Chasing Ice

Impact Highlights

Chasing Ice details the devastating effects of climate change through stunning time-lapse photography.The Chasing Ice Ohio Tour was created in an attempt to use the film to shift the political conversation around climate change, focusing on Congressional district of Congressman Pat Tiberi (OH-12) who openly denied climate change. The Chasing Ice Ohio Tour shared the story and visual evidence of our changing climate with central Ohio residents through free screening events (sponsored by National Geographic) that provided climate education to the public and facilitated ways to speak directly to the Congressman and help change his mind. The goal was to support Congressman Tiberi through the voices of his constituents, and to provide him with the information he needed to publicly acknowledge the science of climate change. After the targeted effort, Congressman Tiberi publicly shifted his position on the issue.


  • Premier: Sundance Film Festival in Park City, January 23, 2012. The theatrical premiere was on November 9, 2012 in New York City.
  • Primary website:

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. 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 climate change 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. 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 was funded primarily through friends and family investment and donations. As the film started to get international recognition, it started receiving additional investment and donations from philanthropists and private foundations.

Key Stats

  • Production Budget: Not available
  • Outreach Budget: Not available
  • Facebook Likes: 37,590
  • Twitter Followers: 6,784


Impact producers:

In-house, with numerous other contractors hired to manage specific outreach elements.


  • To share the science and visual story of our changing planet through time-lapse images of glaciers melting around the world.
  • To use the film to shift the political conversation around climate change.
  • To have audience members to acknowledge climate change science after seeing the film.
  • To encourage constituents to realize they have a voice and that it can and should influence their political leaders.
  • To support Congressman Tiberi of District 12 Ohio in changing his awareness of the issue and making a statement that acknowledged climate change science.

Target location: Chasing Ice has screened around the world in over 172 countries, 70 universities, over 75 film festivals, the White House, and the United Nations. However, The Chasing Ice Ohio Tour was specifically focused on Ohio District 12 within the greater Columbus area.

Target groups: The target audience for The Chasing Ice Ohio Tour was diverse: the filmmakers formed over 70 partnerships with local businesses, high schools, universities, faith-based communities, rural and urban farming organizations, moms groups, art and cultural venues, and various other non-profits, local libraries and community venues.

Partners: The filmmakers collaborated with over 70 local and national partners during the Chasing Ice Ohio Tour, some of which included: Arctic Action, Boy Scouts of America, Ohio Byrd Polar Research Center, Catholic Diocese of Columbus, Invisible Children, Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots, Kenyon College, Lakewood Public Library, League of Conservation Voters, Ohio State University, Ohio Wesleyan University, The Strand Theater, The WILD Foundation US Green Building Council, Young Evangelicals for Environmental Action, Zane State College, and many more.


Change in Awareness

The following resulted from a two-and-a-half month campaign:

  • 90 screening presentations were hosted in central Ohio.
  • 8,035 residents of District 12 and surrounding areas attended screening events.
  • Marketing and networking events reached an additional 1,405 Ohioans.
  • In total 9,440 central Ohio residents learned about how climate change is impacting Ohio.
  • Over 300 Ohio residents shared their messages publicly with Congressman Tiberi.
  • Press and media released over 35 articles or event announcements about the Ohio Tour between April and May of 2014.
  • Over 70 collaborations were built with local venues/ organizations, as well as 8 national collaborators representing a wide range of concerned citizens and organizations.
  • 5,500 copies of the Chasing Ice DVDs featuring a written call to action specifically created for Ohio residents were distributed.

Screening attendees: 9,440 people attended screening events during The Chasing Ice Ohio Tour between March and April of 2014.(This is just a small subset of the film’s audience overall: A conservative estimate is that over 10 million people have seen Chasing Ice on TV alone.)

Key Press Mentions: Over 300 articles have been written about Chasing Ice between 2012-2014, including articles in: Hollywood Reporter, Outside Magazine, The Huffington Post, the New York Times, Forbes, CNN, Vanity Fair, NPR, The Voice, Star Tribune, The Guardian, Mother Jones, National Geographic, Physics Today, The Ecologist, Business Insider, The Examiner, and many more.

