White Spark Pictures sets sail for new Antarctic doc series
February 1, 2022
White Spark Pictures, the rapidly growing TV and VR production company founded by Briege Whitehead, has been granted exclusive access by the Australian Antarctic Division to join the maiden resupply voyage of its $528 million icebreaker to begin filming a two-hour documentary series, Birth of an Icebreaker: RSV Nuyina.
RSV Nuyina (“noy-yee-nah”, which means ‘southern lights’ in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines) is scheduled to depart Hobart, Tasmania, on 9th February on its inaugural resupply voyage. This unique, once-in-a-generation ship is the world’s pre-eminent icebreaker, and through its astonishing abilities to go further, travel faster and carry more vital cargo, as well as undertake crucial world-leading scientific research, it may just hold the key to unlocking the importance of Antarctica to the future of our planet.
With exclusive access across two Antarctic seasons, the new series will combine ground-breaking technology, incredible feats of engineering and logistics, a wide range of cutting-edge science, history-making endeavours, and elements of observational documentary. It will tell the story of RSV Nuyina’s design and construction in Europe, its first season on the notorious Southern Ocean, the scientific research that it facilitates, and its long-awaited welcome at Australia’s research stations in Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic. The White Spark Pictures team will be embedded with the 118 crew and expeditioners for the entire six-week long voyage, and an over-ice resupply mission next summer, capturing every moment of delight or drama, plus every ‘first’ for this important vessel.
Joining Briege and the White Spark Pictures team as director of photography will be Michael Haluwana, a renowned and award-winning cinematographer and photographer. His credits include the BBC’s Planet Earth II, where he worked alongside Sir David Attenborough.
White Spark Pictures previously filmed in Antarctica for its successful 2018 immersive VR film, The Antarctica Experience.
Briege Whitehead, founder and creative director at White Spark Pictures comments: “I am beyond excited to be returning to Antarctica and to be travelling there on this
momentous and history-making voyage. The Australian Antarctic Program has placed a great deal of trust in us, and we cannot wait to capture its latest acquisition, ground-breaking work – especially in the vital area of climate change – and the wide range of incredible characters who work tirelessly under challenging conditions. This epic journey into the ice – and our future – onboard the ultimate ship of the future – will allow us to show the world how science in Antarctica is evolving and how the people who live and work there are uniquely supported.”
Expected to deliver in 2023, Birth of an Icebreaker: RSV Nuyina, is being represented for international co-production and pre-sale by Wild Thring Media.
In addition to this first two-hour documentary series, the voyages to Antarctica will also lay the groundwork and deploy cameras for a second two-hour series, Hunt for the Million Year ice Core. This series will follow the hunt for the ‘Holy Grail’ of climate change understanding – a million-year ice core – and is destined to be a landmark scientific mystery and adventure series.