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Once a Glacier


Jiabao Li

Once a Glacier is a VR film about a young girl and her relationship with a glacier. As the girl grows older, the piece of ice is threatened, and the viewer is taken on a journey through her seemingly futile efforts to protect what was once an entire glacier. The story is inspired by Jiabao Li’s own experience from two years that she lived in Alaska, where she was the young girl protecting a piece of ice in the freezer. In Inupiaq tradition, a tribe of indigenous people from northwestern Alaska, glaciers carry memories from the past and communicate them in song. The climate crisis has become a terrifying reality that includes seeing the end of glaciers—the end of these sung histories—happen before our eyes. Once a Glacier shows a gesture of nurturing, and whether the girl’s efforts are successful or not, the work suggests a poignant level of grace and humility for moving forward into the future.

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