For more than 100 years, Swiss polar research has repeatedly produced illustrious names. Among the internationally most renowned certainly is Konrad “Koni” Steffen, the well-known glacier and climate researcher. His work, especially in Greenland, helped to bring Switzerland forward in polar research, especially through the former research station “Swiss Camp” on Greenland. He had also lost his life there in a tragic accident on August 8, 2020. Now a documentary film is to show the life and work of the popular researcher.
Titled “Iceman”, the well-known director Corina Gamma, together with the producers Patrick Merkle and Danielle Giuliani from the production company tellfilm, wants to create a cinematic memorial to the passionate explorer. “The story portrays his passionate commitment to researching climate change and its impact on polar regions,” the team writes about the planned story, which will be written by Corina Gamma. After the project had received the remaining financial means for the documentary film via crowdfunding within a very short time, the three project members can realize their idea and start working.
The film, which the project team calls a “timely” work, aims on the one hand to deal with Koni Steffen’s life and show the person in his entirety. On the other hand, Koni’s passion for his work in Greenland, his commitment to climate research with a special focus on the “Swiss Camp” he initiated, will also be shown. Because this is what the Swiss researcher has been working tirelessly for since the start in 1990, and at all levels. “Koni’s dedication was fierce, and his determination made him a legend among the scientific community,” the project team explains. He ensured, both research-wise and politically, that the camp gained an important position and much attention in international climate research. This included working with people outside of academia. That’s also how he had met director Corina Gamma, who had portrayed him for her award-winning documentary “Sila and the Gatekeepers of the Arctic,” and had him explain what the “Swiss Camp” did and how the effects of climate change continue to impact the lives of people in Greenland and around the world.
It is planned that many of the people Koni had met and touched in his life will have their say in the film. This includes the director herself, who had been a friend for many years through their shared fascination with ice and snow, as the project team writes on their website. The aim is to show the complexity of Koni Steffen, not only the researcher who throughout his life tirelessly informed society about the consequences of climate change. The person behind the researcher should also be portrayed. At the symposium held in Davos at the end of June in honor of Koni Steffen, many personal stories and anecdotes from friends and family showed that Koni Steffen had been a passionate, likeable, cool person, a real “Iceman”.
Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal
Link to the project website of tellfilm
Contributed image: (C) WSL
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