Anyone who is paying attention to global warming knows the crushing implications coral reefs are facing. Human existence is literally destroying some of the world’s most incredible natural structures, including coral reefs. Wildlife in all of its forms is under immense pressure to conform to climate change or find peril in a lack to adapt. The filmmakers of Chasing Coral spent years watching these horrible decline events happen in person and now feel it is their responsibility to share the knowledge with the rest of the world.

The new documentary, called Chasing Coral, is finally documenting the real, live trouble coral reefs are facing out in the ocean today. The documentary was produced by Exposure Labs who also made the innovative Chasing Ice documentary out in 2010. The film maker’s goal, Jeff Orlowski, was to make the plight of coral reef systems out in the ocean easily accessible for the average Joe around the world. He explains, “It’s a very visual story. You can see coral reefs going from a living, healthy state to dead just in a matter of a couple of months.”

The film made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival this past weekend as part of the festival’s new climate program. It addresses the notorious issue of coral bleaching as well as the countless other problems coral faces beside warming waters. Human existence is extremely taxing on coral reefs. Everything from coastal development to increasing ocean traffic pays its toll on coral.

“Chasing Coral taps into the collective will and wisdom of an ad man, a self-proclaimed coral nerd, top-notch camera designers, and renowned marine biologists as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record bleaching events as they happen,” Sundance’s website explains. This innovative film finally not only captures the elusive act of coral bleaching but is also able to share it with people across the globe.

Orlowski speaking about the film.

Orlowski has even addressed President Trump for his outwardly dismissive attitude towards global warming and climate change explaining, “From my perspective, I would love to get this film in front of President-elect Trump so he can see what is happening to the planet. He has publicly stated this is not a big issue. This goes against what all of the good science has to say. It’s very hard to understand the very complicated nature of this issue but if we can show people an emotional story. If we can show them visual imagery, visual evidence of what’s happening that will hopefully have an impact.”

The Importance of coral

Coral is the foundation for many ocean ecosystems. Why we generally think of coral living in tropical, shallow waters there are many deep sea coral systems that we still understand little to nothing about. Coral provides shelter and resources for countless species ranging from phytoplankton to sharks.

It is very easy for mankind to get wrapped up in charismatic and “likeable” species like sea turtles or dolphins (both of which are no less important I might add!) but without healthy coral reef ecosystems, the ocean could see a major collapse in productivity and diversity.

When and how can I see Chasing Coral?

There is not an exact release date for the film yet but we do know it is very important to the film makers to make it available for the general public. That is why it is incredibly exciting that it has been announced the film was picked up by Netflix.

Lisa Nishimura, Netflix Vice President of original documentaries calls the film “a stunning cinematic achievement”. She goes on to say, “Jeff has captured a beautiful view under the ocean seldom seen, giving viewers a firsthand tour through a dynamic and urgent issue. We are proud to have the film join our growing roster of films and series that aim to speak to a wide global audience and engage people simultaneously across borders.”

We can only hope that the popularity of Netflix will allow such a powerful, important, and well-made film to reach the masses in a way coral decline has never done before. Check out below a brief preview of the film and meet the minds behind the genius of Chasing Coral.



References and photos courtesy of: