THE PENGUIN COUNTERS follows a rag-tag team of field biologists on a treacherous journey to the Antarctic where they track the impact of climate change – one penguin at a time. With funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts, Kickstarter, The Jeniam Foundation
Armed with low-tech gear and high-minded notions that penguin populations hold the key to human survival, Ron Naveen lays bare his 30 year love affair with the world’s most pristine scientific laboratory: Antarctica. Famed as a place that ‘wants you dead,’ his ragtag team of field-biologists embark on a journey to some of the harshest corners of the planet, where they track the impact of climate change on penguin populations - one nest at a time. But penguins aren’t the only stars. During the fifteen-day voyage, Ron discovers that the ashes of the legendary explorer Frank Wild – the famed leader on Ernest Shackleton’s expeditions - are sailing to his final burial place on board the ship, accompanied by descendants of both Wild and Shackleton.
What’s unique about this film is the verité style of filmmaking, skillfully embedding an important environmental message with a good yarn. Special permits allowed unprecedented access to remote penguin colonies – in all their chaos and splendor.
Haunted by the ghosts of fallen explorers and charmed by the eccentricities of feathered bipeds, the penguin counters’ treacherous, heart-warming journey poses the ultimate question in the world’s fastest warming region: What can we learn from penguins on the frontlines of climate change? Once a government lawyer and now a 21st century Dr. Dolittle, Ron dreams of conserving this stunning but fragile region for future generations.
Produced, Directed and Written by Peter Getzels and Harriet Gordon
Filmed by Peter Getzels, Erik Osterholm and Harriet Gordon
Co-produced in the field by Erik Osterholm
Edited by Catherine Shields
Original Music Score by Robert Neufeld