We sent our Endurance Parka into the Arctic Circle to the set of big-budget noir thriller Fortitude, the only British drama film shot on location in the Arctic.
For those who haven’t seen Fortitude, it’s a world of morally ambiguous sheriffs, troubled scientists, American detectives and idealistic governors. A gritty drama that unfolds under the atmospheric high contrast scenery of Svalbard, where hungry polar bears roam the coasts and an icy darkness pervades the ethereal mountains. Out there, temperatures can drop as low as -50ºC and rifle-carrying is a common necessity.
Mindful of the harsh conditions, the Fortitude team asked us to deliver some of our toughest outerwear to the cast and crew. Pictured below is Set Sjorstrand – Torsten Øby on the show – after he put our jacket through the mill.
We wanted to see how our Endurance Parka would fair during shoots in the little town of Longyearbyen and around the rest of the ice-shod archipelago. Series creator and showrunner Simon Donald wore the jacket while capturing footage for the final season, directing rooftop gunfights through whirling snow storms and night-shoots on ice-fields in punishing wind-chill.
“The parka is an absolute, genuine, totally incredible life-saver,” Simon said on his return. “Even outside for hours on end during a night-shoot at -27ºC I was snug and safe. This is an absolutely magnificent jacket. It was the first night-shoot on the edge of the ice-field which really brought home how wickedly punishing this place can be. The temperature with wind-chill factored in was -30ºC. The wind was a low, steady, remorseless push of skin-freezing air. As we worked into the night the crew became quieter and more and more internalised.
"People stopped talking, using all their energy to concentrate on their work. In the pauses between set-ups the crew unconsciously formed a 60-strong huddle, like a gang of penguins, all standing with their backs to the cold blast. It was primal and exhausting. In three weeks we didn't drop a single shot. The footage we've brought home for the final season of Fortitude is utterly wonderful.”