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Available for rent


Canada, 2012

Production : Meltwater Media

Programmed by the DOCs From the Vault jury



DOCs from the Vault


Canada’s Arctic seabirds are revealing much about the Earth’s changing oceans and climate. Arctic Cliffhangers spotlights the biology and life history of seabirds, providing insights into the impacts of industrial pollution and the role that climate change plays in the transformation of marine ecosystems. In addition to communicating some of the latest scientific findings on polar marine research, Arctic Cliffhangers also documents the age-old hunting traditions carried on by Canada’s Indigenous Inuit subsistence hunters.

A word from Tënk

This film is a journey into the farthest reaches of the Eastern Canadian Arctic, wherein the viewer gets to come along and scale rock faces, climb into hidden caves, careen over icy waters, and land on tiny islands aboard tinier airplanes, to visit places that most of us will never get to see with our own eyes. In this adventure feature, filmmakers Stephen A. Smith and Julia Szucs elegantly though subtly draw clear connections between how climate change and the legacies of colonialism on these lands interplay to make it so that marine ecologies are rife indicators of the challenges we are facing—both at the time the film was made, in 2008, and just as much so if not more today, in 2022. The film can hold the rightful alarm it raises, while also providing us with a nature network-level soothing voyage, traveling along with the many seabirds that are its subject. From Leopold to Baffin Islands in Nunavut, Newfoundland to Ivujivik, in Northern Québec, we are privy to the landscapes, the science, and the human cultures that cliff-nesting seabirds co-habitate with in the High Arctic. What’s most revelatory here, is how visible the climate science becomes: the rock formations and skies themselves come alive with this bird’s eye view.



Aurora Prelević
Writer, performance maker, cinephile



Item 1 of 4
Item 1 of 4

Item 1 of 4