I have just learned I won the Best First Time Filmmaker Award at the London New Wave Film Festival. This comes as such a great honour. This is the second award for me in the United Kingdom and the twenty-fifth festival award overall. With The Blinding Sea, I have won awards in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, London, Paris, Cannes, Berlin, Rome and other places, in the following categories: awards for best production in a documentary feature, best historical film, best biographical feature, best composer, best music, best feature documentary of the year, best international documentary feature, and the award of excellence for cinematography in a Nature film. The film has also been an Official Selection at seventeen other festivals around the world. I am currently finalizing details for a film tour in Europe for September and October.
The Blinding Sea is a film about the oceans, navigation and the challenges of learning new paradigms of knowledge. This film recounts the life and polar explorations of Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian, as well as his contemporaries from a century and more ago. I shot the film across the Arctic from the Bering Sea and Alaska to the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, on the Canadian research icebreaker Amundsen wintering on the Beaufort Sea, in the Norwegian wilderness regions Hardangervidda and Jostedalsbreen, on a three-masted bark crossing the stormy Southern Ocean, and along the Antarctic Peninsula. The film also benefited from the participation of the Amundsen and other families, as well as the Inuit descendants of Koleok in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. According to Inuit oral traditions and Amundsen’s published accounts, Koleok was an Inuk woman who traveled extensively with Amundsen, and once proposed marriage to him. The film also features the daughter of Cakonita, a Siberian Chukchi girl Amundsen adopted during one of his expeditions. Unlike previous films, The Blinding Sea puts the focus on the relationships between Amundsen and Aboriginal people in Nunavut and Siberia.