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Filmmaker of Nature

Luc Jacquet

A passion for nature

Luc Jacquet, réalisateur

A passion for Nature

A childhood surrounded by nature

Born in the French town of Bourg-en-Bresse in 1967, Luc Jacquet spent his early years exploring the mountains of the Ain region. In his own words, he loved to roam and get lost in the woods. It was there that he learned to become as one with the natural environment, the better to observe the world of plants and animals through the changing seasons.

Naturalist studies

With an affinity for science, he studied for a degree in animal biology at university in Lyon I in 1991, before completing a postgraduate course in mountain environment management at Grenoble university. During his studies, Luc took part in numerous field expeditions to observe animal behavior and the ecology of different species.

Luc Jacquet’s first great voyage: Antarctica

Maiden scientific mission

While at university, Luc Jacquet applied to take part in a 14-month scientific mission to Antarctica. Then aged 24, he found himself spending the winter in the Antarctic for the French national scientific research institute CNRS, studying marine birds and mammals at France’s Dumont d’Urville research station in Adélie Land.

La Sibérie par Luc Jacquet

A new calling: capturing images

In the field, Luc Jacquet also had a slightly more unusual job, as cameraman on the film Der Kongress der Pinguine (“The Penguins’ Congress”) being made by Swiss director H.U. Schlumpf. Before leaving, he took a crash course. But it was with the emperor penguins, in the frozen expanses of Antarctica, that he discovered a passion for film, embarking on a career as cameraman and then director of wildlife documentaries.

International acclaim with March of the Penguins

Having fallen in love with Antarctica, Luc made several trips south of the Roaring Forties, spending a total of three years there. From those expeditions, his debut feature was born: March of the Penguins. It was the story that made emperor penguins famous, showing the world their incredible strength in surviving and reproducing in the planet’s most extreme climate. The film was an instant box office hit. It was translated into multiple languages and has now been seen by more than 21 million movie-goers. It has also collected a string of awards, including the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the annual ceremony in Los Angeles, in 2006.
A few years later, The Fox and the Child was released in movie theaters, an unforgettable story of a friendship spanning two seemingly disconnected worlds, those of humans and animals. The film has been seen by more than 2.5 million spectators in France, and been released in almost fifty countries.

Luc Jacquet: A living conduit for science and emotion

Fame in the service of science

With two brilliant cinema successes to his name, Luc Jacquet redoubled his commitment to protecting the environment and offered his services to the scientific community, working to pass on their knowledge to the general public and promote their messages on major environmental issues. 

Channeling images and emotions to raise awareness

Convinced that we do most to protect the things we love, Luc Jacquet founded the association Wild-Touch in 2010, to develop his environmental awareness-raising initiatives. Two major productions followed: Once Upon a Forest was an exploration of primary tropical rainforests with botanist Francis Hallé, while Ice and the Sky focused on the issue of climate change, alongside glaciologist Claude Lorius. To raise awareness about these two issues with the widest possible audience, both were the subject of feature-length films, TV documentaries, educational programs, and books.

A great Antarctic expedition

An artistic and scientific expedition

Ten years after March of the Penguins, Luc Jacquet returned to Antarctica for a new expedition. He took with him the wildlife photographer Vincent Munier, and underwater photographer and diver Laurent Ballesta.

Together, they captured spectacular images, revealing for the first time the teeming life that exists on and beneath the sea ice. The divers took on the glacial Antarctic water, setting a new record for cold water deep diving, and discovered a hitherto unimagined world of color and biodiversity. The images they brought back were seized upon gleefully by the scientific community. Following that expedition, Luc Jacquet made The Emperor, which continues the story of the emperor penguins with the moment the chicks, left alone on the ice, finally sum up the courage to dive into the sea.

Antarctica

An immersive exhibition: Antarctica

In addition to his feature-length film, Luc Jacquet created the immersive exhibition Antarctica for the Musée des Confluences in Lyon. A dive into the Antarctic, alongside the members of the expedition.

The unique experience took visitors on a journey to discover the landscapes and wildlife of the white continent, both on and beneath the sea ice. Antarctica was a great success.

Visited by over 500,000 people, it was the third most popular exhibition in France in 2017. Later, the exhibition traveled to the Ubersee Museum in Bremen, Germany, where it broke attendance records, and also the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, Belgium.

Icebreaker Studios, Luc Jacquet’s new production studio

Total artistic and editorial freedom

Luc Jacquet’s previous experiences led him to embark on a new phase by taking financial control of his projects.  By moving away from conventional audiovisual production methods, the Icebreaker studio has more latitude to act independently and give its authors complete artistic and editorial freedom. It also guarantees that the company holds 100% of the rights to the images and productions, and is able to use them in other media and on different platforms. Icebreaker Studios and Luc Jacquet have the support of the Prince’s Government and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

Icebreaker Studios: a decade of projects

There are numerous projects in the pipeline, including four feature-length films, a catalog of touring immersive exhibitions, e-learning courses, and cinema hackathons for young creative talents. The goal is always to take people on a voyage of discovery and marvel at fascinating subjects like evolution, against the backdrop of the Galapagos Islands, the fall in the Russian Far East, the coral reefs, and the first parietal paintings in the Lascaux caves.

Stream the films of Luc Jacquet