White Spark Pictures founder Briege Whitehead is set for another Antarctica experience as she captures the maiden resupply voyage of icebreaker RSV Nuyina for a new two-hour documentary series.
The Australian Antarctic Division has granted the company exclusive access to the $528 million vessel for the six-week journey in order to film Birth of an Icebreaker: RSV Nuyina, with the production team embedded amongst a group of 118 crew, division workers, and scientists to depart Hobart on February 9.
Spanning two Antarctic seasons, the series will chart RSV Nuyina’s design and construction in Europe and its first season on the notorious Southern Ocean, as well as the scientific research that it facilitates and its long-awaited welcome at Australia’s research stations in Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic.
Whitehead told IF WSP the idea for the project came well before the arrival of the RSV Nuyina in Australia for the first time last October.
“We’ve been following the story of RSV Nuyina for some time,” she said.
“It’s the world’s most advanced icebreaker that is going to provide incredible new insights of Antarctica and our understanding of it’s systems and it couldn’t be more important to facilitate the science and research it’s going to support for decades to come.
“Capturing its first season and maiden station resupply voyage through the unique first-hand experiences of expeditioners is a once-in-a-life-time story to tell.”
White Spark Pictures previously visited the continent to shoot the 2018 immersive VR film, The Antarctica Experience.
Joining Whitehead this time around is director of photography Michael Haluwana, who previously worked on BBC’s Planet Earth II alongside Sir David Attenborough.
The WA filmmaker said she was “beyond excited” to be returning to Antarctica on the icebreaker.
“This will be really different to the first trip I went on, and a whole new perspective travelling via ship instead of flying,” she said.
“I feel enormously privileged and proud to have been trusted with telling this story.
“Antarctica (like so many others) completely got under my skin and moved me in a way that I think is rare in life.”
Expected to be released in 2023, Birth of an Icebreaker: RSV Nuyina, is represented for international co-production and pre-sale by Wild Thring Media, and is supported via the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship.
In addition to this first two-hour documentary series, the voyages to Antarctica will also lay the groundwork and deploy cameras for a second two-hour series, Hunt for the Million Year Ice Core. The scientific mystery and adventure series will follow the hunt for the ‘Holy Grail’ of climate change understanding – a million-year ice core.