Return of the Sun

Filmmakers Glen Milner and Ben Hilton Witness the Greenland's First Dawn of the Year

Set against the expansively beautiful and iridescent landscape of Northern Greenland, Glen Milner and Ben Hilton's subtle and touching short visits the annual sun-welcoming ritual of the country’s Inuit population, which celebrates the dawn after more than 40 days of complete winter darkness. Following the daily routine of an Inuit ice fisherman and his son, Return of the Sun examines the affects of the changing climate on their livelihood and community, and pays tribute to the locals’ innate adaptability. “While we were there our fisherman lost hundreds of pounds of fish due to ice breaking away and lines being lost, rare for this time of year,” explains Milner. “The fishermen were already thinking of new ways to hunt and the Inuit attitude in such a harsh environment proved inspiring.” Although the pair had previously worked together on diverse projects including Rwandan genocide prisoners and a short on experimental rock band Rolo Tomassi, filming in Greenland’s harsh environment offered unique new challenges. “Filming in such low temperatures with high winds is grueling. Keeping the camera out of the battering snow, keeping it warm and getting sound away from the winds was really tough, and it's so dark,” says Hilton. “But emotionally, you see nature at its most inspiring and its most intense.”  

STATS FROM ON SET

Location
Ilulissat, Greenland. 

Longitude and Latitude
69° 13 min N; 51° 6 min W.

Average daily temperature
-17°C.

Average daily wind speed
5.6–11 km/h (Force 2, Beaufort Scale).

Affect of changing climate
Ice depleting by up to 15 meters (49 feet) per year in Ilulissat, meaning 20 billion tons of iceberg break off and pass out of the Ilulissat fjord annually.

Hours of darkness per day while filming 
21.

Days of total darkness per year 
43.

Average sunlight per year 
On balance, 1,878 sunshine hours––approximately 5.1 sunlight hours per day.

Traditional first annual sunrise
January 13 (13 minutes before 13:00).

Sunrise in 2011
January 11.

Number of inhabitants 
4,000.

Transport
1 x 4x4, 6 x planes, 1 x small fishing boat, dog sleds.

Number of dogs per sled 
30.

Camera 
Sony F3 with Zeiss ZF lenses.

Length of shoot 
Two days traveling to location, six days filming, two days traveling back.

Clothes worn while filming 
North Face everything.

Average number of layers of clothing 
Six.

Skin care 
Arctic skincare packs and lots of ChapStick.

Food during filming
Equal mix of fine dining and Pot Noodle.

Safety equipment 
Not enough.

(Read More)

Conversations (1)

  • Yilva
    Just very impressive and well done video. I do want to return to the sun too here in New Jersey. The winter seems to be endless.
    • Posted By Yilva
    • February 28, 2014 at 7:54PM
    • Share Comment:

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