Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR120530: Australian “full dome” film calls for global cooperation to protect coral ecosystems

Australian “full dome” film calls for global cooperation to protect coral ecosystems

A major work from Australia for full-dome planetariums will debut next week in 23 cities around the world, including the Philippines, to call attention to both the magnificence and fragility of coral ecosystems, especially in the face of climate change impacts.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell presented the work to select media today, ahead of its worldwide release on World Environment Day, saying that the work by Australian visual artist and film-maker Lynette Wallworth is “a product of collaboration between artists and environmental scientists who point to coral ecosystems as an indicator of the extent of impacts brought about by climate change, one of the most significant challenges facing the world today.”

Entitled ‘Coral: Rekindling Venus’, the work is a breathtaking journey into a mysterious realm of fluorescent coral reefs, bioluminescent sea creatures and rare marine life, revealing a complex community living in the oceans most threatened by climate change.

Australia, the largest bilateral grant aid donor to the Philippines1, has been working closely with local counterparts in support of efforts toward climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, among other development challenges in the Philippines that are exacerbated by climate change impacts. “As close neighbours, Australia and the Philippines share the same beautiful marine landscape. We also share the same challenges brought on by climate change. By working together bilaterally and regionally, we can find common solutions.”

‘Coral: Rekindling Venus’ is a unique blend of film, art, science and conservation. The work’s profound message is delivered through an artform that exploits the immersive environment of full dome projection in a totally new manner.

Its global premiere coincides with the rare astronomical phenomenon the Transit of Venus1 across the sun on June 5-6. This celestial event is so rare, it will not occur again in this lifetime. During the Transit of Venus in 1761, scientists around the world worked to measure the distance from the Earth to the Sun in a unique act of global cooperation. Today, Wallworth uses Venus’ transit as a rallying point for global cooperation around this century’s most pressing issue: climate change and its effects on the global ecosystem.

The film is being released on June 5-6 for the Transit of Venus in 24 planetariums around the world, in partnership with 13 Australian Embassy posts and 11 individual planetariums on 5 continents. This is the first time an Australian film has had such a wide international day and date release.

In Manila, the film premier kicks off a series of activities by the Australian Embassy to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5 and World Oceans Day on June 8, highlighted by a visit to Manila by preeminent Australian coral reef scientist, Professor Terry Hughes.
Australia is at the forefront of marine conservation and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies has the world’s greatest concentration of coral reef scientists.

‘Coral: Rekindling Venus’ will be shown at the Discovery Science Center Planetarium in SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City, from June 6 to 19. The film is open to the public.

1 Australian aid to the Philippines for FY2012-13 is estimated at A$128.7M
2 The Transit of Venus - where the planet will be passing between the Sun and Earth similar to a solar eclipse by the moon - is among the rarest predictable astronomical phenomena. It happens in pairs every 243 years, with pairs of transits separated by eight-year gaps. The last Transit was in June 2004, and the next pair won’t be until 2117 and 2125.