It’s time again for the 48 Hour Antarctic Film Festival! Details on this and more including search and rescue training, and a field expedition.

Participating in the Antarctic Film Festival

In 2008 an expeditioner based at McMurdo station (US) thought it would be a great idea to conduct an Antarctic film festival. Winter can be extremely isolating down here and he believed a film festival would bring all stations together for one special weekend to entertain, create, and celebrate our own little corner of the earth. That year there were approx 11 entries from ten stations. These films showed off the diversity and variations between the different stations while simultaneously maintaining an Antarctic unity. It’s wonderful to get insights, glimpses into life and work across the ice.

Over the past seven years, the film festival has grown in popularity and scope. Last year there were 46 films from 22 stations! This year, we are sure there will be more again.

Anyone spending the winter at an Antarctic or subantarctic station can participate.

There are two categories for the film festival: a 48-hour film and an open category. For the 48 hour category, films must be created and finished within a 48 hour period and must include five secret elements. For the open film category, the only requirement is that the film must have been filmed this winter at an Antarctic or subantarctic station. Films in either category are kept around five minutes in length.

This year’s filming for the 48-Hour Film entries took place on 2–3 August, and all entries have been submitted ready for judging (we are all judges). After everyone has a chance to view the films, voting will take place at each station and the winners will be announced!  Prizes include the honor of selecting one of the elements for next year’s festival.

The elements for the 48 hour category were as follows:

  • Sound — Squealing pig
  • Prop — A swing (like a swing seat at playgrounds)
  • Prop — A swimsuit
  • Character — Wal Footrot, the iconic Kiwi cartoon character
  • Line of dialogue — “It'll be dark soon and they mostly come at night, mostly”. (From the film Aliens)

From the moment we received the email detailing the five elements, planning and filming commenced. Our entry in the 48 hour category was based around a television news program with a person changing channels. We had a news reader crossing live to various ‘on the scene’ news stories involving a domestic dispute, a cat up a tree and cost cutting measures as a result of government cutbacks. Other items featured (when changing channels) included numerous info-commercials, and snippets from a movie and music channel.

It was great to see everyone on station play a role in the making of the movie — there were certainly many laughs heard all around station, all weekend. On Sunday night the team came together in the cinema — after having to walk the red carpet — to view our entry. A winner for sure!

Search and rescue training

We are often asked by family and friends back home what we would do if there was an accident on station or in the field such as, who do we call? The answer is : ourselves.

Thankfully due to very sound risk management procedures, the only time we drive the search and rescue, and fire response vehicles out from the shed is when we conduct exercises or the vehicles need servicing.

During the week we conducted a station search and rescue exercise.

The scenario: we heard ‘moaning’ over the radio and that was enough to alert Stu. Stu was quick to respond. He notified Paul (Emergency Response Team Leader) and Corey (Search and Rescue Leader). Along with Lesley (acting in the role of Station Leader) the team leaders coordinated a thorough station search utilising every available person on station. After about 30 minutes, Nick’s jacket, gloves and a few personal items were found in the flammable goods container along with a number of upturned cans and containers. The team were close to finding Nick so Narelle, the scenario organiser, decided to throw in an additional challenge — Corey who had joined the search team was told he had to fake a broken ankle. The team were then confronted with two different incidents.

Twenty minutes later Nick was found in the science building toilet, ‘semi-unconscious due to inhaling toxic fumes', and Corey was being ‘attended to in the surgery'. The entire exercise lasted one hour and five minutes — an outstanding result by all. And, the team found Dave’s missing glasses (lost over a month ago) whilst searching for Nick. Bonus!

In the field

Last weekend a few on our team decided to use Bandits hut as a base and visit Wilkins Cairn and Walkabout Rocks. Along the way, they found a small but stunning jade iceberg. Enjoy the photos!