After the success of Chasing Ice, his stunning film about photographer James Balog’s Extreme Ice Project, director Jeff Orlowski turned his attention to the ocean. He wanted to raise awareness of and document the disappearance of the world’s coral reefs.
The result is Chasing Coral - an incredible, beautiful and devastating film. As with Chasing Ice, the behind the scenes journey following those involved in the environmental project is just as fascinating as the story of the coral itself.
The documentary is the result of over three years of work for Orlowski and a team of divers, photographers, engineers and scientists. They filmed in a number of locations including Bermuda, Australia and Hawaii.
The group developed innovative filmmaking technology and captured more than 500 hours of underwater footage - relying on the support of over 500 people in a range of locations around the world. “It is really hard to wrap your head around charts and numbers,” Orlowski explains. “But when people see visuals that tell us that story they get it in a completely different way.”
“What got me hooked more than anything else was this potential for telling the ocean’s story in a unique, powerful way that nobody has seen before,” Orlowski explains. “I feel that, as filmmakers, we are translators for the scientific community.”
Chasing Coral is gripping and astonishing, incredibly sad and yet also infused with hope. This is not a forgone conclusion. There is something that we can all do to help prevent the destruction of coral reefs.
As a result of the documentary, a campaign was launched to ensure that the loss of the world’s coral reefs does not go unnoticed and to support communities in the creation of local solutions.
Earth Day in 2019 highlighted coral reefs as one of the six species in desperate need of attention and action. Today, almost 65 percent of coral reefs are under serious threat of extinction and environmental groups are using Chasing Coral as an important and effective tool to raise awareness and inspire change.
Chasing Coral is part of the environmental collection of Documentary 7.
If you enjoyed this movie, I would also recommend:
March Of The Penguins
An Inconvenient Truth and An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power
Before The Flood
Encounters at the End of the World
You can check out my reviews of these films here.
I would also like to include the following honourable mentions: 2040: Join The Regeneration, The Ivory Game, Anote’s Ark, Being The Change, The Island President, Climate Of Doubt and Switch.
Do you have any environmental documentaries that you would like to recommend? If so, do let us know in the comments section below or over on Twitter. You can find me @500DaysOfFilm.