Definition September 2023 - Web


THE PRODUCTION CALLED ON specialist diver- cinematographers TO HELP REALISE THE VISION”

emergency CPR), safety concerns were ever-present during filming. However, despite the sense of looming disaster in the finished documentary, Florian Fischer stresses none of the characters were in any kind of peril during shooting. “This was the least dangerous shoot I’ve done because everybody doing something in the water was a super professional: a freediving instructor or a seasoned, well-trained freediver,” he stresses. “Mostly, it was quite shallow water, except for the shoot with Alessia in the cenotes. But Alessia is the world champion, so that’s not dangerous for her – and I was on scuba, so that’s not dangerous for me.” Fischer does concede that one challenge was presented during the filming of a scene towards the end of the documentary, which shows Alessia swimming up towards the surface, basked in light beams in a Mexican cenote. “At 35 metres, there is a poisonous sulphur fog – Alessia is shown swimming out of this fog and up

we all cried,” he recalls. “You’re in the room with people baring their souls – and we’re very close to them. That’s important in a documentary because it’s real people. While we are creating cinematic production value, we have to allow an environment for the emotion to come out. When I look back at the film, I felt I was restricted in terms of the locations and what we had in support, but the real strength was the platform for the characters to open up.” “The documentary wasn’t so much about the visual steer,” he concludes. “It was more about making sure everybody felt comfortable. Sometimes as DOP, you have to sit back and realise ‘I don’t have to stop because the sun’s changed and messed everything up’ as this is an emotional thing they’ve seen and that is more important. What we did with Alessia’s father was so beautiful. His wife had died a week before, so he was very brittle and he really opened up. When I see anything with him in it, I can still feel the connection. It was powerful.”

towards the surface without fins and without a mask. She had to close her eyes, and she didn’t know if she was submersed in the fog or not, so I had to make a noise with my throat that she could hear,” he shares. “At that point, she had negative weight, so she could sink, meaning she had to swim 35 metres to the surface. She ended up repeating the stunt twice without returning to the surface, which took maybe five minutes altogether. And she did this while performing very physical exercise – incredible!” THE HEART OF THE STORY The spectacle of the dives draws viewers in, but what sets this film apart is the emotional journey of its cast. The human story at the heart of the film – and its devastating conclusion – is portrayed with unflinching intensity, and it’s this which Cragg feels most proud of. “This was an extremely emotional film to work on – in every single interview,



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