Antarctica: The Frozen Time

Plants with plate-sized leaves, penguins on mountain ranges, corals in ice water—this is Antarctica, diverse and full of life. The ice desert surprises with geological giants: mountains, lakes, volcanoes, glaciers, plus a diverse flora and fauna. It is a new discovery of the continent from above, today one of the most vulnerable places in a world that is rapidly heated up…

Antarctica: The Frozen Time

Unlike the Arctic, the Antarctic is still fairly unexplored. A political exception, a continent with geological variations, protected by the international Antarctic Treaty of 1961—and therefore mainly accessible for scientific researchers: no permanent human settlement, no economic exploitation of resources, no clear national affiliation.

The focus of the film is the diversity of the continent. While the north and east are dominated by the ice desert, the south and west are two key ecological regions: the Ross Sea area on the New Zealand side and the Antarctic Peninsula on the Chilean side. Diversity is most visible at these centers, where glaciers, volcanoes and grasslands coexist, where more than 30 percent of the global population of Adelie Penguins lives and almost half of the Antarctic whales circle around in over 1.5 million square kilometers.

The Antarctic is depicted on two levels: On the first, viewers get to know the continent from above where the beauty of nature and the geological diversity unfold in in front of the viewer’s eyes.

At some stations, the film team will come closer to the wildlife, including underwater shots. This is the second level. The loss of diversity will be discussed here. Whales, penguins, leopard seals, corals, for example, have transformed over millions of years to adapt to the harsh living conditions. They were able to survive nature’s challenges but today they are endangered…

Little is known of the ecological and geological diversity of the Antarctic. The film is searching for this diversity. The audience should first get to know the natural phenomena and their beauty in order to understand the value and, on the second level, to understand which treasures are being destroyed. Temperatures are rising so quickly that all life is threatened. Their hunting grounds are shrinking, food bases are giving way to the algal bloom that spreads in warm water–and evolution with its healing adaptive power cannot keep up with change.

Although Antarctica has always been a place of transformation, the rapid warming is a clear sign of a man-made climate catastrophe.

Director and Writer: Tuan Lam, Yves Simard