Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lots to do before January

Hi everyone!

Thanks so much for all the emails and well wishes! We are so excited to share the film with you!

For those who've asked about screenings in their area, I wanted to share a quick update on where we're at with the film. Since completing photography in Barrow in May, we've been editing. And editing and editing. :) In early November we finalized the cut and now we've have begun working with our sound designer and composer (on the sound design and score.) We also have to do our color grading and sound mix which should all be completed just before Sundance in January.

Our first screening will be in Park City at the festival and then beyond that things are still up in the air. We want to screen everywhere we can and we're doing our best to make that happen. So...if you have a local theater that you think would be perfect for us, write a comment or send me an email. I'd love any recommendations if you'd like On the Ice to screen in your town or city! The best email to reach me is

Here's a new pic of Josiah Patkotak (Qalli) and Andrew MacLean on set.

Sundance 2011!!!

ON THE ICE has been selected for the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival!!! Here's a photo of cast member Josiah Patkotak who plays the character Qalli! Aarigaa!

Here's a link to the Sundance press release.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lots and lots of production pics

Hi everyone!

We're back in New York and in the thick of the editing process now, but I thought I should put up some very long overdue photos from our shoot. Making the film was incredibly challenging but we made it through and we're really excited. We had an exceptionally talented cast and crew that we couldn't be more grateful to for all their tireless hard work. So here are a few favorite pics...

This is a tired but happy photo from our day of filming with the hilarious Rosabelle Rexford who plays Aaka, Qalli's grandmother. It's Andrew, Rosabelle, Cara and Josiah Patkotak (Qalli) in the background.

Our fancy holding area outside Aaka's house. Kit Bland (AD), Jeff Nolde (1st AC) and Lol Crawley (DP) are working hard on something serious.

The amazing Kay Lee (Art Director) and her trusty prop gun.

Maura Anderson took all the following photos...

Josiah (Qalli) getting ready to do a snowmobile shot with our snomo cam.

Smiley Josiah (Qalli) and pensive Frank 'Qutuq' Irelan (Aivaaq).

Kit, Andrew, Lol...small, medium, large?

Adamina Kerr (who plays Michelle) all bundled up on an outing to see the lead.

Teddy Kyle Smith (Egasak) in between takes

Ray Kious (PA and amazing jack of all trades) and Andrew's cousin JR (ice guide).

Our camp on a sunny day on the ice.


John Miller (James) and Frank Qutuq Irelan (Aivaaq) rehearsing for their Coca-cola commercial audition.

Dave Thorne's food made everyone happy, especially Lynette.

You could always count on Kate Dean (co-producer) to start up the dance party.

Maura Anderson (UPM) and her very nicely reflective goggles.

Jeff Nolde glamour shot

Adam Lukens (Gaffer) being thanked for rigging up the sun that day.

Jason Alegre (Loader) and his grin.

A regular day on the job for Jonathan Guggenheim (Props Master) and Chad Keith (Production Designer) digging up some permafrost to make a fake grave.

All our actors and extras getting ready to film the funeral scene. Josiah's very generous real life aaka (grandmother) Molly Pederson playing the role of the pastor on very short notice (maybe 30 minutes!).

Our talented leading family: Josiah Patkotak (Qalli), Teddy Kyle Smith (Egasak), Denae Brower (Darlene) and Tara Sweeney (Dora).

Andrew and Lol haven't quite grown into their snow bank.

Gorgeous Barrow

Thank you Maura for all the stunning photos

Friday, April 30, 2010

In between takes

I'm writing this in between takes at our main interior location. The house is Andrew's aaka's old house by the beach in Barrow and we have internet here that will allow me to finally upload some images for you all.

Funny coincidence is that the Barrow Sea Ice Webcam is mounted on a building right up the hill from the house so if you want to see what we're doing right now, just check out this link It's a still image, not live video, but depending on when you look you might see us standing around with our equipment outside the white house with red trim.

If you see a dark line in the clouds on the horizon behind the house that is a reflection of the open lead. That dark line was a very welcome site to us when it reappeared two days ago. It doesn't seem to be too strong in the sky right now, but if it's there you'll definitely notice.

Things have been really stressful and difficult but we are getting great scenes despite the obstacles. The lead closed up just before our first day of filming and it hadn't opened again until 2 days ago. We're in the process of helping Andrew's uncle's crew cut trail again out to the new lead so we'll see what happens. We are extremely conscious of respecting what the whaling crews want so we have to wait and see if tomorrow is the right time.

