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5 September 2016

Chill-out time.

by Andrew MacGregor

Short Films: “Johanna Under the Ice” - 3 mins 47s

Having recovered from a biking accident thanks to cold water therapy, Johanna Nordblad embraced what lies below the icy surface by becoming a world record-holding freediver. This entrancing profile from director Ian Derry captures both the alien beauty of an Arctic lake and the human desire to stay in control.

Derry shrewdly uses the landscape's stark features to convey his subject's story. Nordblad's trudge through the wilderness to her diving spot suggests astonishing focus on her goal, while her all black suit against the endless white catches the eye with ease. Underwater, however, is where things get interesting.

Despite swimming just inches below the surface, the thick coating of ice looks like an impenetrable barrier between Nordblad and the world above. As her goggles catch the light like two lanterns in the darkness, she begins her cautious exploration of the lake.

Those of a nervous disposition may feel obliged to look away as her flirtation with a very obvious catastrophe appears to form part of the appeal.

Nordblad caresses the ice from below, showing no fear at her frozen ceiling. Instead, it's an opportunity to exhibit true self-control in the most unforgiving of settings. Her narration - collected, yet communicating her emotional bond to nature - only adds to the film's hypnotic qualities. Terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure.

Director: Ian Derry Ⓟ Ⓦ (Archer's Mark Ⓟ Ⓦ)
Producer: Ian Derry
Cinematographer: Teemu Liakka
Sound Recordist: Antti Haikonen
Editor: Joe Walton @ Whitehouse Post Ⓟ

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