Change in Behavior

  • Over 300 constituents shared their message with Congressman Tiberi, urging him to change his position on climate change, after screening events between March and April 2014.
  • Chasing Ice screenings at festivals led to over $1 million in donations, and there are thousands of examples of how Chasing Ice inspired art and social media posts, as well as political engagement.
  • Screenings also led to the following partnerships and use of the film: Interfaith Power and Light, a religious response to global warming, distributed Chasing Ice to their entire email list and any religious group interested in sharing the film. The film was streamed more than 300 times by this group. The Peace Corps utilized the film as a call to action for volunteers to participate in Peace Corps opportunities related to climate work abroad. This year, the glaciologist from Chasing Ice, Dr. Tad Pfeffer was invited to share the filmin Nepal. Chasing Ice and Earth Vision Trust have collaborated with various airports to “green the skies.” Extreme Ice Survey exhibitions are currently on display at the Chicago O’Hare Airport and the Denver International Airport, yielding several million views a year of time-lapse images from the film.
  • Released in conjunction with Chasing Ice’s theatrical run, the Chasing Ice iPad and iPhone app has a 5 Star Rating on the iTunes app store with incredible reviews. It gives the user access to a collection of behind-the-scenes photographs of the Extreme Ice Survey Team, as well as direct control and interaction with EIS time-lapses and a global navigation of the EIS camera installations around the world. The app also provides information about the film itself, with the trailer, synopsis, and laurels.
  • Chasing Ice and the Earth Vision Trust have partnered with Our Children’s Trust, a non-profit organization leveraging the power of youth who are suing the federal government for the failure to uphold the Public Trust Doctrine and thereby jeopardizing their future. This is the first case of its kind, and the Extreme Ice Survey time-lapse photography is being featured as evidence in the lawsuit.

Political Impact

During the Chasing Ice Ohio Tour, the filmmakers campaign aimed to shift one Congressman’s stance on climate change, and it worked. Congressman Tiberi responded to numerous constituents, as well as to the Chasing Ice team changing his stance on the issue.

The film was screened before Congress on September 20, 2012, which was organized by Colorado Congressman Jared Polis and sponsored by Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet. Many staffers and NGOs were in attendance, and the filmmakers also distributed DVDs to every Congressman and Senator’s office. The film was screened at the United Nations on December 12, 2012 and in July 2013. It screened in the UK at the House of Commons in December 2012 where four Members of Parliament from the Energy and Climate Change Committee attended, along with the staff of the Committee and three Members of Parliament on the Science and Technology Committee. DVDs were also distributed to all committee members who were unable to attend. On Earth Day, April 22, 2013, the film was screened at the White House for key staff and environmental interest groups. Days before President Obama’s June 25 announcement on climate change, members from the President’s staff at the Council on Environmental Quality specifically asked the Chasing Ice team to help spread the message through the film’s social media outlets. The US State Department distributed 50 copies of the film for their posts to screen internally. Most recently, the American Embassy in Oman hosted a screening.

Building Capacity: N/A

Festivals and Awards: 2014 NEWS AND DOCUMENTARY EMMY® AWARD — Outstanding Nature Programming. ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATION — Best Original Song “Before My Time” Composed by J. Ralph, performed by Scarlett Johansson and Joshua Bell ACADEMY AWARD SHORTLIST — Best Documentary SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – Excellence in Cinematography Award ENVIRONMENTAL MEDIA ASSOCIATION 2012 Best Documentary INTERNATIONAL PRESS ACADEMY SATELLITE AWARD 2012 Best Documentary AUDIENCE AWARDS at: South By Southwest Film Festival Hot Docs Film Festival Berwick Film Festival DocuWest Film Festival Palo Alto Film Festival Princeton Environmental Film Festival River Run Film Festival Take One Action Film Festival BEST DOCUMENTARY at the following film festivals: Berkshire Film Festival, Big Sky Film Festival, Crested Butte Film Festival CinemaEye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking – CINEMATOGRAPHY AWARD MountainFilm Festival — Norman Vaughan Indomitable Spirit Award Boulder Film Festival – BEST ADVENTURE FILM DocuWest Film Festival – BEST FEATURE LENGTH FILM and BEST FEATURED FILM Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival – BEST ENVIRONMENTAL FILM AWARD . . . And many more.