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George Butler      

Producer and Director of The Endurance

George Butler?s feature-length and IMAX documentary films chronicling the 1914 voyage of The Endurance depict a drama of survival against seemingly impossible odds. Butler has brought to life the story of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and his 27-man crew who set sail for Antarctica in August 1914, determined to be the first to cross the frozen continent on foot and claim the territory for Britain. His three-masted wooden ship, Endurance, was designed to withstand ice and was named after Shackleton?s family motto, ?By Endurance We Conquer.?

Five months later, a day away from the Antarctic continent, the Endurance became trapped in sea ice and was soon crushed. The travails that followed sent the men from the ship to icefloes to rocky, uninhabited Elephant Island. Shackleton was an expert motivator and manager and was dedicated to saving his men from the peril in which he had placed them. Under his leadership the team made its way from one insurmountable challenge to the next relying on their own resources, ingenuity and sheer will to survive.

Building a legend that has survived nearly a century, Shackleton was able to maintain authority and boost morale despite extreme conditions which included sub-zero temperatures, hunger and no rational hope of survival. Shackleton and a five-man crew eventually set sail on one of the ship?s 22-foot lifeboats to South Georgia, the closest inhabited island. Braving a winter hurricane with 60 foot waves, they survived an 800 mile open-sea crossing, generally acknowledged to be the greatest open boat voyage ever made, to reach their destination. They landed on the west side of South Georgia where Shackleton climbed an unmapped mountain range and crevassed glaciers to reach the whaling station on the east side. Finally, more than two years after the expedition left England and on his fourth attempt, Shackleton rescued the men he had left on Elephant Island.

The story of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance is perhaps the greatest survival story of all time. It provides valuable lessons in leadership, team building and crisis management. In combination with a screening of the film, George Butler discusses the principles that led Shackleton to successfully meet the barrage of challenges that confronted him. Though the expedition itself was a failure, Shackleton found a way to succeed.

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