Documentary Film Explores Why Coral Reefs Are Vanishing

Second Saturday Documentary Series
Submitted by Sharat G. Lin

Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an astonishing and unprecedented rate. Chasing Coral is a documentary film about a team of divers, scientists, and photographers who set out on a thrilling adventure to discover why, and to reveal this underwater mystery for the world to see.

The film will be shown on June 9 at 1:30 p.m. as part of the Second Saturday Documentary Series at Niles Discovery Church, 36600 Niles Blvd. (at the corner of Nursery Avenue) in Fremont. The screening is free and open to the public.

The film reveals irrefutable visual evidence of devastating losses to these sprawling underwater cities of interconnected life forms working in symbiotic harmony. After many failures, manual time-lapse photography over 40 days finally captures coral bleaching in progress at key locations on the Great Barrier Reef off the northeastern coast of Australia. Coral bleaching, where coral reefs lose their natural color, signals the gradual progressive death of the living coral colonies.

Directed by Jeff Orlowski, Chasing Coral (2017, 93 minutes) took three and a half years to shoot and is the result of over 500 hours of underwater footage, reports of coral bleaching events from volunteers in 30 countries, as well as support from more than 500 people in locations around the world.

The final section of the movie takes a more optimistic look at what can be done to find and protect healthy reefs that can serve as seed banks for regenerating reefs in the future.

The film screening will be followed by discussion led by Tarrah Henrie, a senior scientist at Corona Environmental Consulting.

This screening is made possible by Organizing for Action. The Second Saturday Documentary Series is co-sponsored by Niles Discovery Church and the San Jose Peace and Justice Center. Learn more about the series at

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