Leaving for Cuba: Coral Libre, the new expedition of Pax Arctica

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PAX ARCTICA is organizing the CORAL LIBRE Expedition in July 2017 in CUBA. The goal of the Expedition, organized in partnership with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and University of Sydney is to document the health of coral reefs in Cuba. This eco-scientific adventure will serve as the basis for a docufiction film which will cover both the expedition at sea as well as subsequent on-land developments


The marine ecosystems of Cuba are largely undocumented and unknown but are vital to the economy and sustenance of the large coastal communities of Cuba. They are likely some of the healthiest remaining Caribbean coral reefs with large populations of sharks, groupers and other large top predators. These reefs represent a largely untapped source of revenue relating to ecotourism, sustainable fisheries and bioprospecting. However most of these important benefits will be lost if overfishing and unsustainable development degrade these critical marine ecosystems. Without a baseline of the health and biodiversity of the marine ecosystems of Cuba it will not be possible to substainably manage and protect these ecosystems from the rapid economic and social development already occurring with the recent thaw in US-Cuba relations. A series of expeditions will be planned to determine the baseline ecosystem conditions of the coral reefs of Cuba. In this first mission we will focus on the coral reefs of Jardines de la Reina, one of the most spectacular Cuban coral reefs.

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Research Plan

The main goal of the expedition will be to document the baseline health of the major coral reef ecosystems of Cuba. This will involve using high-resolution photography and cutting edge 3D photomosaic technology of the reefs that will be analyzed using recently developed automated machine learning methods on our Coral Net platform (coralnet.ucsd.edu). These photographic surveys will provide important data on coral reef health by providing data on living coral cover, coral diversity, macro algae cover, coral disease and mortality. This data will be critical for the informed conservation of Cuban coral reefs. The research team will be led by coral reef ecologist and Scripps Project Scientist David Kline. It will also include Oscar Pizarro and Nader Boutros from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney.

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Film Synopsis

This docufiction film will be directed by Philippe Azoulay. It focuses on two young women, battered by life, who meet in Cuba. They encounter incredible characters, discover an unexpected world and share a transformative journey in a country where ‘joie de vivre’ trumps life’s difficulties. During a scientific expedition on a dive boat, the coral reef research team (David Kline, Oscar Pizarro and a graduate student) meet Johanna, the inquisitive young cook on the research vessel. The film will follow her daily journey on the boat as well as the island of Cuba. We will share and discover this young woman’s experience, as she struggles in an unknown world. After a night of partying, she misses the departure of the research vessel and finds herself stranded in Havana. Alone with little money, she meets another young woman, who is also going through an existential crisis. Their friendship and shared adventure lead them to a wake-up call, where they question what is important in their lives and contemplate love and happiness. The film is a journey between land and sea, yesterday and tomorrow, rational and irrational. A search for meaning, where the need to live in harmony with man and nature becomes a quest for both the young women and the audience.

The team

Luc Hardy is an entrepreneur, veteran adventurer, environmental advocate, photographer, author, film producer and member of the Explorers Club of New York. Luc graduated from Ecole Centrale Paris with an engineering degree. Through his company Sagax, Luc has been investing in and advising technology startups for over 30 years. He is Vice-President of Green Cross France & Territories, the environmental NGO founded by Mikhail Gorbachev. His curiosity for the world and his love of adventure stem from his origins in Brittany. He continues to travel extensively, photographing and reporting from remote places in order to raise awareness for global causes. His expeditions have included: Greenland (2007 and 2011) and the Canadian Arctic to study the effects of climate change; several Polar and Himalayan expeditions; and the North Pole in 2011. His books include: Antarctic Adventure (2004), Greenland Impressions (2007), Arctic Transitions (2008). He is also the producer of the documentary film The Pursuit of Endurance, which was released in April 2015, screened in numerous festivals worldwide as well as at the United Nations in New York on Sept 15. 2015. Luc lives in Connecticut and in France.

