We reached out to our festival filmmakers to ask them questions about the experience of making their films.
What inspired this story?
Chasing Coral filmmakers: This story really came to us through Richard Vevers. He emailed our team after seeing Chasing Ice and told us there are dramatic changes happening in the ocean and that it is a very visual story that the world needs to see. So we started following him, meeting and interviewing scientists, and discovered for ourselves how quickly reef ecosystems are changing. We knew this was a story that needed to be told.
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film.
When you are working on documenting something that has never been done before, there are inherent challenges. It was a grueling production involving new technology issues, working in an ocean environment with currents, storms, underwater filming, communication challenges, time-limitations with oxygen tanks, and so much more. We were lucky to have a skillful and talented team to help keep us afloat (literally)!
How do you approach storytelling?
We knew that film has the potential to create empathy and we felt that a human-centric story was critical. We also recognized that in order to tell a story about an ecosystem collapse, we needed a way to show that story visually. If we could capture a time-lapse of a reef's dramatic changes, we would be able to show that transformation as a visual documentation of our changing planet. We also learned so much from the making of Chasing Ice and our mentors that we began working on possible narratives early on in order to make sure that the footage we were capturing was resonating and forming a compelling story.
What impact do you hope this film will have?
We believe in the power of film to activate individuals, mobilize communities and build bridges. We are working on making sure that this film gets out into the world in a powerful way. Since we premiered on Netflix, our goal is to support screenings globally through resources that empower audiences to mobilize locally. We are also working with diverse partners to spark local movements around sustainability, and we seek to engage leaders to help us acceleration what Richard calls the "great transformation".
Were there any surprising or meaningful experiences you want to share?
The most surprising part of this film has been gaining a real understanding of what is happening in our oceans. For example, it is hard to fathom that 93% of the heat from climate change is being absorbed by the ocean. That is a massive amount of heat. When our team watched these changes happening right before our eyes, it really was a shock and it changed the way our team looked at this problem.
Anything else you would like people to know?
This was a story that took three and a half years to make, hundreds of hours underwater, and is a culmination of the hard work of people from around the world. We hope viewers will share this story and film as we know that the first step towards action is awareness.
While we don't have anything currently in production, we are always looking for the best stories to tell.
Questions for specific categories:
What do you see as the impact of the individual, group or movement featured in the film?
We owe a lot to Richard, Zack and the scientists in this film. They are really the ones who have devoted their lives to giving a voice to the corals. Through his photography, Richard has given this issue a face and without him, we would still be ignorant to this massive problem. Zack has given a heart to the issue and through his love and obsession for corals, we feel his pain for their devastation and demise. Obviously, the mind and brains of the operation come from the scientists but they also are so much more than facts and numbers. These people have dedicated years of their lives to studying something that is rapidly disappearing, and yet they get up and go to work every single day. Their strength is comparable to the resilience that reefs can have if we only give them a chance.