Indiegogo Projects To Watch: Gatekeepers of the Arctic

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

With more and more productions going green, it’s clear that Hollywood is taking climate change very seriously and is starting to practice the message that they want to send. And that’s a good thing.  But the message is always as important in the balance as setting a good example.  With that in mind, there’s a cool non-profit project on Indiegogo that shares the message of climate change in a very personal way. It’s called Gatekeepers of the Arctic, and you may want to get involved to help them finish this compelling documentary.

Filmed in the striking landscape of Greenland, Gatekeepers of the Arctic is a documentary film that chronicles the stories of local Inuit, and visiting scientists, who witness a life increasingly challenged by the environmental transformation in the Arctic. Their diaries intertwine with voices of individuals thousands of miles away, as they also suffer from the devastating effects of climate change. By linking these lives, the documentary illustrates the challenges we face as a global community, in an ecologically unstable and increasingly unsustainable world. – Gatekeepers of the Arctic Indiegogo Page

Gatekeepers of the Arctic centers on a team of Scientists headed up by Dr. Konrad Steffen, of the University of Colorado and sponsored by NASA, who brings his team to Greenland every summer to conduct research and to study the affects of climate change on the Greenland glacier.  His story is told in concert with Ivaneq Kristiansen, an Inuit who’s village has lived for generations on the Greenland ice and has witnessed the gradual change that  is not only accelerating, but amplifying.  It’s a story that goes beyond the political back and forth of whether or not climate change is real, and show’s it’s impact from a first person perspective.

What makes this project interesting is that the Inuit population on Greenland are getting impacted not only from the effects of what scientists say is increasingly accelerated global warming, but also the rapidly changing modern world which may have just as large an impact on a society which has remained traditionally the same for thousands of years.  Hunting on dogsleds with teams of Alaskan Huskies may suddenly go missing due to soft ice that collapses underneath them (this also happened to the scientific camp – dubbed Swiss Camp – which collapsed last summer from the ice melting under it).  But the young Inuit are being lured away from a traditional way of life due to technology, social media, and other modern conveniences which are pulling the local population into the 21st century.  The only question is, can they survive?

From a technology angle, Gatekeepers of the Arctic is being shot in extreme conditions and the filmmakers turned to the Sony HXR-NX5U to handle the harsh arctic climate of minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures and extreme wind conditions going as high at 80 miles an hour. The amazing thing is that cold weather is the enemy of electronics, especially battery power, but the NX5U was able to capture the midnight sun for hours without dying.   “Five hours later I woke up from the heavy wind that was pounding against my tent,” recalls filmmaker Corina Gamma. “I remembered that I had the camera out on the glacier exposed to all the wind. I was sure it had fallen over and being buried under the unrelenting snow drift. I pulled myself together to check up on the camera. To my surprise, the camera was still standing, but what was even more amazing the Sony was still filming.”

Gamma has spent the last several summers in Greenland living with the Inuit people and chronicling their life.  She’s also spent many a blizzard huddled up at “Swiss Camp,” the scientific weather and research station that researches the impact of climate change in Greenland year round.   She is joined by veteran documentary producer Markus Kaeppeli, who is heading up fund raising efforts on Indiegogo in an effort to raise the $75,000 they need to finish this important first person account.

The Gatekeepers of the Arctic Indiegogo campaign has over 30 days to go, and they’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Check out the videos below.

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.