The new Netflix documentary
, “follows photographers, divers, and scientists as they document the quick and dramatic death of coral reefs when ocean temperatures rise.
“At the center of this three-and-a-half year endeavor was director/producer Jeff Orlowski, who shared cinematography credits with diver master Andrew Ackerman. [Contributions were also made by nine underwater cameramen, 33 on additional camera, and six more for manual time-lapse, plus divers from 25 countries for local reports in the global call.] Like Orlowski’s Emmy-winning film on melting glaciers, Chasing Ice, the narrative thread is the documentary process itself: assembling a team, getting input from scientists, and adapting camera systems to photograph these underwater organisms in all their living glory and sobering death.
“Narrative films usually try to follow that traditional form, unless it’s experimental,” Orlowski tells
. “On documentaries, filmmakers kind of walk the line. It’s something that I love about it. Then the challenge is, how do you make it a compelling story, and still convey the information that you need to convey?
“The approach we’ve taken is that the story itself only really has meaning if you understand why it’s important, and why the subjects of the film think it’s important. That’s the challenge for these kinds of projects, to blend those two worlds together and bring the science and the art of storytelling into that hybrid.”