Antarctic Edge: 70° South is a science-in-action feature film, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, following a renowned team of scientists studying climate change in the fastest winter-warming place in the world. This documentary combines innovative science, dramatic imagery and two decades of scientific collaboration into a compelling character-driven narrative. Antarctic Edge hit theaters in Spring 2015, beginning with a world theatrical premiere at the Quad Cinema in New York City.
Our filmmakers had unprecedented access to critically important climate research in the fastest winter-warming place on earth: the West Antarctic Peninsula. In fact, this is the first time in history that the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) project at Palmer Station has ever been documented on film—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for viewers to follow the historic mission of prominent climate change scientists who push the limits of their research and come to terms with the sacrifices necessary to study and ultimately prepare for global climate change.
For the last twenty years, oceanographer Oscar Schofield and his team have witnessed rapid change in the West Antarctic Peninsula. Winter sea ice has declined by three months and temperatures have increased by 11 degrees Fahrenheit, six times greater than the global average. In 2014, experts declared Antarctic ice sheet melt unstoppable, placing the pressure on Schofield and his team. Their mission: to study the vulnerable wildlife populations along the West Antarctic Peninsula, particularly the Adelie Penguin whose populations have declined by 90%. For Schofield and his crew, these declining birds are the greatest indicator of climate change and are a harbinger of what is to come. While navigating through 60-foot waves and dangerous icebergs on a world-class icebreaker, these scientists must travel to 70° South—a rugged and inhospitable island called Charcot—with an arsenal of cutting-edge technology that will revolutionize how climate change is studied. There, they hope to study a fragile Adelie population living in a true polar climate.
There is urgent need to improve science communication to the general public. Too often research narratives fail to illustrate the excitement, challenges and passion required to explore the planet. As such, the Rutgers Film Bureau—a professional documentary office that directly engages undergraduate students in the production of its films—has partnered with the Rutgers Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences to create a multi-tiered documentary film project featuring the transformative science of the National Science Foundation’s LTER project at Palmer Station.