Director: Keith Scholey
Writer: David Fowler, Keith Scholey
Stars: Celine Cousteau, Doug Anderson, Paul Atkins, Paris Basson, Steve Benjamin
Countries: United States
Diving With Dolphins chronicles the making of Disneynature’s Dolphin Reef, the story of a young Pacific bottlenose dolphin named Echo. From wave surfing with dolphins in South Africa to dancing with humpback whales in Hawaii, filmmakers go to great lengths – and depths – to shed new light on the ocean’s mysteries. To locate and “cast” their lead and supporting characters, Disneynature filmmakers partner with marine life experts and scientists, traveling to stunning locations such as the Red Sea, French Polynesia, Sipadan Island in Malaysia and the islands of Palau. On their global aquatic journey, the team captures remarkable bottlenose dolphin behaviors rarely seen in the wild, including a little-known ritual involving gorgonian coral, synchronized swimming while sleeping, and a fascinating, cooperative hunting strategy called mud ringing. The crew, many of whom have filmed marine animals for decades, faced some unusual underwater challenges. How do you safely capture underwater footage of massive male humpbacks battling over a female? How can you smoothly track tiny, fast-moving reef residents like the cleaner wrasse? Filmmakers reveal their clever solutions. And while cinematographers experience many moments that take their breath away, a few assignments – including an eerie expedition into a coral reef catacomb and a nighttime dive with hundreds of hunting sharks – have the entire crew holding their breath. After three years in production, filmmakers are hopeful their quest will have a meaningful and lasting impact on audiences. They take one last trip, not featured in the final film, which illustrates how humans can positively impact our oceans and their incredible inhabitants long into the future. Explorer Céline Cousteau narrates the English-language.