“Project: Ice” examines the Great Lakes through the prism of ice, which has charmed and challenged people for centuries. Opening with stunning images of natural ice formations, the movie goes back to Native Americans and early settlers who discovered that frozen water could be a major part of your reality for half of the year. When shipping became a major industry, haulers had to come up with ingenious ways to cut through crippling jams, creating bold new ship designs that were copied around the world. The movie’s second half focuses on the ongoing studies of ice patterns and thickness and the effect that global warming may be having on Great Lakes livelihoods.
Filming took place over a 27-month period from 2011 to 2013, when levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron fell to record lows. The filmmakers cleverly employ animation and historic photos to bring the story to life, though many of the film’s most memorable bits involve visits with present-day ice fisherman, pond hockey players and ice climbers who can’t wait for temperatures to stay below freezing.
About the Director: William Kleinert is a Washington, D.C.-based producer, director and/or writer of six documentaries, including “Aaron Copland: the Composer Conducts,” the six-part “Saving the Environment” series, and over 600 commercials, corporate and associate productions and music videos. An environmentalist and historian, he has spent 40 years at various media outlets, including ABC Television, Time-Life Broadcast and USA Today.
After the film: A panel discussion will delve into the film, the health of the Great Lakes and more. Participants will include director William Kleinert and several Great Lakes and environmental experts: Henry Pollack, professor emeritus of geophysics at the University of Michigan; Lana Pollack, chairwoman of the U.S. Section of the International Joint Commission, and Lynn Rose, public affairs officer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The forum will be moderated by former Free Press editorial page editor Ron Dzwonkowski.