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Encounters at the End of the World

Eye on the Oscars: Documentaries

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Werner Herzog, this year’s recipient of the IDA’s Career Achievement Award, has also directed “Little Dieter Needs to Fly” and “Grizzly Man.”

SUBJECT: It’s tough living in Antarctica.

FINANCING: The National Science Foundation covered Herzog’s trip and stay in Antarctica under the NSF’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. Discovery Channel covered the remainder of the budget.

DISTRIB: ThinkFilm theatrically released the documentary in June, with Image Entertainment handling DVD; Discovery Communications handled TV in the U.S. and Canada.

HELMER COMMENTS: “I decided to have a minimum crew (two persons, Herzog and d.p. Peter Zeitlinger) so there was real physical work involved,” Herzog says. “At one point, I was run over by an 800-pound snowmobile that came tumbling down a very steep slope and buried me. After that I had a tough time, because I was in pain for five out of six weeks I was down there. My hand was severely swollen, and that was hard because, when you’re doing sound like I was, you’re dealing with tiny buttons on the sound recording machine. But these things happen.”

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