Aussie full-dome documentary headed for China

Australian media artist Lynette Wallworth’s Coral: Rekindling Venus will premiere in China in September during the World Economic Forum in Tianjin.

An immersive film experience that takes viewers through fluorescent coral reefs in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, it will screen in a full-dome cinema airfreighted from Berlin in the Forum’s New Champions section.

“Coral will be presented as a cultural event under the umbrella of WEF's Climate and Sustainability portfolio with screenings to environmental scientists to connect with the bigger environmental story of our oceans,” producer John Maynard tells IF.

“WEF has also scheduled screenings each day for environmental policy makers, special communities, private and public screenings and for the media,“ added Maynard.

Wallworth will present many of the screenings over the three days of New Champions and serve as a juror on ClimateSHAPE, which will be part of the Global Shapers Community at the event.

The production was the first in a series of innovative non-theatrical ventures from Maynard and Bridget Ikin’s Felix Media, which struck a unique partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under the latter’s international cultural diplomacy program for the film’s worldwide launch in 25 full-dome cinemas on six continents in June 2012.

Venues included Melbourne, Brisbane, Wollongong, New York, London, Birmingham, Manila, Taipei, Beijing, Delhi, Mumbai, Hamburg, Berlin, Brussels, Belgrade, Montpellier, Buenos Aires, Auckland, Wellington, Baltimore, Oakland, South Bend, Hilo and Honolulu.

The 45-minute production features deep-sea photography by Emmy Award-winning cinematographer David Hannan, with music by New York-based band Antony and the Johnsons, Australian Indigenous artist Gurumul and German composer Max Richter.

In January 2013 the film premiered in the New Frontier section of the Sundance festival and in 14 full-dome planetariums throughout the US.

“Audible gasps filled the room, audience members clasped their hands to their chests and a few left the planetarium in tears,” said the Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan. "Through imagery and music, Wallworth offered audience members an opportunity to gain a personal connection to our oceans.”

The docu later screened at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. “Audiences of all ages were thrilled and awed by the artistic vision and the scientific content,” said the museum’s Ruth Cohen. “We anticipated a cumulative audience of about 7,000 over two weeks; instead, we had more than 22,000 visitors.”