FILMMAKER’S FOUR-YEAR OBSESSION WITH POLAR BEAR MOTHER REVEALS INTIMACY AND EVIDENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL™ SPECIAL MY JOURNEY WITH A POLAR BEAR
PREMIERES ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6 AT 8PM ET/PT
With climate change at the forefront of the world’s natural crises, Smithsonian Channel takes you on a dramatic adventure that reveals an ever-changing Arctic. In MY JOURNEY WITH A POLAR BEAR, viewers will get an intimate look at one polar bear mother’s struggle to raise her cubs as her home melts away under her feet. Norwegian filmmaker Asgeir Helgestad worked in the harshest of conditions to document the bear’s life over the course of four years, capturing her attempts to hunt and her interactions with other bears while experiencing unprecedented change to the world around her. MY JOURNEY WITH A POLAR BEAR premieres Wednesday, March 6 at 8 p.m. on Smithsonian Channel.
In this sensitive and captivating film, the Arctic is revealed through the eyes of Frost, a beautiful polar bear mother of two cubs, as captured by Helgestad. Frost and Helgestad take viewers on a multi-year journey through Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Climate change and rising temperatures are responsible for significant disruptions to Frost’s home, where sea ice and permafrost are melting at record speeds. Yet, the dazzling beauty of the Arctic is still the centerpiece of this gorgeously shot film, with its vast landscapes and abundant wildlife drawn to the pole in summer. Nothing escapes the impact of change, from microscopic algae growing under the ice to dense flocks of migratory sea birds coming to breed, as well as mighty walruses and whales dependent on marine life for food.
From complete darkness to the abundant light of the midnight sun, Svalbard transforms from a cold and inhospitable place to a stunning archipelago thriving with life. But alongside these seasonal transformations that have endured for millennia lies growing evidence of a changing world. Fjords that were once full of prey are now often abandoned, while sea ice retreats far to the north, pushing Frost to new areas in search of food. As Helgestad returns year after year, it becomes almost impossible for him to find Frost. Determined to document all that is being lost, MY JOURNEY WITH A POLAR BEAR is a roller coaster of hope and despair for Frost and her two cubs, challenging the viewer to consider what will happen if humans fail to act in light of these environmental changes.
Asgeir Helgestad is a wildlife producer, director and cameraman from Norway. His passion for capturing the perfect image and love for his subjects shines through his work. Helgestad’s still photography and films have won him several international awards, including prizes at the biggest wildlife film and photo competitions such as Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Wildscreen Film Festival.
MY JOURNEY WITH A POLAR BEAR is executive produced by Asgeir Helgestad for Artic Light AS in association with Smithsonian Channel.Executive producers for Smithsonian Channel are Tria Thalman and David Royle.