LAHAINA — “Black Coral,” a documentary that tells the stories of black coral divers in Maui, will be screened at “Movies at the Old Prison” on Saturday, June 24, at 7 p.m. at the Old Lahaina Prison.
“Black Coral,” directed and produced by the Brothers Winn, is an exclusive, inside look into a closed fraternity of elite watermen: the black coral divers.
These men would go to great depths and take high risks to retrieve the valuable coral found in the waters of the Au’au Channel between Maui, Molokai and Lanai.
Released in 2016, this poignant film features in-depth interviews with several divers that made history with this dangerous activity, from Jack Ackerman, who rediscovered the black coral in 1958, to Robin Lee, who passed away in 2012.
Other deep divers featured in the movie are Al Gadow, Rick Grigg, Henry Ah Sam, Stephen Allencastre, Harold Hall, Tony Harrington, Bob Hartman, John Lawson, Mitchell Major, Ray Souza and Calvin Wada.
In a 2016 interview with Lahaina News, Lawson described what he called his obsession: “I loved it; it was just addictive — nitrous oxide every day, decompressing, talking to the whales.”
“We’d find places that nobody had ever seen,” Lawson observed. “Probably still haven’t seen. There are still mystery places out there.”
“When you hit the water, the sound changes, and you’re weightless,” the West Side senior added. “You’re flying in this crystal clear water, and you can’t see the water. You get closer and closer (to the bottom) and see white sand, then coral, then cliffs, valleys and fish, and coral heads.”
The diving scenes were filmed off the coast of Maui, and the film crew dove as deep as 300 feet on re-breathers to capture the dramatic re-enactments.
This free event is brought to you by Lahaina Restoration Foundation and made possible by your donations and by LRF members’ generosity.
Please bring your own blankets, mats and low-back beach chairs to enjoy the movie on the lawn of the Old Lahaina Prison.
The historic Old Prison is located on the corner of Prison and Wainee streets. Free parking is available at the county parking lot located on Prison and Front streets. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
“Lahaina Restoration Foundation is delighted to bring ‘Movies at the Old Prison’ to the community every last Saturday of the month,” said Theo Morrison, LRF executive director.
“It is a chance to share more of the incredible stories of Lahaina’s past and culture in an entertaining way, at a beautiful historic location, and with the community.”
For more information, visit https://lahainarestoration.org/calendar/.