Now You See Me, The Great Southern Reef: A Sarah & Sebastian Short Film

Now You See Me, The Great Southern Reef: A Sarah & Sebastian Short Film

“People protect what they love, they love what they understand and they understand what they are taught.”
– Jacques-Yves Cousteau

The Great Southern Reef is SARAH & SEBASTIAN's fourth cinematic endeavour in the Now You See Me short film series, diving into the deep connection forged between creative director Sarah Munro, filmmaker Alice Wesley-Smith and The Great Southern Reef, which also fuelled the inspiration for the brand’s latest OBSCURA collection

Captured by the duo over a number of ocean dives, with narration from Alice, the film brings awareness to some of the reef’s most vulnerable enclaves and inhabitants. Taking a more personal turn than previous chapters in the series, it’s an ode to their childhood spent swimming through kelp reefs searching for sea treasures; an adventurous upbringing which later inspired a mutual dedication to ocean conservation. 

Emerging along 8000 kilometres of Australia’s coastline, the lesser-known Great Southern Reef traverses three oceans, from the rugged shores of Western Australia to the pristine landscapes of northern New South Wales. This stretch of coastline serves as the beating heart of Australian coastal life, where a majority of the nation encounters the ocean.

Beneath the crashing waves, lush labyrinths of kelp forests are critical for producing carbon – the essential chemical component for all living organisms. Swaying hypnotically in the current, these submerged gardens are 20 times more efficient at creating carbon than trees on land. This creates nutrient-rich habitats for a plethora of endemic species to thrive, including the elusive Weedy Seadragon and Australian Fur Seals; creatures that cannot be found elsewhere on Earth.


Amidst this splendour, we face a convergence of threats. Ocean temperatures are rising dangerously across the Great Southern Reef, exceeding global averages by 3-4% in the southeast. Additionally, the pressures from commercial fishing and extractive industries are intensifying.

Compounding these issues is the limited marine sanctuary protection in the southeast and the complete lack of protection along a 1,000-kilometre stretch of the Great Southern Reef in Western Australia.

Now is a pivotal moment for rejuvenation. Through our Xanthe Project initiative, SARAH & SEBASTIAN supports the Australian Marine Conservation Society's work in protecting the Great Southern Reef and its endemic species. 

The first step in protecting this vast reef begins along the western coast, where The WA government has released draft plans for a new South Coast Marine Park. We need to protect this vital part of the Great Southern Reef and ensure that all vulnerable enclaves along the coastline benefit from its preservation. 

To our community, we ask you to add your name to the call for strong marine sanctuaries in the new South Coast Marine Park. Click here to protect The Great Southern Reef.


In the lead-up to World Ocean’s Day, SARAH & SEBASTIAN celebrated the debut of Now You See Me, The Great Southern Reef with a screening of the film at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Released as part of our ocean-inspired short film festival, the showcase brought together friends of the brand, key media partners, activists, and change makers from our Xanthe Project communities.

Presented alongside Now You See Me, Australian Sealions – the first chapter in the series that drives awareness around the falling populations of Australia’s only endemic marine mammal – the evening also featured a third film, Reviving Giants, captured by marine biologist and filmmaker Stefan Andrews from the Great Southern Reef Foundation. Re-iterating the plight of The Great Southern Reef, Stefan’s film shines a light on Tasmania’s kelp forests and their imminent threats.

Following the viewings, Head of Brand at SARAH & SEBASTIAN, Matthew Lennon, hosted a compelling panel discussion with Sarah, Alice, Stefan Andrews, Dr Scott Bennett from The Great Southern Reef Foundation and Adele Pedder, Protected Areas Manager at the Australian Marine Conservation Society. The discourse explored each of the panelists' personal connection to the Great Southern Reef as well as the range of threats that it currently faces. It concluded by discussing how creativity and visual mediums have the power to bring awareness to these pressing issues and become a catalyst for change. 


Now Your See Me, The Reef – A Short Film
Now You See Me, Australian Sea Lions – A Short Film
A Natural Connection: Collaborating With Artist Jessie French
10 Years of Sarah & Sebastian: In Conversation with Co-founders Sarah and Robert