Dr. David I. Kline is an Associate Project Scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He is a coral reef ecologist who studies the fate of coral reefs in a high carbon dioxide future on molecular to ecosystem scales. In particular he collaborates with computer vision scientists, engineers, chemists and physiologists to develop new techniques for studying the impact of climate change on coastal ecosystems. He has led or co-authored over 45 high impact peer-reviewed publications with over 2000 citations. He studies the ecology of corals and reef communities, and how reefs will change under the plethora of stresses they face, both local (e.g. pollution and disease) and global (warming and ocean acidification).

Philippe Azoulay is an appreciated documentary/film director. With experiences on stage, TV and in photography, he shot and directed various music videos and two documentaries before founding a film production company as an independent filmmaker: Rosebud Productions. This allowed him to direct several award-winning shorts, as well as producing and directing many documentaries broadcast worldwide. He subsequently founded another production company: Az You Like Films. He is also an environmentalist who took part in movements and events such as “One billion rising”, “Summit of Consciences” and “24 hr meditation for the ocean”.




Your contribution will help finance the expenses and fees associated with bringing three scientists from top-notch institutions to the expedition location as well as purchase and rent photographic and 3D-filming equipment.

- SUPPORTER – for a contribution of US$1,000
- PARTNER – for a contribution of $2,500
- BENEFACTOR – for a contribution of $5,000
- PATRON – for a contribution of $10,000

  • Your name will be mentioned as a Supporter/Partner/Benefactor/Patron on the expedition page of Pax Arctica’s website (if you have a logo, your logo in the sponsors’ list will link to your website)      
  • You will receive a commemorative book about the expedition (PARTNER and up)
  • You will receive a commemorative video short about the expedition (BENEFACTOR and up)
  • And a CD of a selection of photos taken during the expedition and a framed picture autographed by the members of the team (PATRON and up)

- SCIENCE SPONSOR – for a contribution of $25,000

Contribute to the cost of the scientific expedition (participation to fees, expenses, equipment, etc.). All services as per above and:

  • Prominent logo patch on our equipment and clothing
  • Photograph of your flag on location
  • Key note speech, projection of the Expedition’s film to private audience of your choice (dates and location to be agreed upon).



- Associate PRODUCER - $25,000

Credit in the film to be produced after the Expedition.
Participation in the economics of the film at 2.5% level (pari passu with Sagax/Pax Arctica – but no copyright/ownership)

- Executive PRODUCER - $50,000

Credit in the film to be produced after the Expedition.
Participation in the economics of the film at 5% level (pari passu with Sagax/Pax Arctica – but no copyright/ownership)

Please contact Luc Hardy at LH@sagax.com for any questions. For larger contributions, please contact: paxarctica@sagax.com. Please email at LH@sagax.com to organize for a personalized presentation.

Inside Out in Antarctica

Inside Out in Antarctica

In 2014, I led a nine-person expedition to the Antarctic Ocean. Each member offered a range of life experiences, having worked as top professionals, explorers, mountaineers, soldiers, mariners and scientists, all with a common goal: to make our fellow humans interested in these parts of the world and its history, and aware of the effects of climate change in this region.

Even though JR had crisscrossed the planet before, he had never been to this part of the world.

Presentation of the Film DEMAIN at the UN March 30th 2016

About the documentary: 
"Tomorrow (French: Demain) is a 2015 French documentary film directed by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent. Faced with a future that scientists say is a great cause for concern, the film has the distinction of not giving in to catastrophism. Optimistically, it identifies initiatives that have proven themselves in ten countries around the world: concrete examples of solutions to environmental and social challenges of the twenty-first century, be it agriculture, energy, economy, education and governance."

Movie Night at the Lycée Français of New York | January 4, 2017

A perfectly hosted event at the LFNY on January 4, 2017, thanks to Pascale Richard. In presence of  Pierre Dutrieux, oceanographer and research professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Looking forward to discuss the strongly critical topic of climate change again in their company.

