Sac State film professor debuts documentary on exploring environmental mysteries below Antarctica

A scene from 'Lake at the Bottom of the World'

Kathy Kasic’s new ‘Lake at the Bottom of the World’ premiers today on Amazon, iTunes

Veteran documentarian Kathy Kasic has found a way to balance teaching at Sacramento State University with answering the call of the wild again – this time following a team of scientists to perhaps the most-desolate and unforgiving part of the globe.

Kasic’s new film captures these researchers’ attempt to understand a polar wetland concealed nearly a mile beneath the ice of Antarctica. She has titled the documentary Lake at the Bottom of the World and it premieres today on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu and other platforms. As Kasic’s scientist-subjects make clear in a trailer, the stakes around their expedition are high because of a warming and transforming planet.

Probing the link between the environment’s health and our species’ future in it isn’t new to Kasic: the Sac State professor worked as an evolutionary biologist, mainly in the Ecuadorian rain forest, before deciding to throw her passion behind the camera. When Kasic transitioned to documentaries, she put her eco-knowledge and bio-skills to work by making award-winning nature documentaries for the BBC, Discovery, Smithsonian, PBS and National Geographic.

Kasic’s last outing was as a field director and producer for the BBC’s Earth Shot: Repairing Our Planet, which featured David Attenborough. Her position as an Associate Professor at Sacramento State began five months before she started fieldwork on Lake at the Bottom of the World. When it comes to teaching, Kasic focuses on documentary film production, directing, film lighting and helping students create senior film projects. Kasic has also been involved with the college’s program that hosts The J Street Film Festival at the Crest Theatre.

In Lake at the Bottom of the World, Kasic trains her own lens on the international scientists attempting to bore down to a subglacial lake buried 3,600 feet beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Kasic says it is the first time an exploration to a subglacial lake has ever been filmed. Her documentary follows the intrepid team as it tries to evaluate the climate history of the hidden lake, as well as understand how its changes could spur major ice-melting problems ahead. The expedition also turns its attention to how the extreme subglacial environment sustains itself at subzero temperatures without light, along with questions of how subglacial lakes fit into the nutrient cycling of the Earth System.

Lake at the Bottom of the World has already debuted at six major film festivals.  

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