Successful Crowd Funding Campaign for Climate Change Film

Thin Ice heading for United States television screens

The success of a Victoria University of Wellington fundraising campaign means the screening of Thin Ice—the Inside Story of Climate Science on United States television next year could coincide with a peak in international interest in dealing with the issue of global warming.


As a result of the campaign, more than US$30,000 is available to produce and promote a 57-minute, television-friendly version of Thin Ice, an award-winning documentary produced by DOX Productions in London in collaboration with Victoria University and Oxford University.

One of the film’s executive producers, Professor Peter Barrett from the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria, says the television screening is a “great opportunity for the voices of climate scientists themselves, some well-known and others less so, to be heard on the issue”.

He says the screenings will take place as countries develop plans for significant future carbon reductions following the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and preparations continue for finalising a global agreement on climate change in Paris late next year.

Suzanne Harle from Green Plant Films which distributes Thin Ice says a shorter version of the film will also be attractive for use in other settings.

“Having a version of this length will make the film of great interest to the educational community for in-class use, science museums, and community screenings, allowing it to fit into one-hour time slots and, and in other cases, allowing more time for discussion after it has been screened.”

Some of the funds raised to support editing of the film for television came from The Tindall Foundation in New Zealand and the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine in the United States. A subsequent Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign attracted 228 backers and raised the remaining two thirds of the final sum.

The Kickstarter campaign’s initial target of $27,500 ($US22,000) was exceeded on the last day of the campaign, meaning additional funds are available to support promotion of the film to a greater number of United States television stations, and develop a teachers’ guide to accompany classroom screenings.

Viclink, Victoria University’s commercialisation office, was involved in the crowd-funding campaign, which was a first for the organisation. Viclink is reviewing its experience with a view to creating a model for future funding and marketing opportunities.

Professor Tim Naish, convenor of the film’s Advisory Board, and also one the scientists in the film, says he is delighted with the fundraising efforts. “Our small team in New Zealand, and our distributors in San Francisco, have been amazed and delighted by the swell of support toward the end of the campaign from more than 12 countries.

“It was capped on the last day by a very generous contribution from ANDRILL, an international science group. An earlier significant donor was the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute. We have also been heartened by the strong New Zealand support we’ve had for getting a film on climate science and scientists, including some of our own, onto the screens of the most influential viewers in the world.”

He says the Thin Ice team is hopeful television networks in New Zealand and other countries outside the United States, will also decide to broadcast a TV version of the film.

The Thin Ice project began in 2006 in response to climate sceptics. It follows a personal journey of discovery by Dr Simon Lamb, an associate professor in Victoria’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, as he meets and interviews 40 scientists working at the front line of climate change research in the Arctic, Antarctic, Southern Ocean, New Zealand, Europe and the United States.

Since its launch, a DVD with subtitles in six languages, representing half of the world’s population, has been released. The film has also screened at a number of film festivals, picking up several awards, including the Audience Favourite at Princeton.

For more information on the Thin Ice project visit: