Oct 14 - 19 2023


A documentary chronicling the life of Dr. Lonnie Thompson, an explorer and scientist who found himself on the frontlines of climate change.


One Week Only with Limited Screenings! Witness the extraordinary life of Dr. Lonnie Thompson, an explorer who went where no scientist had gone before and transformed our idea of what is possible. Daring to seek Earth’s history contained in glaciers atop the tallest mountains in the world, Lonnie found himself on the frontlines of climate change—his life’s work evolving into a salvage mission to recover these priceless historical records before they disappear forever.

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Danny O’Malley, Alex Rivest


Lonnie Thompson

Run Time

1 hour, 44 minutes


September 15, 2023

Distributed by



Assisted Listening
Additional assistance options TBA


United States




Many of the films shown at The Ross are not rated due to the prohibitive cost of acquiring a rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. Consequently, as many of these films contain graphic content, viewer discretion is advised.


OCT 13 | FRI


OCT 14 | SAT

2:30, 7:00 p.m.

OCT 15 | SUN

12:15 p.m.

OCT 16 | MON

4:45 p.m.

OCT 17 | TUE

7:00 p.m.

OCT 18 | WED

4:45 p.m.

OCT 19 | THU

7:00 p.m.

After our first meeting with Lonnie Thompson, my directing partner and PhD-trained neuroscientist Alex Rivest turned to me and said, “If there is a single story we ever tell, it has to be this one.” I immediately agreed. The next thing we knew, we were on top of an 18,000-foot glacier in the middle of South America, making a film with half the oxygen that is available at sea level. Our goal was to show the world that science stories were cinematic, emotional, and entertaining. Lonnie’s story was perfect for our mission. Lonnie was an underdog who grew up in poverty and destined for the coal mines in West Virginia, and built himself up to become one of the world’s leading climate scientists. He defied conventional wisdom by drilling ice cores from glaciers on top of the world’s tallest and most remote mountains, an act deemed impossible by all the top scientists of his time. Over almost 70 death-defying expeditions, Lonnie had spent more time above 18,000 feet than anyone in the world, earning him the reputation as the real-life Indiana Jones. His story had all the makings of a great film, and we were all in.

When Alex and I teamed up, we had not set out to make a climate film. In fact, we were actively avoiding climate change stories. As we made the film, we saw that Lonnie’s life was so intertwined with climate change that telling his story was a natural and effective way to connect people to the subject. From a coal-mining town, Lonnie could talk about fossil fuels with authority. He understood the history of coal and what the industry meant to communities like the ones he grew up in. Lonnie’s research brought him to glaciers in 17 countries all over the globe, allowing him not only to gather data but also to form personal connections with the glaciers and the people surrounding them. Lonnie’s relationship with glaciers like Quelccaya allows audiences to experience the climate impacts emotionally. Lonnie’s story connects us to the indigenous communities that are some of the first people directly impacted by climate change. It even touches on the one aspect of climate change that is hardest to face: denial. When Lonnie’s doctor warned him that his heart was failing and that he needed a heart transplant, Lonnie, who was at that very time warning the world to listen to the facts of climate change, went into denial about the facts surrounding his own diagnosis. He ignored the doctors and nearly died. When we see that even scientific heroes like Lonnie are all capable of not facing a problem, we all become more honest about our failings.

In making the film, we found that we could entertain people with a great story they’ve never heard, make climate change tangible for the audience, and inspire them to make a difference. Most important, after everything Lonnie has seen, he still has hope. You will walk away from this film with the belief and motivation that we can do something about it.

There is nobody on earth like Dr. Lonnie Thompson. By showing audiences the sacrifices Lonnie made for his science, his motivations, and his failures along the way, we believe we change how people see scientists. The hope in this film is earned and we hope it encourages people to take steps to address global warming. We are excited to introduce the world to Dr. Lonnie Thompson because Lonnie showed us how to push our limits and face bigger and bigger challenges in our lives, and we hope he will have that impact on you, too.

Danny O'Malley and Alex Rivest, PhD



$12.00 | Adults
$9.50 | Students
$8.75 | Children
$8.50 | Military
$8.75 | Seniors
$6.50 | Members
$5.00 | UNL Students


$10.00 | Adults
$9.00 | Students
$8.25 | Children
$8.00 | Military
$8.25 | Seniors
$6.00 | Members
$5.00 | UNL Students

Matinee priced tickets for all screenings TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY nights

  • Showtimes change on a regular basis and will not always be the same each day. Visit the individual film pages for a list of showtimes.
  • Children are 12 and under. Seniors are 60 and older
  • Students and Military must show a valid ID to receive discount
  • We accept cash, check, NCard, Visa, and Mastercard
  • The Ross Box Office opens 30 minutes before the first screening of the day
  • Assistive listening headsets and closed caption devices available for select titles. Check the individual film pages or inquire at the box office for details.

The event is finished.