Cannes Film Festival spotlight on Orkney’s marine energy work

16 May 2019 - Published by Stig Marthinsen

A major documentary on climate change, featuring Orkney’s pioneering marine energy work, is set to be premiered at the Cannes Film Festival next week.

Ice on Fire has been produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and is also narrated by the actor, who has a strong interest in climate change and ecological issues. 

Directed by Leila Conners, of US-based Tree Media, the documentary will air on the HBO channel in the USA this June. 

Ice on Fire asks whether humanity can now reverse climate change, highlighting the critical impact that rising global temperatures and climate instability are having on the planet. 

While delivering a stark message on the scale and severity of the climate challenge, the film also has a hopeful message, exploring the efforts being made around the world to bring CO2 out of the atmosphere and pave the way for a reduction in global temperatures. 

Ms Conners and the documentary’s director of photography, Harun Mehmedinovic, filmed the Orkney segment of Ice on Fire in 2017, focusing on Orbital Marine Power’s tidal turbine and the work of Periscope partner European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC). 

Ms Conners said: “Orkney was an incredible location and the renewable energy technologies in Orkney are unparalled, truly. We had a very good shoot on board the SR2000 with James Murray and Chris Milne of Orbital Marine Power, and Neil Kermode was kind enough to give us a tour of EMEC, a very rational and good idea to help new tidal technologies get started.  As such we were impressed with the support for tidal which can be such a powerful addition to solving climate disruption.  


“Thanks also to Orcadians for their kind hospitality and to Dave Flanagan for his support in getting the film shot in Orkney.”

Neil Kermode, managing director of EMEC, said: “EMEC were delighted to support the Ice on Fire documentary, which has allowed us to share the important work being carried out at our state-of-the-art wave and tidal test sites.  Mankind’s use of technology got us into this dangerous position and new technologies and new thinking will need to get us out of it. We firmly believe marine renewables will be part of that technical fightback.”

Andrew Scott, CEO of Orbital Marine Power, said: “Our ambition at Orbital is to unlock a totally new form of predictable renewable energy such that harnessing it can play an important part in moving the world to a more sustainable future. To that end: the more exposure and awareness we can have around our innovative low carbon technology and what it can do the better! So, we are delighted to be featured in Ice on Fire and look forward to the documentary leading to an increased enthusiasm and commitment for making tidal energy a global reality.”

Ice on Fire will premiere at the Grand Théâtre Lumière, Cannes, on the evening of 22 May.