I don't have time to write much more but here are a few fantastic photos from our multi-talented Production Manager Maura Anderson...

Our friend Joe Sage with another member of the amazing Barrow Dancers who dance in our big opening scene at the roller rink

Barrow Dancers taking a quick break

Our two lead actors Josiah Patkotak and Frank Qutuk Irelan practicing their dance.

Beautiful Denae Brower who is playing Darlene, the little sister of one of our lead characters. Her gorgeous parka was made by her mom Blessing Brower (who we featured in our 2005 documentary When the Season is Good: Artists of Arctic Alaska)

Our writer/director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean at sunset on the day we were filming at scene at the new cemetary site.

The new cemetary site later that same evening

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Filming starts tomorrow!

A few minutes to write...

The wind and ice are messing with our minds tonight, the night before our first day of photography. The short version is there is a southwesterly wind in Barrow this evening which isn't a great thing. So far it seems like our lead (open water next to frozen ocean) is still open (kind of) but there is always a concern that it will close. The lead is actually covered with a thin layer of new ice right now, but the hope is that we can break through it with a boat. We were given permission by the whaling captains to film by the lead over the next few days but we are under a lot of pressure to get it done quickly so as not to negatively affect any whaling.

In order to film we need to get an aluminum boat out to our camp near the lead. The aluminum boat will be loaded onto a large wooden sled and hauled out by snowmachine tomorrow morning. However, our trail has suffered a little shifting and late today we realized it needed more work in order for us to get the boat out there safely. So about 2 hours ago, 4 amazing members of our crew joined Andrew's cousin JR back out on the trail. They have been fixing and recutting the trail, so the boat will have safe passage and we can actually make our day tomorrow.

I can't believe we are finally starting tomorrow. This has been five years in the making for us. Please send all your good thoughts our way for tomorrow to happen one way or another!

I will write more when I can, but in the meantime here are a couple pictures of the lead (2 days ago) from our Production Designer Chad Keith.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

And more prep

Our DP Lol Crawley took this picture of our Production Designer Chad Keith who has magical powers. (And is standing under the Northern Lights)

A siġluaq is an ice cellar people use to store frozen meat. We have a scene in the movie that involves a siġluaq so here are a couple pics of Frank (one of our lead actors), Andrew, Lol and Chad on the hunt for a good one. (Pics from Kit Bland)

From outside...

From inside...

Josiah (our other lead actor) had a birthday, the amazingly talented Chef Dave is all smiles

Friday, March 26, 2010


It has been a whirlwind lately prepping the film, but I am determined to check back into the blog universe and share stories and photos of what we're doing up here. We begin filming on April 8th (!!!!!) so time is tight, but I will do my best to post when I can.

We want the blog to continue and transition into a blog about making the film so we changed the title a bit.

Anyway, to get us back on track, here are some photos from our AD Kit Bland from the past week....


More soon!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lead Roles Have Been Cast

Some of you have been waiting for ages to know if you have been cast in On the Ice. Thank you for your patience over the past several months. We wanted to let everyone know that as of now the lead roles of Apuna, Miqu, Egasak, Michelle and Betty have been cast. However, there are several other supporting roles that we are in the process of deciding.

If you live in Barrow, there is a strong chance you are still being considered for a supporting role. We are also still considering people who live in other parts of Alaska. If you live in Canada or the continental United States and have not yet been cast, you are no longer being considered.

We enjoyed meeting all of you. We were amazed at the level of talent we encountered and we hope you will be willing to audition for a future project with us. If you are not cast in this project, there might be a role that is right for you in the next one.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Barrow Raffle...275!

As an incentive for people to get over their nerves and try out in Barrow last month, we set up a small raffle for all that auditioned. The prize is a $50 gift certificate to NAPA in Barrow and we just finally got around to pulling the winner out of a hat, literally. We used the audition numbers of everyone who tried out in Barrow (during both audition periods) and it ended up being #275.

And the winner is....
Ernest Nageak!

Congratulations Ernest! Thanks for auditioning!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Anchorage--Take two

We weren't sure what kind of turnout we'd see in Anchorage the second time around here, but we had a little piece on the CBS local news at 5pm and people really showed up! We went 2 hours later than we planned and met tons of great people. Here's a link to a little blurb about it on the Channel 11 website.

Thanks to everyone who came out to audition!