The video of the Q&A is on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=_x6jmPd8qEQ

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 6:30pm

The pursuit of Endurance by Luc Hardy, followed by a Q&A with the director and Pierre Dutrieux, oceanographer and research professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

"The future we want" at CoP22 Photo Exhibit

"The future we want" at CoP22 Photo Exhibit

Green Cross International is currently displaying a photo exhibit entitled "The Future We Want", showcasing solutions for a sustainable future – moving the conversation forward on how a green and inclusive economy improves food and energy security, creates jobs and reduces inequality. 

United Nations screening of “THE PURSUIT OF ENDURANCE"

Last night (Sept 14, 2015) was a very special event for me and over 600 lucky viewers. I had been invited to show my movie, ’THE PURSUIT OF ENDURANCE – On the Shoulders of Shackleton’ at the United Nations. Being able to do this unique screening on the eve of the opening of the 70th Regular Session of the UN General Assembly was a true honor. The event was under the High Patronage of His Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, who introduced the event. Our host was The Association des Français Fonctionnaires Internationaux de New York (AFFIN), represented by Sibylle Eschapasse. We had a post-film Q&A session with a panel including Paul Walker, Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Green Cross International (http://www.gcint.org/)) and David Porter, atmospheric and oceanographic research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Columbia University (http://bit.ly/1Ou8U2z) Many questions were asked by children and adults alike about the film, the expedition, the Shackleton Endurance expedition, climate change, the Paris Climate COP21 conference in Paris in December, etc. The event was webcast and here is a link to the UN TV website showing introductory remarks as well as the full Q&A:


From left to right:

Luc Hardy


Sibylle Eschapasse

(Présidente de l'Association des Français Fonctionnaires Internationaux de New York),

Paul walker

(Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Green Cross International),

David Porter

(Atmospheric and Oceanographic Research Scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Columbia University)  — Photos: Denis Assalit

More info on the film:


A film by Bertrand Delapierre

Produced by Luc Hardy / Sagax Entertainment

Co-produced by Puzzle Media

Trailer film English: http://ow.ly/Ny7eM

World Premiere at Focus on French Cinema, Greenwich, CT – March 27, 2015: http://www.focusonfrenchcinema.com/

Festival du Film Francophone – Angoulême – August 25-31, 2015 – Official selection: http://bit.ly/1PzITxr

As seen in Variety:


The Pursuit of Endurance

On the Shoulders of Shackleton



In the heart of the Antarctic, nine adventurers are about to live an extraordinary story.

They come from very different backgrounds, but one thing brings them together: a passion for adventure and testing the limits.

Their goal: to follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest legends of the golden age of polar exploration: Ernest Shackleton.

In 1914, after the sinking of his shipThe Endurance, this hero saved his entire crew from a certain death.

100 years later our expedition sets out to explore the sub-Antarctic islands of Elephant, South Georgia and the South Sandwich by boat, ski and pulka.

On board the Australis: an expedition leader, a veteran explorer, a former officer, a skipper, a polar guide, a scientist, two young soldiers and an athlete snowboarder.

An expedition to remind us of the fragility of this highly endangered ecosystem, and to improve our understanding of these remote expanses.

With them, you will relive the best but also the most challenging moments of this great adventure.

With the support of SOPRA STERIA (


) and La Française


Trailer film English:


Au FFA (Festival du Film Francophone d’Angoulême), il y a aussi de la place pour le débat


CLIMAT “À la poursuite de l’Endurance” a permis de rebondir sur la conference de Paris

Le producteur Luc Hardy a animé le débat (photo Michel Amat). De gauche à droite: Luc Hardy, Nicolas Imbert (DG Green Cross France), Delphine Bathot (Députée des Deux-Sèvres et ancienne Ministre de l’Ecologie et de l’Environnement, Thierry Gortzounian (Secrétaire Général – La Française Group)

Une cinquantaine de personnes dans la salle et une seule star: l’Antarctique… Il n’y a pas que le strass et les paillettes dans la vie du FFA. Hier le documentaire de Bertrand Delapierre “À la poursuite de l’Endurance” était projeté au CGR. Le film raconte l’expédition polaire de neuf aventuriers partis sur les traces d’Ernest Shackleton dont le navire a fait naufrage , il y a près d’un siècle, au large de l’île de l’Elephant. Entre performance sportive et éclairage scientifique, le film a pour ambition de sensibiliser le public au dérèglement climatique. À l’issue de la projection Luc Hardy, le directeur général de Green Cross Nicolas Imbert et l’ancienne ministre Delphine Batho ont lancé le débat avec, en toile de fond, l’échéance de la conférence de Paris sur le climat. Un échange intéressant qui a permis de mesurer l’écart entre ceux qui pensent que la conférence fera bouger les choses et ceux qui restent pessimistes.

