Chatting with Jeff Orlowski, Director of ‘Chasing Ice’

Jeff Orlowski Shortlisted for the 2013 Academy Awards, ‘Chasing Ice’ (2012) is considered a frontrunner in the Oscar race. Jeff Orlowski has agreed to answer a few questions before the holidays begin.

Q:  How does it feel to be shortlisted for the 2013 Oscars?

JO:  It somewhat goes without saying, but it is incredibly amazing to be on the shortlist.  Our whole team is beside ourselves.  There really are no words to describe how amazing it feels to be recognized like this.  But most importantly, all the accolades are drawing more and more attention to the issue.  That’s really the amazing thing about all of this.

Q:  How far did you think the project would go?

JO:  This has gone so much further than our initial expectations.  We thought that this film would maybe make it into a good film festival and get some press, but it has been incredibly humbling how well the film has been received.

Q:  What is your relationship with James Balog like?

JO:  We have become very good friends in this process.  I started out working as his assistant, joining him out in the field, and now we feel like family.  He was in fact just over my house for a holiday dinner this evening with my family, which was really nice.  Our relationship has really developed over the past several years, and we’ve become very close.

Q:  How was the process of making this documentary?

JO:  With this project in particular, the shooting conditions were extremely difficult.  But to be honest, it was far harder to fundraise the necessary funds to make the film a reality.  We didn’t have connections or resources, and funded it completely through friends and family and a lot of donated time.  My knowledge and skills as a filmmaker have grown so much in the last year, it is amazing to see how far we’ve come.

Q:  Do you have any regrets when it came to shooting ‘Chasing Ice‘?

JO:  Many things worked out the way they needed to, and in retrospect there are things I wish I had done differently but I don’t really regret them.  At the very beginning of the project we didn’t film as much as I would have liked, mostly because we never thought we would make a feature film out of all of this.  I also really wish we pursued grants early on in the process.  We never thought we had enough time to do the grant cycles, but as years kept passing by while we were still editing the film, [it’s] something we wish we had pursued earlier.

Q:  What was the most unforgettable experience when it came to making ‘Chasing Ice’?

JO:  Getting the call from Sundance was the most amazing and unforgettable experience.  That was probably the biggest highlight of the last year.  That’s the day everything changed for our whole team.

Jeff Orlowski on IceQ:  Do you have anything next on the table in development?

JO:  Yes, many! But I can’t talk about them yet! 🙂

Q:  Any last shout outs?

JO:  Major major thanks to our entire team.  So many people brought so much to the table over the past few years, I’m incredibly indebted to the contributions of so many who made Chasing Ice a reality.

Facing a bright future ahead of him with an Oscar nomination leading the way isn’t so bad for a first time feature director. Working with such a seasoned team on such an important subject has launched Orlowski and his team into the 2013 Oscars race. ‘Chasing Ice‘ is considered quite successful having been recognized in several film festivals, grossed over $700,000 since being released in limited theaters, and #39 during the week and, currently, #31 on this weekend’s box office charts. If you have not seen ‘Chasing Ice’, please go to their official website to find your nearest movie theater.