Preview of Upcoming Short Film 'The Coral Gardener'

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Keep an eye open this festival season for a new 12-minute short film entitled ‘The Coral Gardener’, created and directed by David Iskender Dinçer, student at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg, Germany.

The movie tells the story of a diver who, clad in his brass helmet and lead boots, died underwater a century ago. After years spent lying on the sea bed, corals begin to grow on his diving helmet and bring him back to life, where he decides to remain underwater and care for the coral reef. In the decades that follow, he sees his new home come under increasing threat from humans at the surface, witnessing the sinking of a ship during wartime and the subsequent environmental catastrophes posed by plastic pollution and coral bleaching. Eventually, he decides to take action.

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The diving suit weighed 40kg and had to be assembled underwater

Filmed at Abu Dabbab in the Egyptian Red Sea, with Andreas Häckler of playing the diver, the movie was beset with problems and has taken two years to complete. ‘I didn't have an easy game with the project and I was often thought to be crazy,’ said Dinçer, who became 'immediately fascinated by [the] world beneath the surface' after learning to dive in Turkey in 2014. 

The suit worn by Häckler weighs 40kg and created a number of logistical problems for the production team, which included five safety divers along with Dinçer himself. Creating a safe design to allow the diver to work underwater proved particularly demanding. 'A construction with a closed-circuit rebreather would have been too expensive and time-consuming,' Dinçer told DIVE. 'Andreas put on his suit, a hidden regulator was led through the costume into the metal backpack. Stefan Knispel, the main safety diver, put on Andreas' heavy shoes, [and] finally, the helmet was put on.'

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The team had to transport props such as this antique gramophone to the filming location using DPVs 

The scenes were discussed at the surface and the team communicated using an underwater radio, hand signals and wrist slates. 'The shipwreck was a special challenge for us,' said Dinçer. 'We had to dive the props and suit to the shipwreck, as there was no boat on site. We looked like a crazy circus with scooters and all the props in boxes and lifting balloons.'

The end result of Dinçer and his team's efforts is a fantastically well-executed and beautifully narrated production set to an appropriately atmospheric soundtrack. It is by turns spectacular, heartwarming and – inevitably – tinged with melancholy. David is currently waiting for approval from a variety of festival submissions; follow his progress and look for upcoming announcements on Instagram @daviddincer, and check out the teaser trailer below.


The Coral Gardener is sponsored by (Abu Dabbab), Cinecore Motion Pictures GmbH, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, Tauchsport Gläßer (Munich), actionsport Diving-trips, Stahl & Stein (Blacksmith in Meschede), Trocki Klinik, Lungen-Automaten Service, Oceanreef, Taucher@Net, Digital Life 3D, Jin Koide (SONY), Jens Landfeld (Consiliaris) and



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