Article "Sud Ouest"


I am pleased to announce that on the eve of the opening of the 70th Regular Session of the UN General Assembly, a special screening of THE PURSUIT OF ENDURANCE will take place – on 14 September 2015 at the United Nations' headquarters in New York City. The event is free. I hope you can attend. Details below:

"The Pursuit of Endurance" at The United Nations

A film by Bertrand Delapierre
Produced by Luc Hardy / Sagax Entertainment
Co-produced by Puzzle Media
A presentation at the UNITED NATIONS 
Under the High Patronage of His Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations 
Hosted by: The Association des Français Fonctionnaires Internationaux de New York (AFFIN)  

Introduction: His Excellency François Delattre
Moderator: Ms. Sibylle Eschapasse
Post-film Q+A with Luc Hardy: the film, climate change and the COP21 conference: Luc Hardy
In the presence of a representative from Green Cross International.

– Monday, 14 September 2015 
– Start: 6.30 p.m to 8.30 p.m
– Exact Address: United Nations Visitor's entrance on 1st Avenue and 46th Street (Projection Conference Room 4)
– Bring your passport/ID
– Language: English
– Film Running time: 52'
– Please allow time for security check at entrance.
– The event is free

- The event is FREE but to attend, you and your guests must reserve your seats at: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-pursuit-of-endurance-at-united-nations-new-york-city-tickets-18099006616?aff=eac2

Focus on French Cinema, April 2015

Focus on French Cinema, April 2015

The Focus on French Films festival, now in its 11th year, came again to Greenwich last weekend, captivating us with the ambiance of foreign language films and giving us an appreciation for the creative people who make them.

Renee Amory Ketcham, who chaired the festival, reported the same number of attendees this year as last despite the fact fewer films were shown: "4,500 cinephiles from the tri-state area."

