The reality of tv in Greenland: Ice Cold Gold

Adventure Aften with Ice Cold Gold, Torrak Fashion. Image: Filip Gielda

Adventure Aften with Ice Cold Gold. Image: Filip Gielda / Torrak Fashion

It’s tough work for miners to prospect in front of the camera – perhaps even harder than in real life! ‘Adventure Aften’ at Torrak Fashion was a chance for the public of Nuuk to meet the Ice Cold Gold reality tv stars. It was a fun night sharing stories about getting attacked by bugs, stalked by eagles and dodging flying hammers. 

After a hugely successful first season, the Ice Cold Gold cast and crew were back in Greenland to film their second season. It’s a series which follows an American prospecting company around Greenland as it searches for mining success.

I accidentally became the host of ‘Adventure Aften’, an evening sponsored by Haglofs. Here were some highlights from the public interview!

What a down to earth group of guys they were =)

Me with the Ice Cold Golders. What a down to earth group of guys they were =) Image: Filip Gielda / Torrak Fashion

Q – What do Americans want to see in Greenland? 

 David Casey, executive producer: When pitching this story in the United States, at the time there was no proof that Americans were interested in Greenland. It took alot of convincing and it took finding the right ear.

The right ear was at Animal Planet because they do a number of international stories. Other channels do reality tv of this variety but only domestically; Louisiana or Alaska is as far as they go. So finally Animal Planet listened. They listened to what I believed about Greenland, and what we were trying to accomplish here.

The first season, unfortunately for all of us in this room was very specific – it was very dangerous, it was all about weather. But you know, seven men in a remote location, that’s not what life is like.

This time we’ve had more time to spend with the locals and there is more culture in the show.

Q – How do you start the process of filming in Greenland?

A – David Casey: It’s been an interesting procedure. No-one has done something this large-scale in Greenland in television. Frankly there aren’t any permits. It’s not as stringent as the mining. We’d like them to create a similar process because it shows there’s alot of volume in tv.

Very simply, we asked anyone who knew anything about Denmark and Greenland how we should do it, and everyone said that there were no rules yet – just to come to Greenland!

Q – So is there a difference between prospecting for minerals in real life and prospecting for a tv show?

A – Eric Drummond, geologist: There’s a difference I have to say. Truly, you have to realise that even though our team were just seven miners here, we had thirty-something in our group – camera men, sound people, producers, outfitters following us around.

Occasionally when you’d be down to pick up a really nice rock you’d say ‘Look at this!’. Then someone would ask, “Can you do that again?” (He sighs, audience laughs). Or you’d just climbed a very steep mountain to the hilltop, then people would ask, ‘Can you do that again?”

It presents its challenges, but it’s all good. We have to realise that if what we do doesn’t get captured on film, then nobody will know that we’ve done it. So it’s a fine balance that we run. Short answer, yes it is a challenge!

David Casey: It’s been a learning curve for all of us in following the mining company while they prospected. From simple anecdotes like that to the first time we shot with them. We got up to Storo and told the guys to ‘go do their thing’ – so off they went. I then remember looking at one of the producers, asking ‘Where are they going?”. They yelled at us, “We’re going, we’re prospecting!”. By then all of our sound and camera men were at least 1000 yards behind.

There were so many times they would say ‘OK this is what we’re going to do, then they would go 15 different ways.

Another thing! Those (cowboy) hats right there (points to Josh and Jesse’s hats), you can’t see through them! When they have a pan in the hand and they are finding gold, their heads are down and you can’t see their face. So pretty much the dudes had to pan sideways all the time for the camera. Completely unnatural.

Q – Josh and Jesse, are those hats just accessories?

A – Josh Feldman, hard rock miner: Give me that mic! (audience laughs) Our hats are NOT accessories – we were born with these hats, that’s right. (Audience laughs).

No, you know, these hats are a part of us.

Jesse and I not only do we own some gold mines in Arizona we also own a horse ranch. It’s part of what we do, part of our culture and part of our lifestyle. They do have a purpose here in Greenland – they are made of fur so they are warm so that does work. They can take a pretty decent  rain storm, so there’s some utilitarian to it as well. For us it’s always a statement of who we are and where we are from. That’s important to us.

Jesse Feldman, hard rock miner: The first prospectors where we are from actually wore hats similar to this. We take alot of heat from wearing cowboy hats  but the reality of it is that this is what the first prospectors wore.

Q – Do you have any memorable incidents that happened? Were those fights real? 

A – John Self, placer miner/prospector: The process can be very frustrating at times. I had a few embarrassing moments and I threw a couple of hammers. It’s gotten cliche and it’s kind of expected that ‘that’s the way John is’, and I don’t often get frustrated like that but yes, the fights were real. They came because there were so many challenges and there’s so many personalities here. There’s bound to be clashes and differences of opinion and it can be really frustrating, so yes, they were absolutely.

Zach ‘Gator’ Schoose, excavation expert: There’s lot of things that happened that made me say things I didn’t mean. For instance when I said I was scared to death of the sea eagle…The thing was apparently stalking us. We turned around 15 times and it was always following us. I had nightmares.

Q – Your show has been positively reviewed. Have there been any misunderstandings about the show?

– David Casey: There have been some misunderstandings – both from our end, the American audience and here on the ground.

In May we did a screening in Katuaq, and Eric and Josh were there. It was the first episode. We thought we had this really nice tight episode that was really dangerous and it was all about how scary it was.

But the first time every Greenlandic person laughed was when they went to Storo and they got in their tents – and it just whipped to the side. Everyone laughed – because who would camp there at that time? That was the first disconnect. Greenlanders are just not dumb enough to do what our guys are doing or at least do what they are being asked to do. (Someone rom the crowd says ‘Thank you’).

Q – Will there be a season three?

A – David Casey: I can tell you that a large majority of people absolutely want and desire to be here next year. Just as the first season, it’s all up to the judgement of the raters. So hopefully we will be back. We have to wait for that judgement day when we go and premiere the first episode when all those viewers of the United States turn on their tvs… but we’re hopeful, and we’re sure that this season is going to be ten times better than the first season!

Lastly, talk about rubbing it in! The reality tv stars couldn’t wear mosquito nets, so the camera and sound crew created a video about mosquito bugs… cos that’s what 40 days being in the nature does to you =-) 

More photos from the night are available at Torrak Fashion’s Facebook Page.

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5 thoughts on “The reality of tv in Greenland: Ice Cold Gold

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