Frank Wolf
Credit: Frank Wolf

I love Frank Wolf’s film work.

He’s different—and that’s always a good thing when you’re trying to spread an important environmental message. I tested his latest film, The Hand of Franklin, on a group of students at a college where I teach part-time. The students are different as well. Their attention span is generally under two minutes. When it comes to showing a film, usually the eyeballs roll back and the heads hit the desk a few seconds in, unless there's zombies, bloodshed or sex.

Out of the dozen students who viewed Frank’s film, none dozed off. The storyline captivated them, and the environmental message alarmed them. Climate change is drastically altering ice conditions in the Arctic. 

To bring awareness to the significant effects climate change is having on the environment, Frank Wolf teamed up with three other seasoned adventurers (Kevin Valley, Paul Gleeson and Denis Barnett). The group headed out in July of 2013 to row the Northwest Passage, from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, to Pond Inlet, Nunavut, in a purpose-built boat they called The Arctic Joule.

Historically, the route had always been impassable due to large formations of sea ice. John Franklin and his crew lost their lives looking for a route back in 1845. Recently, however, Earth’s warming temperatures have created a three-month-long gap when navigation is possible. Frank Wolf’s journey lasted over two months, and during that time the crew witnessed changes that will definitely alter life on this planet in the near future. Imagine, in just three years the Arctic ice has melted by 50 per cent. It’s estimated that the entire Northwest Passage will be ice-free in 15 years. With such drastic changes, there will severe weather patterns worldwide.

The film documenting the Arctic adventure is loaded with insight and science, laced together by good humour. The Hand of Franklin also picked up an award for “Best Canadian Film” at the 2015 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. Way to go Frank. Keep up the good work.