Greenwich Time : 'captivating' foreign films

The Focus on French Films festival, now in its 11th year, came again to Greenwich last weekend, captivating us with the ambiance of foreign language films and giving us an appreciation for the creative people who make them.
Renee Amory Ketcham, who chaired the festival, reported the same number of attendees this year as last despite the fact fewer films were shown: "4,500 cinephiles from the tri-state area."
The 20 films with newly added shorts selections were thoughtfully vetted, said Anne Kern, of Riverside, an associate professor of cinema at Suny Purchase, who was involved in choosing the films.
"The French produce 200 films a year," she said. "What we are doing for our festival audience is curating these French films and winnowing them down to choose what pleases and delights our audience."
A survey of last year's festival viewers showed more than a third had attended the festival for five years or more, indicating they approved the choices.
First on my list to see was the premiere of the documentary "The Pursuit of Endurance -- On the Shoulders of Shackleton," an inspiration realized by Luc Hardy, our hometown explorer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist.
Since learning of that great survival tale of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 Antarctica expedition aboard the ill-fated ship "Endurance," Hardy determined to trace Shackleton's footsteps. It took him two years to build his team, first enlisting David Hemplemann-Adams, the British first-climber of all seven of the world's highest summits, plus five other men and two women. A sailboat was found, as was a captain able to traverse such a course and cameramen brave enough to capture it all.
Of the courageous females, one was a scientist and another an extreme-sport snowboarder who dazzled viewers as she risked all shooting straight down snow-encrusted mountainsides.
The gorgeous shots of the expedition, showing the explorers' group stretched across vast snowscapes, were accomplished in part with drones, a technology embraced by Hardy. The drones afforded unforgettable images of the masses of seals, penguins and elephant seals on South Georgia Island.
But having the most impact was the sudden and formidable sight of Elephant Island rising out of the ocean in all its dark and fearful grandeur, a jagged mountain of rock, snow and ice where Shackleton's crew managed to survive for five months eating penguins and seals while waiting for rescue.
Other festival film highlights included the slow-moving but architecturally ravishing film "La Sapienza," focused on a Swiss architect in love with the 7th century works of Italian architect Borromini. The story was told in both French and Italian. Over 100 showed up for that one, including U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., and wife, Mary.
A film set amid the lushness of the Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia called "The Gate" -- its French title was "Le Temps Des Aveux" -- told the stark story of a French ethnologist captured by the Khmer Rouge.
But the real standout for many was the film "Once in a Lifetime," or "Les Heritiers," the true story of a charismatic teacher in a Parisian suburban high school who involved her disparate class in an essay contest and, for inspiration, invited a Holocaust survivor to address them. The result was a transformative experience for the class.
Anne Kern, post screening, introduced the film's director, Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, a former American journalist and now-naturalized French citizen and director who had received the screenplay from one of those transformed students.
Mention-Schaar spoke of following the teacher with a camera for a year, then added a footnote. When the Buchenwald concentration camp survivor told the class the date of the camp's liberation in 1945, he mistook the date as Jan. 29. The survivor, said Mention-Schaar, had died this year -- on Jan. 29.
It's the sharing of stories like this that make a film festival with the creators intriguing.
Missing in the Bow Tie cinema lobby this year were the few small tables where film-goers and -makers could converse. The sit-down area was available when the festival was at SUNY Purchase, said Kern. She said she believes in the value of viewers able "to share their love and their opinions of films."
"This is the reason for a festival," she said, "It really creates a cultural event."
Also viewing these films are the thousands of students in the tri-state area that come to the festival, some 6,000 students in 10 years, Kern said. One hopes a good number of them saw the film "Once in a Lifetime."
Sitting in front of me for "The Gate" was Roger Lurie, whose wife, Claude, is French. He finds French films to have more depth than American films, he said.
Time did not allow catching one of the 10 comedies in the mix this year, including, "I Kissed a Girl." Kern described it as "about a gay man going straight."
"People were crying with laughter," she said.
Kern said she couldn't imagine such a film being made in America, "But the film portrays a vision of the world where homosexuality is no longer a special category.
"French films afford an expanded vision of what cinema can be," said Kern, talking about the support artistic cinema gets from the French government. Every movie ticket sold in France she said, has a portion held back for first-time film directors.
Anne W. Semmes 
Updated 10:09 am, Friday, April 3, 2015

Luc Hardy, un capital-risqueur chez les manchots

La Géorgie du Sud et Zavodovski sont des îles au large de l’Antarctique, qui appartiennent à l’archipel britannique des îles Sandwich du Sud. Elles sont très peu visitées. Peuplées de phoques, de manchots et d’albatros, balayées par les vents, elles représentent une bonne idée de ce qu’est le bout du monde.

Luc Hardy en revient tout juste. A 58 ans, ce Français qui vit dans le Connecticut a monté une expédition de cinq semaines en voilier autour de ces îles, à laquelle neuf personnes ont participé. De quoi couper radicalement les ponts avec son quotidien d’investisseur en capital-risque : en temps normal, Luc Hardy dirige un fonds, Sagax, qui investit dans des start-ups (comme Virtuoz ou le Lending Club).

Ce périple devait honorer le centenaire de l’expédition Endurance d’Ernest Shackleton. Cet explorateur anglo-irlandais a réalisé, au début du siècle passé, un voyage mythique vers ces terres inconnues, qui a tourné au drame. Le bateau a été emprisonné par les glaces, l’équipage dut se réfugier sur une banquise en dérive pendant deux mois. A bout de force, les hommes se sont séparés, attendant un hypothétique secours. Au terme d’une incroyable odyssée, Ernest Shackleton réussit à gagner la Géorgie du Sud, traverser cette île montagneuse et enneigée à pied, et les faire sauver.
Heureusement, il n’est rien arrivé de tel à Luc Hardy. Ce voyage avait en premier lieu un objectif scientifique : l’équipe a largué onze bouées Argo, qui émettent des données satellitaires et mesurent les courants, la salinité de l’eau, la température. Parmi les passagers figuraient une sportive suisse, Géraldine Fasnacht, qui a réalisé diverses prouesses en snowboard. L’équipe a aussi effectué, à pied, la traversée des monts de Géorgie du Sud (50 km), sur les traces d’Ernest Shackleton. Un film, réalisé par Bertrand Delapierre et produit par Luc Hardy, doit sortir au printemps 2015 (le trailer et d’autres vidéos visibles ici), et Luc Hardy publiera un livre de photos, comme pour ses précédentes expéditions.

