Wednesday, March 07, 1990

The Polar Grail - 60 minute documentary

Hailed as “the greatest of all Arctic travellers” by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, polar explorers Richard Weber and Mikhail Malakhov set out to complete the first journey to the North Pole and back without air or land support.

The Polar Grail was a challenging documentary to produce. During the shoot temperatures in the high arctic dropped to record lows as our gear (and crew) froze. The challenge in documenting an unsupported expedition is that any contact between the crew and the explorers would be considered support. At one point we flew fourteen hours to catch Richard and Misha at the North Pole only to be able to fly over them and wave! We managed to land at the Pole and shoot near where they had camped.

A good portion of the footage included in the documentary was shot by the explorer's on two Hi 8 cameras. The cameras and battery systems were modified to withstand the extreme weather conditions of the trek. The cameras survived though by the end of the journey both cameras had to be destroyed in order to remove the remaining tapes.

Directed and photographed by Vic Sarin the documentary went on to win Best Film at the Dijon Adventure Film Festival.