see and understand the magnitude of such environment changes and how much it effects every living thing on this planet.

Big thanks to Mark Terry for taking the time to chat with me and allowing me to shoot a few portraits! And I didn’t leave before asking my burning question, “So what do you think of this whole 2012 business?” [Mark laughs].

Check out the film The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning!


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