Back in 2007, an Inuit named Theo Ikummaq played host to a unique delegation of visitors to his home in the remote northern town of Clyde River. The group included Sir Richard Branson, Branson's son Sam, polar explorer Will Steger, a film crew, and a Monica Ord, a biomedical executive turned first-time filmmaker. Months earlier, Ord had heard about Ikummaq's journey to Los Angeles to speak about climate change and the impact it was having on his town.
"He wanted someone to come up with a famous person that could go to the Arctic and maybe bring some awareness,” she recalled earlier this year. Intrigued, Ord reached out to Theo, heard his story first-hand, and then called upon Branson to see if he was interested in joining her. "He cleared his entire schedule, and a month later we were all in the Arctic traveling by dog sled," she said.
While originally planned as a documentary, Ord and her team thought Theo's inspiring call for help might reach a wider audience as a dramatic film. To help make this vision a reality, she gathered together a dream team of film and business talent including James Cameron, Branson, John Paul DeJoria, scriptwriter and director Ezna Sands and actors Dakota Johnson and Mira Sorvino. The end result of that collaboration is the new film "Chloe and Theo."
“This film has a strong environmental theme, but it has a much stronger humanitarian message,” said writer and director Ezna Sands. “It’s about how we regard one another, recognizing that we’re all connected.”
Ord added that what's happening in the Arctic, to Theo’s people, and many indigenous groups is real. “Nothing is going to change until we care enough to feel their suffering as if it's our own. If this little film can help move the needle to reach people's hearts and minds, I will be eternally grateful," she added.
"Chloe and Theo" hits select theaters on Sept. 4.