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OSU-Produced Film Documents Decline Of Coral Reefs Worldwide

David Baker

Filmmakers with Oregon State University followed scientists to the far reaches of the planet to record the global decline of coral reef eco-systems. They’ve produced a feature-length documentary which makes its debut in Eugene this weekend. (See extended interview below)

Saving Atlantis, narrated by Emmy-award winning Peter Coyote, opens with panoramic views of our oceans. We see what living coral reefs look like, close up.

Credit David Baker

“When early scientists and explorers encountered corals they didn’t know what to make of them,” reads Coyote. “The brown rubble that lurked just below the surface of tropical seas was a barrier. A labyrinth. A mystery. But those who lived along coral reefs who fished their waters, they knew.”

Coyote then goes on to tell us, in the past 50 years, more than half of the world’s coral reefs have vanished.  

David Baker is a media producer with Oregon State Productions. He wrote the script for Saving Atlantis and shares director/producer credits. Baker says originally the project was to be a series of videos for the National Science Foundation but…

“When we went on our first shoot,” Bakers says, “right away we saw how dramatic this problem was.”OSU’s Global Coral Micro-biome Project took a holistic look at coral reef health. Baker and other filmmakers had to learn to scuba dive before they could record coral reef in places like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Red Sea off of Saudi Arabia.  

“And for our scientists it was really eye opening because we came along and pointed our cameras at the local communities that were affected by the corals,” Baker says. “And we did a lot of interviews with fisherman, with tourism operators and just people who live along these reefs and derive their livelihood from it.”

Credit David Baker

The documentary is now on the film festival circuit. Baker says it will eventually be available to stream online.

Saving Atlantis will be screened at Broadway Metro Theater in Eugene this Sunday (04/29/18) at 5pm.

OSU's David Baker co-produced, co-directed and wrote the script for Saving Atlantis.
Credit David Baker
OSU's David Baker co-produced, co-directed and wrote the script for Saving Atlantis.

more information on the film Saving Atlantis:


For more information on coral research by Rebecca Vega Thurber, Ph.D.at OSU:


OSU-Produced Film Documents Decline Of Coral Reefs Worldwide

Click Audio File below to hear KLCC's Tiffany Eckert in an extended interview with David Baker, co-producer/co-director of Saving Atlantis:

Copyright 2018 KLCC

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.