Antarctic Edge: 70° South


Northrop Best Buy Theater Wed, Apr 22, 2015 5:00 PM
St. Anthony Main Theatre 3 Fri, Apr 24, 2015 2:30 PM
Film Info
English Title:Antarctic Edge: 70° South
Cine Global
Women and Film
Women Directors
Voice Category:Cinematic Science(?)
Release Year:2015
Type:Documentary Feature
Director:Dena Seidel
Producer:Dena Seidel
Cinematographer:Chris Linder
Dena Seidel
Editor:Steve Holloway
Dena Seidel
Ryan Harris


MSPIFF at Rochester: Wednesday, 4/ 22, 2:15

A unique inter-disciplinary educational project bridging art, science and storytelling, Antarctic Edge: 70° South explores the race to understand climate change in the fastest winter-warming place on earth: the West Antarctic Peninsula. In the wake of devastating climate events like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, oceanographer Oscar Schofield teams up with a group of world-class researchers to study the fragile and rapidly declining Adelie Penguin: one of the greatest indicators of climate change and a harbinger of what is to come.

Director Biography


Dena Seidel is an award winning documentary filmmaker, published short story author, as well as the creator and designer of the first film major at Rutgers University. She is the director of the Rutgers Film Bureau and the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking. With a grant from the National Science Foundation, Dena spent six weeks in Antarctica directing and filming the feature length documentary Antarctic Edge: 70° South that was completed with the participation of 14 undergraduates. In 2012, Dena partnered with local PBS station NJTV to create the new series “NJ Docs” which premieres original student-faculty made films. This series launched in February 2012 with Atlantic Crossing: A Robot’s Daring Mission a feature documentary directed by Seidel that premiered at the Smithsonian and has aired more than 400 times on PBS.

Director’s Statement

It is with pleasure to present our feature-length documentary Antarctic Edge: 70º South. This documentary combines innovative science, dramatic imagery and two decades of scientific collaboration into a compelling character-driven narrative. 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 get an inside look into the mecca of rapid climate change science. Living day-to-day with world-renowned scientists in this remote and dangerous landscape, our cameras capture the everyday decisions, challenges and anxieties of scientists on a historic mission. Willing to take risks in pursuit of new and important discoveries, these researchers push the limits of their science 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 this region. 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, scientists declared Antarctic ice sheet melt unstoppable, placing the pressure on Schofield and his team.

Studying climate change in the most remote part of the world presents our scientists with serious challenges as they travel through Antarctica's perilous terrain for six weeks on an icebreaker. 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 a harbinger of what is to come. While navigating through 60-foot waves and dangerous icebergs, these scientists must travel south to 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 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.

Antarctic Edge: 70º South directly engaged undergraduate film students throughout the pre and postproduction of the film. The Rutgers Film Bureau provides hands-on learning experiences for students to craft and shape important science stories for the screen and to collaborate with scientists working to solve problems in the environment and society. Our exciting teaching model offers students the opportunity to learn science while they develop professional skills as science communicators.

Sponsored by


The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul is supported in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the State's general fund and its arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.