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CROWN OF THE CONTINENT

John Grabowska

United States / 2002 / 29'

The land of Wrangell-St. Elias with rivers reaching remote valleys, glaciers running into hidden fiords, endless forests and countless unnamed and unscaled peaks, gives us a romantic and mythical view of Alaska. It is a wilderness beyond all imagination. Here, there is the greatest number of glaciers outside the icecap. Here, there are nine of the sixteen highest peaks of the United States, among which McKinley, and the largest glacier ice sheet in the world: the Malaspina. Here, there is the highest ice cliff in the world of Himalayan verticality. The filmmaker John Grabowski had already travelled more than a thousand miles in Alaska with his family in 1967 and he decided to return there after 30 years, with the cameraman Steve Rush, to make a film on Wrangell-St. Elias, the largest national park of the United States, six times bigger than Yellowstone. In two years they spent about 150 days, at various times, often under a tent waiting for the weather to improve. Much of the film was taken from the air because of the difficulty of moving among the many unknown glaciers surrounded by unnamed peaks. They shot about 13,000 metres of film. In 2002, the International Year of Mountains, the film will be presented to the public at the Copper Center, the new visitor centre in Alaska.

Director

John Grabowska

Environmental filmmaker John Grabowska has produced films from the subarctic to the subtropics. His films have won awards at festivals around the world and have been broadcast nationally in the USA as prime time specials on PBS. He has been a guest lecturer at the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History and several universities, and has led environmental media workshops in Argentina and Panama.

The Ends of the Earth

Curriculum 2013:
Natural History filmmaker John Grabowska specializes in films on the American West and the Alaskan wilderness. He has been a guest lecturer at the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Institution, led environmental media workshops in Argentina and Panama and co-founded of the American Conservation Film Festival. Grabowska works frequently with actress Meryl Streep and the American Indian writer N. Scott Momaday. In a 2005 profile The Washington Post called him "one of the virtuoso environmental filmmakers in the country."

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