2013 FiRe Featured Film: Pandora’s Promise

The recent reactor meltdowns in Japan have ignited passionate worldwide debate about energy and the future of nuclear power. PANDORA’S PROMISE is a feature-length documentary that explores how and why mankind’s most feared and controversial technological discovery is now passionately embraced by many of those who once led the charge against it. The film is anchored around the personal narratives of a growing number of leading former anti-nuclear activists and pioneering scientists who, in the face of considerable controversy, are directly challenging the anti-nuclear orthodoxy that is a founding tenet of the mainstream environmental movement. Their stories and ideas will be brought to life through a combination of incredible archival footage from 1945 to the present and original filming across the globe.

Operating as history, cultural meditation and contemporary exploration, PANDORA’S PROMISE aims to inspire a serious and realistic debate over what is without question the most important question of our time: how do we continue to power modern civilization without destroying it?



2012 FiRe Featured Film: Chasing Ice

2012 FiRe Featured Film: Chasing Ice

In the spring of 2005, National Geographic photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change and a cynic about the nature of academic research. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: the Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.

UPDATE: Even prior to its fall 2012 theatrical release, as of August 2012 Chasing Ice had won 15 awards, including the Sundance Cinematography Award and a Sundance nomination for Grand Jury Prize, and the SXSW Audience Award. Its theatrical release is scheduled for November 2012 in select theaters.

UPDATE (10/4/2012): The Chasing Ice team is very proud to announce that we have just been awarded Best Documentary at the 22nd Annual Awards of the Environmental Media Association. This honor recognizes the work that Chasing Ice is doing to provide visual evidence of climate change and highlight climate change as one of the most important issues of our time.

View more news about Chasing Ice here.

Participant at FiRe 2012:
James Balog, Photographer
Board of Directors, Earth Vision Trust
Director, Extreme Ice Survey
4780 Sterling Drive, Suite B
Boulder, Colorado 80301
O: (303) 494-1737
C: (303) 888-4211

Extreme Ice Survey is a research affiliate of:

The Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research, University of Colorado
Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University

Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) is a project of Earth Vision Trust (EVT). EVT’s mission is the creation of innovative visual evidence of our impact on ice, air, water, forests, and wildlife. Ten years, a billion people, inspired to change. EVT creates inspirational public installations and educational materials, and keeps James Balog and his team in the field.






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2011 FiRe Film: The Last Mountain

From the website: In the valleys of Appalachia, a battle is being fought over a mountain. It is a battle with severe consequences that affect every American, regardless of their social status, economic background, or where they live. It is a battle that has taken many lives and continues to do so the longer it is waged. It is a battle over protecting our health and environment from the destructive power of Big Coal.The mining and burning of coal is at the epicenter of America’s struggle to balance its energy needs with environmental concerns. Nowhere is that concern greater than in Coal River Valley, West Virginia, where a small but passionate group of ordinary citizens are trying to stop Big Coal corporations, like Massey Energy, from continuing the devastating practice of Mountain Top Removal.

Massive profit allows Big Coal to wield incredible financial influence over lobbyists and government officials in both parties, rewrite environmental protection laws, avoid lawsuits, and eliminate more than 40,000 mining jobs, all while claiming to be a miner’s best friend.

… [A] belief that America was founded on the democratic principal that no individual or corporation owns the air and water and we all share the responsibility of protecting it, drives these patriotic citizens and their supporters from outside of Appalachia, like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., to keep fighting…. The Last Mountain shines a light on America’s energy needs and how those needs are being supplied. It is a fight for our future that affects us all.

UPDATE: The Last Mountain was selected as a 2011 Sundance film and named a New York Times “Critics Pick.” Inspired by the film and its outreach campaign, a growing number of nonprofit and grassroots organizations have joined forces to launch an innovative campaign to promote the film and raise awareness to end mountaintop removal, promote economically viable and sustainable energy solutions, and direct folks to find meaningful ways of staying engaged in the debate. Want to join them? Visit their website here: www.dontwatchthisfilm.org.

Participant at FiRe 2011: Tim Disney, Executive Producer (pictured)

Website: http://thelastmountainmovie.com/

Take Action: http://thelastmountainmovie.com/take-action/

2010 FiRe Film: Climate Refugees

From The New York Times: “During the shooting of his 2010 documentary Climate Refugees, the Irish-American filmmaker Michael Nash visited nearly 50 countries in about 18 months, interviewing politicians, scientists, health workers and victims of floods, cyclones, hurricanes and droughts.”His conclusion was that short- and longer-term changes in climate are causing vast numbers of people to abandon their jobs, homes and countries to seek better lives elsewhere, or to simply survive….

“Mr. Nash poses a basic question: what will become of the millions of people whose lack of access to food and clean water leads them to take increasingly desperate measures? What type of strains will huge migration put on resources in more developed countries?

“Will this dislocation eventually, as the retired Navy vice admiral Lee Gunn told Mr. Nash, pose a threat to Americans’ national security, too?

“By focusing on the consequences of climate change rather than its scientific causes, some experts suggest that Mr. Nash succeeded in circumventing a divisive political debate over global warming and the extent to which human activity contributes to it.

“‘Whether it’s man or nature causing the climate to change, we still have to deal with islands going under water and people running out of food,’ Mr. Nash said….”

Participants at FiRe 2010: Michael P. Nash, Director; and Stephen Nemeth, Executive Producer

Website: www.sundance.org/nowplaying/film/climate-refugees/

2009: The First FiRe Film Screening: The Cove

From the website: Academy Award® Winner for Best Documentary of 2009, The Cove follows an elite team of activists, filmmakers, and freedivers as they embark on a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Taiji, Japan, shining a light on a dark and deadly secret.Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, including hidden microphones and cameras in fake rocks, the team uncovers how this small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive ecological crimes happening worldwide. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure, and arresting imagery, adding up to an unforgettable story that has inspired audiences worldwide to action.

The Cove is directed by Louie Psihoyos and produced by Paula DuPré Pesmen and Fisher Stevens. The film is written by Mark Monroe. The executive producer is Jim Clark, and the co-producer is Olivia Ahnemann.

UPDATE: Winner of 46 awards as of July 2012, including the Academy Award® for Best Documentary of 2009, The Cove continues to have a powerful effect on reducing the dolphin kill in Taiji and keeping mercury out of the lunches of schoolchildren in Japan.

Participant at FiRe 2009 and FiRe 2012: Louie Psihoyos, Director

Website: www.thecovemovie.com

Take Action: www.takepart.com/cove and www.opsociety.org/securedonation.htm