‘Puff: Wonders of the Reef’ wins Emmy for Outstanding Nature Documentary

'Puff: Wonders of the Reef'

A documentary about the tiny inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef has had a big win in New York, taking out Outstanding Nature Documentary at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards.

Puff: Wonders of the Reef, Netflix’s first Original Australian documentary, follows a baby puffer fish through the Great Barrier Reef as he learns to survive and thrive through his first year of life.

Director Nick Robinson, of Wild Pacific Media, and cinematographer Pete West, of BioQuest Studios, developed super-macro camera techniques for the film, designed to immerse viewers in the world of the reef’s tiny inhabitants – a world where drama unfolds on scales too fast, too slow, or too small for the human eye to perceive.

It was one of two Australian nominees in the Outstanding Nature Documentary category, which also included Sally Aitken’s Playing With Sharks.

Speaking to IF, Robinson said the team was “over the moon” with the win, which he described as “huge” for Australian natural history.

“These awards normally go to Bristol; they don’t come to Australia very often,” he said.

“We’ve been trying to break into the really high-end blue chip natural history space for a long time and to do it with Puff was amazing but to get recognised as best nature documentary for the year is fantastic.

“Hopefully, it leads to more.”

Robinson produced the Rose Byrne-narrated documentary with Electra Manikakis and Peta Ayers, while West co-produced alongside Louise Polain and Daniel Stoupin.

The editing team comprised Bobbi Hansel, Natasha Alves, Casper Mazzotti, and Jack Riley, with Hylton Mowday composing the music.

Robinson paid tribute to Netflix for helping bring the story to life, adding he hoped the conversation about working with the streamers again would be made easier with the success of the project.

“I wanted to do this story for a long time but it wasn’t the sort of film I could make with the normal budgets we work with,” he said.

“When Netflix decided to take a chance on it, it was an amazing opportunity to really explore the tiny worlds and make a whole story about tiny creatures.”

The 43rd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards were presented across two ceremonies held September 28 and 29 at the Palladium Times Square.