Private Project


For millions of years, the Arctic Ocean has been covered by a permanent sheet of ice. Within a generation, it will melt in its entirety during summer for the first time in human history. HEALY follows a crew of scientists and sailors through a two-month research mission setting out to try to understand why the northern ice cap is melting even faster than climate models have predicted – and how the transformation is altering life on Earth.

We follow the crew of USCGC Healy from the Aleutian Islands through the Bering Strait and into the Beaufort Sea, where shipmates encounter the singular beauty of the frozen Arctic Ocean. Through rare access to film onboard the sole US icebreaker operating in the Arctic, we bear witness to this uniquely stunning environment through the eyes of those observing it firsthand.

Researchers descend onto the ice pack to deploy equipment for year round monitoring, offering a glimpse into the science that is so critical to improving our understanding of climate change. Through clear explanation of how the melting of the ice cap is linked to increasingly extreme weather events across the globe, HEALY provides timely insight into how changes in the Arctic impact people everywhere, leaving viewers with a heightened sense of the existential importance of limiting Earth’s warming.

  • Maya Craig
  • Maya Craig
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 30, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Jackson Wild Media Awards

    September 25, 2023
Director Biography - Maya Craig

Maya Craig is a documentary filmmaker and cinematographer based in San Francisco and working internationally. She has been a National Geographic Explorer since 2019 looking at the global climate and geopolitical impacts of a warming Arctic, a journey that has brought her to Alaska, Svalbard, Iceland, and across Europe to film with scientists, policymakers, and indigenous communities. Her NGS-supported short film HEALY is a 2023 Jackson Wild Media Awards finalist. As Director of Photography for Swiftwater, Maya has shot a number of films about watersheds of the Western US including THE LOST SALMON (NW Emmy Winner 2023), BRING THE SALMON HOME (Jackson Wild Media Awards finalist 2022), and GUARDIANS OF THE RIVER (EarthXFilm Impact Award 2021). The team is now in production on UNDAMMING KLAMATH chronicling the Klamath River dam removal, considered the largest river restoration project ever undertaken. Maya is also a DP and co-producer on feature documentary LAIKIPIA, about conservation and pastoralism in Northern Kenya, which is in post-production and has been supported by Doc Society, Threshold Foundation, Sundance, and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Her first documentary WATER TOWN, about a water privatization conflict in Northern California, was broadcast nationally on PBS and helped lead to the town securing its water rights. Maya is a fellow at London’s Royal Geographical Society, and holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Colorado College and a Master’s in Documentary Film from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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Director Statement

I’ve spent a number of years considering how to tell the story of the seminal milestone of an ice-free Arctic Ocean, through a relatable character-driven film. Following USCGC Healy’s research deployment provided a means through which to bring an audience along on a journey to the sea ice to bring awareness to its global importance. On account of the pandemic, producing this short stretched into a four year labor of love, but the story only becomes more critical with time.