Description from TIFF 2013 catalog by Thom Powers:
Artist Chris Jordan is renowned for his epic photographs that give fresh insight into modern consumption. Now making his directorial debut in collaboration with Sabine Emiliani, the skilled editor of The March of the Penguins, he’s already attracted 10 million viewers for his similarly titled short film that went viral on the Internet. Filmed during repeated trips to the remote Midway Atoll island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Midway focuses on the albatrosses who inhabit the island amid machinery left over from World War II. Jordan’s masterful images, both beautiful and frightening, leave an indelible impression.
Midway takes us through the lifecycle of albatrosses from their courtly mating ritual of bowing heads to the birth of babies and the struggle for survival. The film’s exquisite cinematography evokes the best of nature films yet is imbued with a distinct sensibility that at times verges on science fiction. Jordan and Emiliani are joined by first-rate creative partners including composer and sound designer Erik Aadahl (Argo,Tree of Life).
Returning to the far-off island several times over several years, Jordan’s team witnesses the cycles of birth, life, and death of these birds to bring us a metaphor for our times. Jordan writes in an artist’s statement, “For me, kneeling over their carcasses is like looking into a macabre mirror. These birds reflect back an appallingly emblematic result of the collective trance of our consumerism and runaway industrial growth. Like the albatross, we first-world humans find ourselves lacking the ability to discern anymore what is nourishing from what is toxic to our lives and our spirits.”