Red coral, a sought-after raw material for southern Italy’s traditional jewelers, is under threat from climate change, poaching, and the illegal trade that is making criminals a fortune. Jan-Philipp Scholz’s documentary takes a closer look at the coral riviera, an important player in the Mediterranean region for centuries- both for the local economy and the ecosystem that it supports. Featuring interviews with conservationists, local residents, and law enforcement officials, the film examines the reasons for the illegal trade, the impact it’s having, and what’s being done to combat it.
Viewers will learn how the illegal trade is fueling the booming red coral smuggling industry, affecting the environment and putting numerous species at risk. From getting an inside look at the red coral jewelry-making process to hearing the sound of coral being harvested in the Mediterranean sea and learning about the harsh punishments for smugglers, the film offers a compelling story that is both informative and engaging. The documentary raises questions about the true cost of the red coral trade, and what can be done to ensure that this natural resource is protected for future generations.