Chasing Coral

Dir. Jeff Orlowski

Status: PRODUCTION
2017

How did we help:
  • Development
  • Production
  • Outreach
  • Good Pitch

Director Jeff Orlowski
Producers Larissa Rhodes
Completed 2017


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SYNOPSIS

Richard Vevers quit his job at a top London ad agency and sets out to become an underwater photographer. Face-to-face with stunning evidence of the human caused destruction of vibrant underwater ecosystems, Richard races the clock to save the oceans.

After working for years in the advertising world in London, Richard Vevers was fed up. In a brash career move, he quit his job, moved to Australia, and became an underwater photographer. Richard sought the guidance of expert photographers and ocean scientists, hungry for knowledge that could illuminate the unfamiliar world under the waves. Richard was blown away by the magic of the reefs: silky sharks, weedy sea dragons, brain coral, and the countless sea creatures he learned to recognize and name. But the underwater world he had come to love was changing drastically. Between climate change, overfishing, and local pollution, he saw that the global oceans were dying.

Meanwhile, Australian scientist Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg worked tirelessly to disseminate his thirty years of research on coral reefs. Ove spent his entire life on the shores of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. As the country’s leading ocean expert, his work has been cited over 16,000 times in scientific literature. Despite being such a prolific and well-recognized author, Ove considered it a success if 1,000 people read one of his papers.

When Richard and Ove cross paths, it sets them both down a course that will forever change their lives. Ove can supply the irrefutable science, and Richard can design big campaigns to reach millions. Within a few months they invented a camera that could reveal the oceans unlike ever before. They partnered with Google, and pioneered Google’s Underwater Street View (maps.google.com/oceans). Within 18 months, Richard had created the most viewed underwater photography in history. Despite such huge, quick success, this wasn’t enough.

Now, Richard is on the verge of crafting a new pitch, an underwater pitch, in order to reframe how we think about our relationship to the ocean. Richard speaks about the need for a powerful visual to communicate an idea. Richard’s big challenge for 2015 is to document massive coral bleaching that is expected to happen this year. A bleaching event represents visual evidence of coral decline, and is a direct result of rising ocean temperatures. If Richard can collect the images he needs and develop his elevator pitch on how to rethink this issue, he hopes to inspire the public to make massive changes during this critical time.

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