There is something more threatening than climate change happening in the polar regions – people. Zdenka Sokolícková moved her husband and three young sons to Svalbard, islands between Norway and the North Pole, to study the impact of globalization on the world’s northernmost town, Longyearbyen. For two years, she assessed how the small, homogeneous community was changing: the coal mining industry is shrinking and Arctic tourism is on the increase, both of which intensify climate degradation. Sokolícková expected sustainability to be the main source of tension but, surprisingly, it was the community itself that was causing the most acute damage. Residents want the town to “stay Norwegian” and feel each newcomer is tipping the balance towards foreignness. As exclusionary behaviours increase and Sokolícková’s fairy-tale Arctic stay comes to an end, the scientist must decide if she should continue strictly observing or engage and potentially change her subject forever. Stunning cinematography captures a most unexpected human experiment in the polar wild. Myrocia Watamaniuk
Streaming online May 5-9. Streaming is only available in Canada.