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Why you should see ‘Paradise Reef’


Paradise Reef 06The Fort Myers Film Festival takes place at several Lee County venues March 8-12. One of the films included in this year’s edition is Paradise Reef, a 56-minute documentary directed, filmed and edited by John Scoular. Three years in the making, the documentary follows a visionary’s quest to secure BP disaster funds, rally community support, and deploy 18,000 tons of concrete to create 36 artificial reefs along Florida’s Paradise Coast.

The visionary at the center of Paradise Reef is local lawyer Peter Flood. After the 2010 BP Oil disaster depleted area reefs, Flood wanted to do something positive for the Gulf of Mexico. So he forged a partnership with Economic Recovery Task Force Chair Diane Flagg Paradise Reef 07and, together, the duo spearheaded a citizen’s initiative to secure $1.3 million in BP disaster funds and bring together Collier County, the City of Naples and the City of Marco Island to launch and support an artificial reef project.

To make the film, Scoular had to assemble a partnership of his own. So he and his producer/wife Paradise Reef 14Madeline Smith Scoular associated executive producer and aerial coordinator Capt. Harry Julian and executive producer and marine coordinator Capt. Lance H. Julian, co-founders of Pure Florida and Marine Team International. Barb Frederick rounded out the team as co-producer.

Although Scoular shot the majority of the film, he broughtParadise Reef 12 in world-renowned underwater cinematographer Andy Brandy Casagrande IV for the underwater sequences shot in 5k on Red Dragon with a Gates underwater housing. Not only did Paradise Reef 10Casagrande shoot the fish-eye-view underwater sequences, he was also part of the documentary. Having shot all over the world, Andy provided an unbiased opinion on how well the reefs have grown and the role they are playing in increasing the fish population off the coast of Naples, Marco Island and Collier County, Florida.

Through captivating aerial footage and in-depth interviews, the film also shows the symbiotic relationship between, and the natural beauty of, the Everglades, the Ten Thousand Islands, the Gulf of Mexico and Collier Paradise Reef 15County, Florida.

The film’s narrative is furnished by experts in their respective fields, most notably iconic Everglades photographic artist Clyde Butcher, Brian Zepeda from the Seminole Tribe, oceanography professor Dr. Heyward Mathews, who has built artificial reefs for the past 40 years, NOAA’S Dr. Jim Murray, Paradise Reef 01Peter Flood, Diane Flagg, Katie Laakkonen, Keith Laakkonen, Jim Kalvin, Bill Goulding from Krack a Noon, and Chris D’Arco.

Paradise Reef marks John Scoular’s third feature film with producer-wife Madeline Smith Scoular. Music is provided by Jason Soudah. Sound Design is by Paradise Reef 03Wild Woods Sound.

Presented by Barbara Linstrom and WGCU-PBS, the filmed aired on June 30, 2016 and has since been viewed in over 1195 cities and in over 29 countries around the world. It was WGCU-PBS’s most watched video online in 2016 with over Paradise Reef 044000 views. It ended the year with the 2016 Suncoast Regional Emmy in the Topical Documentary category from the Suncoast Chapter of The National Academy of Television Art & Sciences. The film was pitted against competing documentaries produced in the Suncoast Chapter region, Paradise Reef 11which is comprised of Mobile, Alabama, Thomasville, Georgia, the cities of Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles and New Orleans, Louisiana, the entire State of Florida and the island of Puerto Rico.

“The Paradise Reef film demonstrates how the actions Paradise Reef 09of few can ensure a rich and diverse fish habitat and ecosystem for generations to come,” said Executive Producer Harry Julian at the Orlando awards ceremony, “and we are honored to receive such high recognition from The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Suncoast Chapter for a documentary that showcases our Paradise Reef 08unique eco-system and the importance of preserving Southwest Florida’s natural environment.”

“Completed without the use of taxpayer dollars and predicted to bring in an estimated $30 million annually to the Collier County area, the Paradise Reef Project and the award-winning documentary exemplifies a team effort to bring back what was once thought to be lost, creating an end result even better than before,” concludes correspondent Tyler Mosher writing for the Naples Herald.

February 26, 2017.

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