Of the several feature documentaries that have been shortlisted for the 2013 Academy Awards, ‘Chasing Ice‘ (2012) is considered a frontrunner in the Oscar race. To share some thoughts after the completion and making it onto the 2013 Academy Awards shortlist for best documentary is one of the producers, Paula Dupré Pesmen, who also produced the multi-awarded and 2010 Oscar winner, ‘The Cove’ (2009). While preparing for film festivals and promotional events, she answered a few questions.
Q: How did you come across this project?
PDP: My oldest son Josh went to pre-school with James’ daughter. I was friends with James and his wife Suzanne. James and I had a coffee and he told me about his work and Jeff showed me some footage. I was onboard from that moment.
Q: When you first started this project, did you have any idea that it would come so far?
PDP: My hope has always been for ‘Chasing Ice’ to be seen by as many people as possible. The visual evidence of climate change in James Balog’s work has the ability to transcend the sense of urgency this issue needs.
Q: What motivated you to keep at it over the years?
PDP: My part as a producer on this film was for my two sons. I am beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to work on this project and believe that James’ work has the potential to engage people all over the world to get involved in this issue.
Q: When you got the news of being shortlisted for the 2013 Oscars, what was your initial reaction?
PDP: When I got a message on my phone that the film was on the short list, I cried. I was so pleased that the Academy Members chose the film, bringing more attention to this crucial issue.
Q: What part of the documentary is the most emotional for you to watch?
PDP: I still find myself emotional when I see the large calving (breaking) of a glacier into the sea. The whole calving was 75 minutes long in real-time and was the size of the lower tip of Manhattan. When I watched it for the first time with my son in Sundance, he looked up at me and said, “Mom, I get it.” I’ll never forget that.
Q: From a producer stand point, how has this experience been, over all?
PDP: Helping produce this film has been a wonderful experience. Director Jeff Orlowsk has been a joy and is talented and smart. Our whole team including Producer Jerry Aronson, Composer Josh Ralph, Editor Davis Coombe, Writer Mark Monroe and others are all passionate about this project and everyone has given so much of their time to bring the work of James Balog to audiences.
Q: Do you have anything next in line, in development?
PDP: I’m currently producing a documentary called ‘Keep On Keepin’ On‘ with Quincy Jones (Executive Producer) who was the first student of jazz legend Clark Terry. The film follows Clark Terry with his last student, Justin Kauflin, who is an incredible blind jazz pianist.
Q: What lasting impression do you wish to impart to the viewers?
PDP: Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time and effects every human being. We all need to understand the urgency of getting involved in this issue. Seeing what is happening through James Balog’s work helps people get their head around what climate change means and why we must do better.
Patient, straight forward, and passionate are three, of many, words that describe Pesmen. Quick to answer with humble comments about herself, it’s no wonder the air around the people involved with ‘Chasing Ice’ are so friendly and encouraging. A beautiful depiction of terrifying truth, if you have not seen ‘Chasing Ice‘, please go watch it at your nearest movie theater. For more information about the documentary or a listing of theaters showing ‘Chasing Ice‘, please visit their official website.