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Doc charting quest to reach 'Pole Of Inaccessibility' goes into production

Last Pole follows a team of explorers trekking to the most remote spot in the Arctic.

Last Pole, an ambitious documentary set to follow a team of explorers to the as-yet uncharted Northern Pole of Inaccessibility, has begun production.

The project is being produced by Three Wise Monkeys Productions and will track explorer Jim McNeill’s 80-day journey to the Pole, which marks the spot in the Arctic Ocean that is the furthest from any land. It has so far not been reached on foot by man.

Last Pole is directed by Sacha Bennett and is being shot as a theatrical production in collaboration with Ice Warrior, McNeill’s training project to help people survive in polar conditions.

The explorer and the crew will travel alongside a team of ordinary people who can sign up to expedition and will be trained to collect data for organisations such as NASA.

Risky shoot

However, filming such an exploit - which has been dubbed by the creators as “the last ‘World First’” - presents a challenge as much for the filmmakers as the explorers.

“The logistics of such a shoot, to where no-one has ever stepped foot before, are unprecedented,” producer Trish Rybarczyk said. “On the first section of filming, six different cameras were taken to test.”

Rybarczyk added: “One of the biggest challenges will be developing a method to prevent batteries rapidly losing charge due to the sub-zero temperatures.”

The crew have also been through submersion exercises to prepare for accidental falls into freezing water, and have received training on how to deal with polar bears.

The production crew has started filming in Svalbard, shooting footage of McNeill training some of those who will participate, and will continue throughout 2017 in parts of Sweden and the UK.

However, the actual expedition takes place between February and May 2018, when the team of around 30 set off from Resolute Bay in Canada.

“The expedition itself is on foot from Resolute Bay across the ice,” Rybarczyk continued, “and when there isn’t any ice, we sit in our Kajacs [individual sledges that contain tents, food, fuel, and supplies] that can float on the water, and paddle across to the next available ice to continue on foot.”

Three Wise Monkeys was set up a year ago, with credits including crime drama Tango One. It is currently developing six films, with Last Pole being the first big push.

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