Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  52 minutes
Date:  2008
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English; French
Grade level: 8-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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Strait Through The Ice

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Climate change is opening the Northwest Passage through Canada's Arctic for shipping. Examines the ecological and geopolitical ramifications.

Strait Through The Ice

Today the North Pole is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. The Arctic ice cap is less than half the size it was 50 years ago. This radical climate change has thus begun to open the ice-packed Northwest Passage between Europe and Asia, and some scientists predict that the transoceanic maritime route will soon be permanently ice free during its ever-longer summers.

STRAIT THROUGH THE ICE examines the geopolitical ramifications of this development, including disputes between the five nations bordering the Arctic Ocean-the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia-over claims to territorial waters, the control of sea traffic, and the right to exploit the region's untapped resources of oil and other natural resources. But if this multinational race to the Arctic is not legally regulated, the region's fragile ecosystem could be devastated.

STRAIT THROUGH THE ICE illuminates the many complex issues involved in this potential conflict between ecology and geopolitics through interviews with scientists, shipping executives, local residents, navigational workers, educators, climatologists, military leaders and glaciologists.

Complemented by stunning vistas of the Arctic environment and its wildlife, the film also follows the crew of the Canadian Coast Guard research icebreaker Amundsen as it explores a new passage through the Arctic strait and collects scientific and cartographic data, in the process broaching environmental issues, global warming, the dangers of ice-floe navigation, new ship designs, and the need for new deep-sea ports.

'An educational look at the near future of shipping and the Arctic, for students, Canadians, and anyone interested in the environment.' -Library Journal

'A fascinating documentary about a subject that will only increase in importance and visibility... appropriate for all types of library collections and would provide excellent discussion points for high school and college classroom discussions, as well as in adult education forums. Extremely Highly Recommended.' -Educational Media Reviews Online

'Beautiful and instructive, and it stimulates reflection on the choices of mankind.'-La Croix

'Amazing!'-Resources, Tribeca Film Institute

'Explores the critical issues to be resolved by a handful of powerful countries as they weight economic potential against environmental consequences.'-The Sundance Channel

'A timely and thought-provoking documentary, [STRAIT THROUGH THE ICE] is recommended.'-Video Librarian


Main credits

Billy, Yves (screenwriter)
Billy, Yves (film director)
Leonard, Peter (narrator)

Other credits

Image, Richard Prost; editing, Cecile Coolen; music, Serge Kochyne; animation, Mira Productions, Thierry Gentet; cartography, Benedicte Roland, Christophe Gauthier.

Distributor credits

A Film by Yves Billy

Docuseek2 subjects

Arctic, The
International Relations and Geopolitics
Oceans and Coasts
Climate Change

Distributor subjects

Climate Change
Global Warming
International Relations


Arctic; Arctic Circle; Atlantic; Pacific; carbon footprint; water; North Pole; Northwest passage; shipping; northern; Canada; waters; documentry; ice pack; frozen; navigation; ice breakers; film; video; DVD; "Strait Through The Ice"; Icarus Films;

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