Chasing Coral
40th IWFF
The Roxy Theater Screen 1Sat, Apr 15 7:00 PM
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The Roxy Theater Screen 1Tue, Apr 18 8:30 PM
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Film Info
Series:Opening Night with Filmmakers! #IWFF40
Run Time:93 min
Release Year:2017
Premiere Status:2017 Sundance Premier
Hosted By:Filmmakers Stacey Picullel & Zackery Rago in attendance.
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Jeff Orlowski

Opening night Feature Film with filmmakers in Attendance! Brought to you together with our Opening Night Sponsor- Missoula Federal Credit Union. 

Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of idvers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.

Winner of this year’s Audience Award for documentary at Sundance (read more...)

Chasing Coral was directed by Jeff Orlowski and Produced by Larissa Rhodes. The film took more than three years to shoot, and is the result of 650 + hours underwater, submissions of footage from volunteers from 30 countries, as well as support from more than 500 people from various locations around the world.


Zack’s passion for coral reefs began in the Hawaiian Islands were he spent his childhood summers under the waves of the Pacific. His infatuation with coral led to a position in the marine aquarium industry for 4 years before bringing his passion to Teens4Oceans and View Into The Blue. He received a degree in Evolutionary Biology & Ecology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. As a talented reef aquarist and long time scuba diver, he is dedicated to communicating the story of coral through science and art.

After diving countless reefs across the ocean, Jeff Orlowski surfaced with Sundance-winning doc 'Chasing Coral.'

Orlowski is a film renaissance man: he's part adventurer, part scientist, and all artist. While talking to coral scientists, Orlowski learned that when water temperatures rise by more than 1-2 degrees Celsius, fatal coral bleaching events occur. So Orlowski and his team engineered underwater cameras to capture timelapses of coral dying around the world. When events accelerated last summer, Orlowski and his team left behind the specialized housing and began reef diving multiple times a day to manually capture the world's first visual evidence of the worst coral bleaching event in history.

Orlowski sat down with No Film School at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to talk about the extraordinary underwater shooting conditions, capturing characters within a three-act-structure, and finding a story to tell.

No Film School: Even though the subject of Chasing Coral is mass coral bleaching, the film is also a character portrait of former Ad man, Richard Vevers, and coral nerd, Zackery RagoHow important is it to have a story grounded in character journey?

Jeff Orlowski: There are a bunch of different ways you can tell a story, and with non-fiction, you have a bunch of opportunities. For issues like this, I think of it as: you can do talking heads, or you can find individuals on a quest, who face struggles and will have a climax. If you can frame a story this way, it's much more impactful than just a bunch of facts and figures.