Not even the weather can stop these professionals

A cinematic masterpiece for WIFFA '22

In the depths of winter, well after the celebrations of the winter solstice and prior to preparing for the coming summer shipping season, lives a 48-hour event bringing all of Antarctica’s creative minds together as part of the Winter International Film Festival, Antarctica (WIFFA).

The film festival began in 2006 at McMurdo and Scott station and in 2008 was opened to the rest of the continent. The festival takes place over two weekends in August with the first weekend for filming, editing and uploading, then the second for viewing and voting.

There are two categories for stations to compete in:

  • The 48hr category, with strict rules and time limits
  • Open category, where anything goes.

Entry into the 48hr category requires stations to keep their films to a time limit of five minutes length, the inclusion of five elements, and all footage filmed, edited and uploaded by the end of the 48-hour period. The elements are sent to each station at 6pm local time on the Friday evening and submissions must be completed by 6pm on the Sunday, two days later. As you can imagine, this is a weekend of high energy and for those editing, very little sleep.

The five elements consist of a sound, a character, an object, a line of dialogue, and an action. For the 2022 competition, these elements were:

  • Sound: milk frothing from a coffee machine
  • Character: Where’s Wally or Waldo, depending on your country of origin
  • Object: a hammer
  • Line of dialogue: “The things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect” – Luna Lovegood, from the Harry Potter series
  • Action: A bucket of water to the head

Mawson’s story was deftly prepared in the days leading up to the start of the festival, then all hands-on deck over the 48hrs to act, film, build sets, organise costumes, direct scenes, then reshoot and reshoot and reshoot. The weather decided to play a key role with a blizzard starting early on Saturday morning and the high winds continuing through until Tuesday. This did play havoc with the film script which was based on a travel show, but also provided realistic Mawson ambience.

We are all looking forward to the voting this weekend and seeing all the incredible and occasionally indecipherable ideas that the various stations have come up with.

Now with a website in support of the festival, most films can be found here: and ours has been uploaded specially below for your viewing pleasure.

We look forward to hearing what you think (and please wish us luck in the voting!).

Leon H