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‘Chasing Coral’ Editor on Telling a Non-Political Environmental Story

Chasing Coral editor Davis Coombe speaks to Filmmaker Magazine about editing Jeff Orlowski’s Sundance documentary on scientists trying to capture the phenomenon of coral bleaching.

“We are telling what is essentially an environmental story but had no interest in making a political film. We were also telling a very technical story about climate science, underwater ecosystems and complicated camera systems and it was a challenge to not get bogged down with all those details. What we focused on was the personal narratives of our characters and telling this story through their experiences,” says Coombe. “We made sure to use our observational footage as much as possible rather than lean on interviews exclusively to communicate the science in our story. This created a sense that we are following our characters as they learn, rather than ‘telling’ the audience things directly. There is actually a tremendous amount of science in our film but it feels more like an adventure. We also went out of our way to establish our ‘experts’ as people, not just talking heads. You get a sense of what this story means to them personally, why they care about it, and even their sense of humor. By the end of the film you feel like you know them.”

Read the full story here.