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Movie: Black Coral available for rental and download

Looking for something to watch this coming weekend or holiday time? Black Coral is a 72 minute documentary now available for rental, or purchase online.

For over 60 years the Black Coral divers of Maui, little-known groups of extraordinary watermen, risked life and limb diving to incredible depths in the Auau channel to harvest the Hawaiian state gemstone. Their exciting, harrowing, and amusing stories are made public for the first time in the feature-length documentary Black Coral. Now viewers can get a peek into the lives and experiences of some of the most extreme divers that have ever strapped on a tank.

The film follows the colorful and controversial black coral divers as they guide you to twilight, solitary depths where there are no “little mistakes” and the only way to survive is to do it on your own. Black Coral is an honest, open look at the realities of diving for coral – its costs, its benefits, and its consequences.

The film captures the authentic experiences of the divers in their own words and pairs them with underwater recreations of deadly encounters at depth, and even the occasional comedy of errors. And it’s all true, they’ll swear by it.

While Black Coral is focused on the stories of the divers, to fully grasp their world requires some understanding of the history and ecology of this unusual Pacific fishery. Along the way, academics and government regulators spar over how to best manage coral populations and harvesting. Medical and naval personnel highlight just how dangerous coral diving can be. And the divers themselves carelessly contradict the experts and each other. It is a format that allows you to listen, weigh the evidence, and make up your own mind.

Black Coral features interviews with Jack Ackerman, the man who rediscovered black coral in 1958, all the way to Robin Lee whose death in 2012 brought coral harvesting to a halt, never to be the same again. It is a broad look at an intriguing subset of dive culture and Maui history. A cautionary tale about the dangers of diving too deep and an inspirational film about the compelling, addictive draw of pursuing the things we love.

Black Coral is available as a 3-day online rental, permanent digital copy (download & streaming), or mail-order DVD only at




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