Into the Dark

An expedition into the polar night to discover how melting sea ice is leading to changes in underwater light that may be radically altering the Arctic Ecosystem.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
28 mins
Remote video URL


Battling subzero temperatures and forty-foot seas, an international team of scientists embark on a perilous winter expedition into the darkest regions of the Arctic. Their mission: to understand how trace amounts of light may be radically altering the mysterious world of the polar night. What they discover has implications for the global climate and the future of the Arctic.

Into the Dark brings viewers to a place on this planet where very few people have ever been – the polar night of the Arctic– to show them how tiny changes can lead to large impacts. In this case, how tiny changes in light can alter an ecosystem. But, in a broader sense, how a tiny molecule - carbon dioxide - can alter a planet.

The findings and photos from the project have been published as feature articles in outlets such as National Geographic, Nature, BBC, and Scientific American, and have been galleried in major venues in New York City, Hong Kong, and Glasgow. The cover image of the project was the winner of the prestigious Decade of Change Award from the British Journal of Photography. Into the Dark was screened to the international delegation at the United Nations Climate Conference, where the Director, Michael O. Snyder was invited to present the film.

Featured review

A uniquely powerful journey into the unknown, offering riveting visuals of the Arctic during the extremely harsh conditions amid the Polar Night. Into the Dark was one of the featured films of the COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion, which aimed to raise the visibility of the ocean and showcase why the ocean matters in climate negotiations and to all life on our planet. It highlights the necessity of further research into the myriad of still-undetermined impacts of climate change resulting from human actions to preserve delicate ecosystems for their own sake and for the sake of future generations. Films like Snyder's are crucial in the pursuit of bringing the unseen effects of climate change into the public eye and to shine a light on those who have committed their lives to serving as a source of change, inspiring others to action.
Miriam Balogs
PhD (Global Ocean Forum, Officer-in-Charge and Director of Organizational Development)


"A dramatic 28 minutes... moving and eerie... with the greatest sense of urgency. Fantastic and visually appealing... might as well be headed into outer space. New Day Films has taken an already remarkable film and further developed it as a teaching tool. A rich resource... highly recommended!"
Educational Media Reviews, Penn State
A top 5 choice… with an alluring storyline, the cinematography feels brutally real as the scientists battle the elements, the unknown, and many technical difficulties.
Emily Zhao (The Climate Reporter)
Emily Zhao (The Climate Reporter)
With an immersive approach, the film leaves audiences with an impactful - as well as a unique - look at the effects of climate change in the Arctic.
Brad Forder (Director of Programming)
DC Environmental Film Festival)
Into the Dark… is a beautiful film that… aims to celebrate the wonders of our planet and helps get to grip with the facts on climate change in the run-up to COP26.
Colin Cardwell (The Glasgow Herald)
Colin Cardwell (The Glasgow Herald)
Into the Dark was a highlight of the Curious About Our Planet Science Festival… perfect way to hook our audiences into climate science and start the discussion of how we can mitigate its effects.
Jess Sterck (Climate Change Learning Coordinator
the Glasgow Science Centre)

Awards and Screenings

Screened to the international delegation at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, 2021
Decade of Change Award, Winner, British Journal of Photography, with galleried shows in New York City and Hong Kong, 2021
World Premiere: Tromsø International Film Festival, 2020
North American Premiere: DC Environmental Film Festival, 2020
Winner - Best Editing, Columbia Film Festival, 2020
Winner - Best Cinematography, Columbia Film Festival, 2020
Winner - Best Documentary, Honorable Mention, ARFF International Film Festival, 2020
Nominated - Best Short Film, Innsbruck Film Festival, 2020
Nominated - Best Short Documentary, Arctic Film Festival, 2020
Nominated - Best Short Documentary, Oslo Short Film Festival, 2020
Feature articles in National Geographic, Nature, BBC, Scientific American, and other outlets , 2020
Winner - Best Environmental Short, Chesapeake Film Festival, 2022

Director Commentary

The Arctic is changing faster than anywhere on this planet, with ramifications for the global climate and human populations. As a trained climate scientist who made an early career transition to filmmaking, this issue is one that is deeply personal to me. It is my belief that communicating climate science and motivating citizens to demand change is the calling of my generation.

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Resources for Educators

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

Resources for Educators

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