GLASGOW: The Changing Face of Iceland made its European premiere at the United Nations climate summit, COP26, here on November 4, 2021. In this picture, the film’s director, Mark Terry, addresses UN delegates during this special Action Zone screening. CBC Radio interview available here. 


Hlynur Gudjonsson

TORONTO: The Iceland Ambassador to Canada will attend and speak at the Canadian premiere of The Changing Face of Iceland to be held online and hosted by the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University here on October 6, 2021 at 12:00 pm.

Ambassador Hlynur Guðjónsson will attend the premiere together with filmmaker Mark Terry, producer Melanie Martyn, Professor Philip Kelly, Associate Dean for Research, Graduate and Global Affairs, and Arctic Hydrologist Professor Kathy Young.

The new documentary examines the impacts of climate change on Iceland’s glaciers, land, volcanoes, flora, fauna, fish, economy, and people. The film also includes exclusive footage of the recent eruptions of Fagradalsfjall, an active volcano only 40 km from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík.

The writer and director of The Changing Face of Iceland is Mark Terry, a documentary filmmaker, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and The Explorers Club, as well as an instructor at the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University. This film completes his trilogy of documentaries revealing the impacts of climate change on the Arctic and Antarctic. The two previous films in the series – The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning (2009) and The Polar Explorer (2011), have been aired on CBC in Canada and released in the US by PBS, as well as screened at United Nations climate summits.

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By Christopher Heard, June 1, 2021:

Highly Recommended! This new film by my friend Mark Terry who wrote, produced, directed, narrates this fascinating, absorbing, look at the rapid physical and environmental changes taking place in one of the most dynamically beautiful places on earth – Iceland.

Iceland is known as the land of Fire and Ice because of their huge (but rapidly diminishing) glaciers, their 10,000 waterfalls and their 130 volcanoes and their abundance of geo-thermal energy. Because of Iceland’s unique, dazzling, eco-system the effects of climate change and global warming are happening most dramatically there and happening in real time, right now.
Of of the many things to admire in this visually wonderful film (great work by cinematographer/associate producer Carolyn Kelly), with a hauntingly beautiful original music score by Russell Walker, is that Mark Terry lays out the story of what is happening in Iceland due to climate change without fear mongering, without accusatory spiels about who’s to blame (except for the case of one guest speaker in the film who blames those damn Vikings for deforesting Iceland way back by cutting down all the tree to make boats and houses!) for the drastic changes going on there – he simply shows us what is happening and how it is happening – showing us what climate change looks like.
Also featured in this film is a great interview with Iceland’s Prime Minister, Katrin Jakobsdóttir, a practical, sensible, boldly progressive leader who discusses how these changes can be either combatted or used in a positively beneficial way (97% of Iceland’s energy needs are renewable and sustainable) – I think the rest of the world should give her a listen.
What is also impressive about what Mark Terry has done with this film is how he made it – his crew consisted of students, form five universities: two Canadian (York and Wilfrid Laurier), two American (Maryland and Colorado), and one Australian (Queensland).
I first saw a few sample scenes from this film the night before (literally) the world went under pandemic siege fifteen odd months ago, the occasion was the book launch for Mark Terry’s book Geomedia, Documentary Films and Social Change (also highly recommended) – I couldn’t wait to see the finished film. Now it is here* and I urge everyone to check it out.

*Note: Coming soon to film festivals and streaming services TBA.

Christopher Heard is an author and professional film critic having worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The Gate Magazine.