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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Daniel Anker, Producer of Icebound - the Movie About the Rich History of Alaska, Sled Dogs, and the 1925 Serum Run

Icebound Trailer from API FILMS on Vimeo.

I was very sad to learn of the April 21st passing of Daniel Anker, a great filmmaker and producer, and someone I had the privilege of interviewing and getting to know a bit over the recent years as he kept me up to date on a very special movie project of his, Icebound, the documentary movie about the 1925 Serum Run in Alaska, featuring survivors and narrated by actor Sir Patrick Stewart. 

Production still courtesy of Icebound.
It's taken me pretty much the better part of this week to think about how I wanted to say "goodbye" and pay tribute to this talented man, an award-winning documentarian (including an Academy Award nod), and creative visionary I was lucky enough to have been able to get to know through our love of sled dogs, history, writing, and film. When the message came in from my "The Sibe Vibe" co-host and producer, Robert Forto, telling me of Daniel's passing, I was just stunned. Daniel was only 50 years old, in the middle of promoting Icebound and working on yet another film, when he succumbed to "pneumonia, a complication to his lymphoma" -- something I did not even know he had. So, I was pretty shocked and very saddened at the news.

Production still courtesy of Icebound

 Through many conversations, interviews, and online chatting, I really came to know and respect Daniel Anker as an artist, a visionary, and producer. We talked happily about one day there being a red carpet premiere here in New York of Icebound, and how fun it would be to walk it with my FiveSibes to greet him and be at the premiere. I was so pleased and fortunate to see a preview of Icebound, which was initially released in Europe, and I'm so happy he was able to see his dream of a U.S. release in the state where it all happened - Alaska - during the Anchorage Film Festival this past December.  Icebound was released to wonderful reviews. You can read more about the film's Alaska premiere in the Alaska Dispatch HERE.

My blog article on Icebound with my interview with Daniel Anker, along with a trailer to the movie, and some pretty awesome production still photos you can view HERE. 

"It is an incredibly rich story, not just because of what it reveals about the history of the Arctic regions, and about Alaska, but about so many other aspects of human culture, most specifically about dogs, and dog mushing.” ~Daniel Anker to FiveSibes author Dorothy Wills-Raftery about his movie, Icebound.

He was also a guest on my "The Sibe Vibe" Dog Works Radio show, where Robert, my co-host, and I had the wonderful opportunity to spend an hour chatting with Daniel on air. To listen to this show, click HERE

Icebound won the "Best Documentary Audience Award" from the IDFA (International Film Festival Amsterdam) in 2012. 

A special visitor at the movie's Alaska premiere.
At right, a beautiful Siberian Husky in attendance at the Alaskan premiere of Icebound, courtesy of Daniel's Icebound Facebook page.

We certainly hope one day it will be released to the general public so that all can have enjoy this unique historical piece of Alaskan sled dog history.

Click HERE to read Daniel's obituary published in the Washington Post's Entertainment section.

We send our deepest condolences to Daniel's wife, Donna, their children, and family, as well as his Hollywood friends and family. Many sled dogs are wooing northward in honor of his final journey.

Daniel, rest in peace, and may you continue to write some wonderful films up there in Heaven, and may you be enjoying a wonderful chat with the mushers from the original team from the 1925 Serum Run, and the folks the precious medicine delivered by those sled dogs saved, as depicted in your wonderful film. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to get to know you a little, even if only for a short while.


  1. Oh, this is sad news. What a talented man, and what a hero to bring the story to the world is such an amazin' way.
    You put together a lovely tribute!
    Ruby ♥

  2. Oh my goodness, i am so sorry. I had not heard of this documentary or this man, however I still teared up reading this post a bit. So sad and still so young. I am going to check out all of your links you provided about this as well.
    .....somewhat speechless.
    Rest Easy Daniel.
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!