Shackleton’s Captain

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Captain Frank Worsley signs on as captain of the Endurance to navigate Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew across the Southern Ocean to Antarctica. But when the ship becomes trapped in the ice and crushed, the fate of the crew stranded on the Antarctic ice seems sealed – were it not for the exceptional seamanship and navigational skills of Captain Frank Worsley.




52/85 min


Leanne Pooley


In October, 1914, under the command of Capt. Frank Worsley, the Trans Antarctic Expedition ship, Endurance sets sail for Antarctica. The goal of expedition leader, Sir Ernest Shackleton, is to cross the icy continent by way of the South Pole but just sixty miles off the Antarctic coast, the Endurancebecomes trapped in the pack ice and slowly but surely is crushed. The crew members are now without shelter, exposed to the mercy of howling storms and sub-zero temperatures.  Fifteen months go by before they can finally launch their lifeboats back into the water  thus beginning another, even more torturous ordeal.

Shackleton’s Captain tells for the first time ever, the true story of Shackleton’s expedition across the Antarctica from the perspective of his exceptional captain. Beautifully realised, emotional and moving recreated scenes bring to life the rigors experienced by the crew in the freezing cold of the wintery Southern Ocean as we experience how, despite the most adverse conditions possible, Captain Frank Worsley navigates and sales the James Caird through pack ice, ocean currents and winter storms.

Written by
Leanne Pooley
Tim Woodhouse

Directed by
Leanne Pooley

Director of Photography
Simon Baumfield

John Gibson

Edited by
Tim Woodhouse

Sound design
James Hayday

James Heyward
Andy Salek
Christian Beetz

Associate Producer
Anna Bolster

Executive producers
James Heyward
Christian Beetz
Catherine O’Sullivan

Line Producers
Liz Difiore
Kathrin Isberner

Commissioning Editors
Jude Callen (TVNZ)
Peter Allenbacher (ZDF)

Shackleton’s Captain
  • „Just in diesem Moment überraschen uns die aus dem Theaterbereich stammenden jungen Regisseure Hans Block und Moritz Riesewieck mit einem erstaunlichen Dokumentarfilm, der seit Monaten Publikum und Kritik auf den wichtigsten Festivals der Welt elektrisiert. Völlig zu Recht: Es ist, als würden einem die Scheuklappen weggerissen, als sähe man das, was sich seit Jahren direkt vor unseren Augen abspielt, zum ersten Mal unverschleiert... eine fesselnde ,Doku noir' mit höchstem Anspruch...Dieser Film müsste an allen Schulen gezeigt werden.“
    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

In co-production with

  • wdr

Produced by

  • navigator

In co-production with

  • making movies
  • zdf

In collaboration with

  • arte

Supported by

  • NZ on air
  • EU Commission
  • FFA Filmförderungsanstalt
  • DFFF
  • medienboard

Supported by

  • media
  • EED
  • nrw