54 Hours is a remarkably vivid account of the 1914
tragedy in which 132 men were stranded on the ice during a severe snowstorm
off the coast of Newfoundland. Seventy-eight men froze to death on the ice
The last of the wooden steamers in an industry already dominated by steel ships, the Newfoundland couldn’t break ice like the newer ships, and had no radio equipment. Still, men came from across the province to work on the ship; some came for the money, some for the adventure. They slept on the skins of seals they had killed, their clothes caked in blood and grease. That spring in 1914, with the ship unable to reach a seal pack, 132 men were ordered off the boat and onto the ice, to hunt. They spent two unbearable nights on the ice.
Survivor testimony, striking archival materials, weather visualizations, inventive animation and puppetry are seamlessly blended to recreate this harrowing ordeal.
2014, 13 min 34 s
Atlantic Film Festival
September 11 to 18 2014, Halifax, Canada
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