The Arctic is hot. Everywhere you turn these days, the Polar regions are making headlines: climate change, geopolitics, mining, tourism, trade. These topical issues are seriously affecting one of the planet’s most malleable regions. Researchers at the University of Leeds School of English are involved in a three-year collaborative research project entitled Arctic Encounters: Contemporary Travel/Writing in the European High North. Aiming to spread the word about the importance of the Arctic though cinema, LIFF29 has collaborated with Arctic Encounters to present a programme of 20 different Arctic-related films, as well as a week-long mini-festival showcasing films, talks and Q&A sessions.
The project’s films include the UK premiere of The Idealist, a Danish thriller about an American nuclear crash in Greenland; Sumé – the Sound of a Revolution, a heralded political rockumentary about Greenland’s first rock band; and The Postman’s White Nights, a drama by Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky about an ageing community of island dwellers in a remote corner of northwestern Russia. In addition to nearly two dozen Arctic-themed films spread throughout the festival, a special week of films will be held at the Clothworkers’ Centenary Hall at the University, which has just undergone a renovation as a first-class cultural venue for Yorkshire. The collaboration also includes short film and photography competitions focused around the Arctic.
Full programme information will be revealed at LIFF29’s free programme launch night at 6.30pm, Friday 9 October at Leeds Town Hall, part of Light Night Leeds.
Funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area), Arctic Encounters brings together partners from Denmark, Iceland, Norway and the UK to draw attention to the ways in which the Arctic is changing ideas about the environment, tourism and the planet more generally.