Climate change is a critical scientific and social issue that confronts today’s world. Nowhere are the consequences of a warming climate more pronounced and observable than in the polar regions. The documentary Frozen Obsession, shot in 4K, follows the 18-day, 2,000-mile Northwest Passage Project expedition through the stunningly beautiful and extreme Canadian Arctic aboard the Swedish research icebreaker Oden.  Frozen Obsession will highlight the expedition's research and document the activities of the participants during the expedition.

For centuries, sailors were obsessed with finding a path across the mostly frozen Arctic. Now, scientists are racing to understand a warming Arctic, and how these environmental changes will affect all of Earth’s inhabitants

During the expedition, the NPP team studies water chemistry, microbiology, birds, marine mammals, and physical oceanography – all in radical transition due to a warming Arctic climate. In addition to documenting at sea research, Frozen Obsession explores the rich cultural heritage and natural history of the region. The expedition visited an Inuit community to see first-hand how the Arctic’s indigenous people are coping with climate change.  They also visited the graves from the doomed 19th century Franklin sailing expedition, and areas teaming with wildlife. The film also explores the geopolitics of the Arctic, as increasing resource extraction, commercial vessels, cruise ships, and military patrol craft now traverse this once isolated region.

As Frozen Obsession bears witness to a dramatically changing Arctic and the urgent efforts of science to understand the consequences, the public can gain a sobering assessment of what’s at stake. However, in a hopeful turn, the film also witnesses the exhilarating life-changing experiences of the participating students, who represent the next generation of scientists and decision makers and who will surely make a difference in the world.


The documentary will be broadcast by public television stations in 2021 and viewed by the public at special screening events at each of the Northwest Passage Project partner institutions. Other screening events will be held at Penn State and the Richmond Virginia Environmental Film Festival.