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Suburban Chicago native directs new film on climate change

Suburban Chicago native directs new film on climate change
Suburban Chicago native directs new film on climate change 02:20

A new film looks at climate change through the eye of a scientist and the sacrifices he makes to get answers. 

The film "Canary" was directed and produced by Wilmette native Danny O'Malley and co-directed by MIT-trained neuroscientist Alex Rivest. 


The film takes viewers on a journey through the life of scientist Lonnie Thompson, one of the world's leading climate change researchers. Thompson climbs some of the tallest mountains in the world to study glaciers.

At times, he even puts his own life at risk. O'Malley says Thompson's mission and passion are clear: He wants the world to know that climate change is real.

"When we met Lonnie Thompson, his story was just unbelievable," O'Malley said. "He climbs the world's tallest mountains. He was born in poverty in coal country and became one of the world's leading climate scientists. And you know, he became this person, one of the first people to see global warming.

The film's name is a nod to Thompson's roots and upbringing in coal mining country in West Virginia. As a child, he was always told that miners put canaries into coal mines to see whether something was wrong. If the canary died, miners knew they needed to get out quickly.

"When Lonnie went to study these high mountain glaciers, on top of the world's tallest mountains, and they started melting, he started saying they were the canary in the coal mine, warning us about climate change," O'Malley said. 

O'Malley, also an executive producer of the Netflix show "Chef''s Table," spent about five years completing the film.

"Canary" has been seen nationwide, and it's making its premiere at The Wilmette Theater on Saturday, April 13 at 2 p.m.

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