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World/National News

November 10, 2012

In 'Chasing Ice,' climate change gets its close up


AP: There’s a scene when you completely break down. What happened?

Balog: That’s in May of 2007. ... I felt incredibly, intensely the pressure of man, this stuff has to work. I’m not here to be a scientist doing a field experiment. Nothing is of any value, any meaning, any purpose unless I can be sure that I come home with pictures. ... I’m not just there with my head on the camera crying because I’m upset that the camera is malfunctioning. I’m upset because I’m thinking the entire commitment, the entire obligation is going to fail. We’re going to put out 12 cameras in Greenland and come back with garbage, so that was terribly stressful and upsetting.

Orlowski: It’s gut-wrenching. It’s hard for me to watch James in that scene, personally.

Balog: He loves to see me come apart, I know he does, really. (Laughs)

Orlowski: It was really powerful.

AP: What was the absolute worst moment?

Balog: Probably the worst moment in the entire project ... that scene is in the film, when the helicopter pilot turns to my collaborator Jason Box and says ‘Ah, we’re losing oil pressure.”... So you look out the window and you realize, ‘Well, I hope that other engine just keeps working fine because it’s really cold down there and there’s icebergs and if we go in that we’ll die really, really fast.’ And as we were going back and this unfortunately wasn’t caught on videotape, he came on the radio again. He said, ‘I’m losing oil pressure in engine number two’ and we were still a ways out from the landing field and then you’re really starting to think ‘OK, where’s the life raft; where’s the life jackets; what happens if we go down? What will this be like?’ ... That’s what really keeps me awake at night. That’s what gets me upset when I’m saying goodbye to my daughters at home.

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