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Production   /  Justin Wight

Thin Ice VR

100 years ago, Shackleton was on a mission to save his men from the ice, now we must save the Antarctic ice from man.


Impact areas




  • DIRECTOR James Calvert (Director) Ruth Cross (Writer)

  • PRODUCER Justin Wight, Tim Jarvis AM, Kath McIntyre



In 1914, polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton led an ill-fated expedition to be the first to cross Antarctica coast-to-coast. The events that transpired form one of History’s greatest stories of leadership and survival. When modern day adventurer Tim Jarvis AM recreated the famous events of Shackleton’s voyage, he discovered that climate change has drastically impacted the region. Thin Ice VR is set to deliver the most compelling and immersive film experience ever produced on the subject of climate change. Follow in the footsteps of Shackleton and Jarvis with this world-first 20 minute historical re-creation documentary VR experience being developed in Adelaide, Australia. Thin Ice VR offers a highly personal experience and literally put its audience in the centre of the story. It will leave viewers in no doubt about the devastating effect of climate change and the effect that it has had on the Antarctic region over the last 100 years.

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0% funded
  • $150,000.00

  • $0.00

  • June 2020

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

The phenomenon of climate change is current, global and widely debated. It does not discriminate. It affects us all. The plot of Thin Ice VR is Jarvis’s reenactment of the Shackleton journey of survival and the realisation that climate change has affected the Antarctic landscape, and ultimately the world. It is our intention to show an audience the environment ‘before and now’ in an immersive, personal setting will educate them about the topic in a non-politicized, engaging way.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

The intention is to produce a VR documentary that entertains, engages and educates both young and old and is relatable across all cultures and socioeconomic demographics. Viewers will visit a place that few have been and will find themselves standing in the frozen wilderness of Antarctica over a 100 year timeframe to witness firsthand the devastating effects of global warming on the icy continent. Thin Ice VR will deliver a virtual reality experience that will evoke awe, deep thought and action.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We hope to put people in the centre of the Shackleton story and have them experience the difference in the landscape over a 100 year period. In the short term, we want them to leave the experience believing that change has occurred and that like the remarkable leadership demonstrated by Shackleton, we as a population have a need for environmental leadership now, more than ever. In the medium term, we want this to awareness to translate to action and advocacy - we would like people to make decisions based on their climate change impact and for this generation to educate the next with an evidence based, rational approach. Our long term goal is one of instilling hope. Despite insurmountable odds, Shackleton saved his crew from the ice. Inspired by his leadership, Thin Ice VR challenges mankind with the responsibility to save the Antarctic ice by starting now, not waiting until it is too late.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

To date, the project has been supported by Screen Australia, South Australian Film Corporation and Torrens University Australia. This has been alongside support from Kathmandu, the outdoor brand and also by One Ocean Expeditions. They have been integral in enabling us to capture the footage required, but have also provided an influence on setting the narrative of the delicate balance between the preservation of an environment, while bringing attention to it. We are also incredibly fortunate to have Tim Jarvis AM as a Producer, Consultant and Presenter on the project. Tim is the only person to have authentically recreated the Shackleton survival journey and is an environmental scientist, author, film-maker, adventurer and public speaker with Masters degrees in environmental science and environmental law. He is committed to finding pragmatic solutions to major environmental issues related to climate change and biodiversity loss.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We hope that people will experience the documentary at a film festival or cultural institution and share their experience and show advocacy about creating positive action around climate change to a secondary audience at home, on social media or in their channels of influence.
We hope that educators will see the documentary and want to take their students to experience it and then continue the discussion back in the classroom by accessing the additional materials that are programmed by the museums around an exhibit or are produced by the ABC.
We hope that our documentary will inspire the next generation of filmmakers to create stories that put the audience in the middle of an issue and that VR is seen as not just a novelty, but a bonafide method of screen-based storytelling.
We hope that the media will see the public interest in the documentary and talk about the project through their channels due to the uniqueness of the story and the VR experience.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Our metrics for success revolve around audience numbers. We will be able to measure the impact of the experience in both qualitative and quantitative ways.
We will monitor the documentary as it is recognised at film festivals and receives commentary from audience ticket sales and by tracking hashtags and mentions across social and broadcast media channels.
We have researched available figures regarding other projects of a similar nature, size, platform or audience type that have been exhibited at cultural centres and we hope to see similar sell out and extended seasons from our experience. We will ask these organisations to put in place analytics so that we can track the use of associated online content.
We will be able to monitor digital distribution platforms based on local and international download figures.
Given the expected high production values and the timeless nature of the story, we hope to see Thin Ice VR referenced in future presentations on the topic of climate change.