Car il ne s’agissait pas, pour lui, d’un coup d’essai. Cela fait plus de dix ans que ce Français monte et finance, via son organisation Pax Artica, des voyages dans des lieux reculés. Avec en trame de fond, une volonté de montrer les effets du changement climatique – Luc Hardy est par ailleurs vice-président pour la France de Green Cross, l’ONG environnementale créée par Mikael Gorbatchev.

Ces derniers temps, on a pu apercevoir Luc Hardy sur les îles Aléoutiennes (au large de l’Alaska), sur des territoires tribaux en Papouasie-Nouvelle Guinée, sur l’île de Baffin dans le Canada Arctique, sur un glacier de l’Himalaya, ou encore à Barneo, un campement russe installé sur la banquise, à proximité du Pôle nord.

Mais foi d’aventurier, cette dernière expédition a été particulièrement ardue. Ces îles, proches du redoutable Cap Horn, sont en plein dans les « cinquantièmes hurlants » : entre le 50ème et le 60ème parallèle de l’hémisphère sud, les conditions météo sont parmi les pires au monde, avec des déferlantes terribles. « Le vent était si fort qu’il pouvait nous faire tomber. On était toujours en mer, parfois cinq jours de suite. Ca bougeait tout le temps. Tout le monde a été malade, même moi qui fait du bateau depuis toujours, même le capitaine », dit ce Breton, originaire de Saint-Malo.
Heureusement, il y avait de belles récompenses. Ces colonies de milliers de manchots en Georgie du Sud. Ces paysages « dramatiques », avec ces montagnes qui « tombent à pic dans l’eau ». « Il y a, dans ces îles, un côté hanté. On aurait pu tourner le Seigneur des Anneaux là-bas. » Et la satisfaction de fouler des terres désertes. « Pouvoir débarquer sur l’île Zavodovski, où à peine un bateau n’arrive à passer par an, c’était magique. Là-bas, je me disais : il n’y a peut être que dix personnes qui sont allées sur cette plage. C’est l’endroit le plus inaccessible dans lequel je sois allé ».

De retour aux Etats-Unis depuis la mi-novenbre, Luc Hardy a ouvert ses « 1.400 e-mails » et repris ses activités pour Sagax. Et pense déjà à ses prochains voyages : pourquoi pas l’Arctique russe, ou ces îles près du détroit de Béring… Ou bien un coin reculé en Amazonie.

Il ne se demande plus si cette passion est compatible avec son autre passion, le capital-risque. « Au début, quand j’ai commencé à mélanger les deux, je me disais : ‘cela ne va pas plaire’. Mais en fait, les gens autour de moi sont très enthousiastes. Il y a des parallèles assez évidents entre ces expéditions et le monde des start-ups : un état d’esprit très optimiste limite inconscient, une volonté de monter des projets, de surmonter des obstacles, de tester son endurance. D’ailleurs, les jeunes des start-ups avec qui je travaille, ils me disent tous : ‘on veut venir’ ! »


Luc Hardy, un capital-risqueur chez les manchots

Luc Hardy, un capital-risqueur chez les manchots

The Focus on French Films festival, now in its 11th year, came again to Greenwich last weekend, captivating us with the ambiance of foreign language films and giving us an appreciation for the creative people who make them.

Renee Amory Ketcham, who chaired the festival, reported the same number of attendees this year as last despite the fact fewer films were shown: "4,500 cinephiles from the tri-state area."