Oceanic doc to be filmed over 40 days in the Arctic

USCGC Healy is the US’s newest and most technologically advanced polar icebreaker

Two Columbia College faculty members are coproducing a documentary to showcase the ocean from a previously unexplored perspective of the Microuniverse that will be filmed over six weeks in the Arctic this summer.

Co-producers of the documentary, “Microcosm,” are Columbia College film professor Michael Caplan via his Montrose Pictures and award-winning educator, Columbia and Roosevelt University marine biology teacher Michele Hoffman Trotter

“This is the first film of its kind in terms of looking at the ocean from the microscopic perspective, to engage the public in thinking differently about the ocean as a system and as a resource,” Caplan said.

“Since there are First Nations Cultural components to the storyline, in essence this project traverses the realms of environment, education, science, culture and the arts in a very special and unique way.”

While conducting pre-production research at the University of Alaska last summer, Trotter was invited by fellow oceanographer, Dr. Russell Hopcroft, to join his scientific exploration to the Arctic.

Embarking July 1 from Alaska, they will sail for 40 days on the Seattle-based USCGC Healy, one of the US’ largest and technically advanced icebreakers, before reaching the sample site along the Alaskan coast, Canadian Basin and the northern tip of Alaska.

“The bottom line is this area has always been covered with ice, so it wasn’t accessible previously” for scientific study, Trotter said.

The production will utilize 4K cameras, drones and remotely-operated underwater vehicles (ROV).

So far, $20,000 has been raised from crowdfunding, personal donations, fundraising events, Columbia College grants and contributions of lab space, equipment and staff support.

Production will resume in winter, in Hawaii, Washington state and Nova Scotia. Interviews with top researchers in the field also will be conducted during this time.

Montrose Pictures will handle “Microcosm’s” editing and finishing, with a 2017 completion date. “We now live in a world where we can upload footage and edit as the shooting moves along,” Caplan said.