Rutgers documentary shares trials, research of scientists


A new film by University students and faculty highlights the effects global climate change has had on the South Pole.

"Antarctic Edge: 70º South" documented a group of scientists studying the effects of climate change on Adélie penguins in the Antarctic, said Dena Seidel, director of the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking and director and producer of the film, in an email.

“For the last 25 years, oceanographer Oscar Schofield ... and other scientists have witnessed rapid change(s) in this region,” she said. “Winter sea ice has declined ... and temperatures have increased by 11 degrees Fahrenheit, six times greater than the global average.”

Scientists say the melting of the ice sheet that covers most of the Antarctic region can no longer be stopped, she said.

This film is the first to document the work done at Palmer Station for the Long-Term Ecological Research Project, she said.

Schofield, a professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences and a member of the National Science Foundation team that works in Antarctica every year, alongside Xenia Morin, an associate dean in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, helped Seidel secure the approval to film in this area.

The film is specifically about Schofield’s team’s work, she said.

“My film crew had unprecedented access to critically important climate research in the fastest winter-warming place on Earth –– the West Antarctic Peninsula,” she said.

Seidel remained in the region for six weeks in 2013 to gather footage of the penguins.

Students from the Rutgers Film Bureau were involved in creating the film, Seidel said. While they did not participate in filming, they did a lot of pre-production and post-production work.

Editing the footage took two years. Along with co-producer Steve Holloway in the Mason Gross School of the Arts, 14 undergraduate students created the final product being screened in New York City.

“The participating undergraduate film students were all part of my advanced documentary classes and they had the opportunity to shape footage into scenes, and to meet with ... and interview featured scientists in the film,” she said. “My students earned professional credits as assistant producers and assistant editors.”

University students interested in seeing the film can watch at New York City's Quad Cinema until Thursday, April 30, at 3:30, 5:30 or 9:30 p.m. For more information about the film or tickets, students can visit beyondtheice.rutgers.edu.

Films like "Antarctic Edge" are important because they address issues such as climate change from a scientific perspective, she said.

“There is (an) urgent need to improve science communication to the general public,” she said. “Too often researchers fail to illustrate the excitement, challenges and passion required to explore the planet.”


Nikhilesh De

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