dir. Maxim Arbugaev, Evgenia Arbugaeva, United Kingdom 2022
This Oscar-nominated short film shows the largest walrus haulout in the world, which occurs in the Chukchi Sea. Up to 100,000 walruses show up in the fall to Cape Serdtse-Kamen. However, behind the fascinating phenomenon lies a tragedy caused by climate change. The walruses used to rest on top of the ice in the area. Nowadays, the ice melts in the summer, and thus the walruses have to rest on land. This in turn causes walrus deaths due to trampling and stampedes.
Content warning: imagery of dead animals
Who does the Arctic area belong to, and how should the multifaceted problems occurring there be solved? The Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland has been researching the area long before it became a zone of international interest. This documentary introduces us to three pairs of scientists, all with their own viewpoints on the subject. They are united by their open-mindedness in uniting natural sciences with humanities.
Florian and Aytalina specialise in arctic anthropology. They have been working with the Nenets in Siberia, but the war in Ukraine threatens to cut their long-cherished ties to Russia, where most of the arctic area lies.
Marjo and Heidi work on critical arctic studies. They are especially interested in how power affects what is researched, and who are the ones who benefit. Things are no worse now than they have been before, they claim.
John and Ilona are looking for a solution to the melting of Greenland glaciers. Finding a working recipe involves not just technology but also acceptance from local populations. Without local support, the endeavour risks becoming a novel form colonialism, something the Arctic area has a long history of. John and Ilona work with Finnish activists Anton and Ada, who question whether the environmental movement should be so critical of climate engineering.
This documentary shows how many sides the issues in the Arctic area have, and how versatile the solutions should also be.
Laura Manninen (translated by Virpi Sumu)
Greenpeace interviews screenwriter Johannes Roviomaa in the screening on Wed, Jan 31.