A Michigan man prepares for an annual ice fishing trip with a group of old friends. Pete Johnston directs and narrates “Ice Fishing In a Climate Crisis That Precedes a Global Pandemic,” a lighthearted personal documentary that details a tradition going back to 2013 where a group of men gather in a cold cabin to drink beer and play music. There’s supposed to be ice fishing too. (Johnston describes the allure of ice fishing thusly: “you sit on a bucket for hours in the cold thinking about things you’ve done wrong.”) But warmer temperatures threaten to keep the ice thin, unsafe to fish on. In the days leading up to the trip, Johnston keeps a close eye on the weather, the ice conditions, and the fishing reports. And though the localized dilemma is admittedly low stakes —even if there’s no ice to fish on, the real point of the trip is to gather with friends — the warmer weather is a warning sign with massive global implications. The fact that the trip was completed right before the onslaught of Covid-19 throws another giant piece of context onto a supposedly low-key hang. Despite the existential threats, Johnston maintains a gentle conviviality and an endearing Midwestern sense of humor throughout. “A chance to sit, be cold, and admire the grey.”
Director, DP, Editor: Pete Johnston. With the music of The Wayhighmen.