Walking Under Water (2014)
UK/Poland/Germany, Documentary, 76 min.
Alexan, the last compressor diver on Mabul Island near Borneo, teaches 10-year-old Sari everything he knows, from dangerous fishing techniques and the temptations of the tourist economy to wisdom about the underwater world.
Walking Under Water presents the Badjao tribe’s ancient traditions and collective experience as a magical narrative, spinning the urgent pressures and problems they face into a hybrid of fantasy, fiction and fact. The Badjao people once lived like fish, spending the majority of their time on the water, but with the encroachment of modern civilization that way of life has become nearly extinct. Breathtaking underwater photography emphasizes this loss and the drought of enchantment on dry land. While Alexan refuses to accept that the world of his ancestors is gone, Sari is torn between his longing to be a fisherman like his uncle and the tug of the new world in the form of a nearby resort.
Director Eliza Kubarska
Producer Monika Braid
Cinematographer Piotr Rosolowski
Editor Bartosz Pietras
Braidmade Films, Kloos & Co., Vertical Vision Studio and EBH
Funding Polish Film Institute, ZDF/ARTE
The Special Jury Prize Hot Docs
Special Mention at PLANET DOC Review in Warsaw
Special Mention at Los Angeles Film Festival
Palm Springs IFF John Schlesinger Award
Visionary Award at IWFF in Montana
Honorable Mention at Cinema Planeta in Mexico
Documentary Award at Sarasota WWF
Italia Prize at the Gran Paradiso Film Festival
Human Doc Warsaw the Best Polish Film Award
Nominated to Doc Alliance Award