Chasing Coral Review


Far below the surface, in the warming ocean water, there is a crisis occurring. Entire underwater ecosystems are transforming. Once-thriving reef systems are now sullen graveyards covered in the bleached skeletons of coral reefs. While countless headlines have stated that “The Great Barrier Reef is Dead,” there is still hope for the reefs. Chasing Coral, a documentary by director Jeff Orlowski, illuminates the critical matter of coral bleaching in hopes of educating the public about this pressing issue.

The documentary follows the journey of a crew of photographers, divers, and scientists as they work to document coral bleaching events across the globe. To the team, coral bleaching is a marketing issue, as the majority of people are unaware of the phenomenon. Director Jeff Orlowski who also produced Chasing Ice, a documentary about the melting of the ice caps, uses time-lapse videos of coral reefs to show coral bleaching, allowing people to better understand its devastating effects. Chasing Coral documents not only the bleaching, but the emotional journey of the team as they worked to create the film. Dr. Phil Dustan, a marine biologist and professor at College of Charleston, is featured in the film and provides insight into how devastating coral bleaching has become. Dr. Dustan powerfully asked the viewer, “Do we need trees? Do we need corals? Or can we just live in the ashes of all of that?” In order to capture these time-lapse videos of the reefs, months of planning and preparation went into creating underwater cameras that could withstand the rough ocean conditions. The journey of the team creates a riveting narrative that brings the viewer far below the ocean’s surface. This documentary is a compelling account of the coral bleaching events and how they affect more than just the ocean ecosystem.

The film is available for viewing on Netflix. For more about Chasing Coral, visit and for more information about coral bleaching visit