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. Badjao always survived from fishing, but now they cannot compete with big fishing vessels so to fish more effectively, they use the most dangerous methods as compressor diving. A compressor diver dives down to 30 meters, only with a rubber pipe in his mouth and Oxygen provided from a boat above, supported by usually poorly working engine. Unaware of decompression sickness they believe that pain is caused by evil spirits who, if offended, can harm or make them die. This is a story about a 10 years old boy Sari who wants to learn how to be a compressor diver. Through this personal story we present the dramatically changing landscape of the paradise islands and its people in Borneo.

Director: Eliza Kubarska
Camera: Piotr Rosołowski
Underwater Photographer: Lisa Strohmayer
Editing: Bartosz Pietras, PSM
Sound: Franciszek Kozłowski
Producer: Monika Braid
Co-Producer: Stefan Kloos, Maciej Ostoja – Chyżyński, Filip Kovčin, Eliza Kubarska
Production Assistant: Sonia Mazurek
Music: Michał Jacaszek
Sound Design: Franciszek Kozlowski
Colour-Grading: Przemek Niedzwiecki
Badjao Guide: Naser Bin Abtahi
Grafic: Agnieszka Nieroda
Production: Braidmade Films
Co-Production: Kloos & Co. Medien Berlin & Vertical Visions
With the support of: Polish Film Institute, East European Forum 2012, EDN Docs in Thessaloniki 2012, Documentary Campus Crossing Borders 2012
Commissioning Editor ZDF/ARTE: Ann-Christin Hornberger

AWARDS (Selection):
Hot Docs
Special Jury Prize


Planete Doc Review
Honorable Mention


Palm Springs International Film Festival
John Schlesinger Award 


FESTIVALS (Selection)
Hot Docs
DOK Leipzig
Festival dei Popoli
Jihlava Documentary Film Festival
Los Angeles Film Festival
Zurich Film Festival
Vancouver International Film Festival
Planete Doc Review
Traverse City
Lemesos International Flm Festival
Rio Film Festilval
Camden International Flm Festival
Reykjavik International Flm Festival
DHFest Mexico
BFI London
Margaret Mead Film Festival
Rio de Janeiro International Flm Festival
Palm Springs International Flm Festival
DocPoint Helsinki
Spokane Film Festival
Sedona Film Festival
One World Prague
Salem Film Festival
Greentopia Film
Pecheur du monde
Ecofalante Environmental Film Festival
Millenium Film Festival
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival
Cinema Planeta
Sarasota Film Festival
Visions Du Réel
Wildlife Film Festival
DokuMa Hungary
Pelicam Film Festival
Bled Film Festival
Pärnu Film Festival
Green Film Festival Argentina
Gran Paradiso Film Festival
Green Screen
Silk Road Film Festival
Anûu-rû Aboro
Doc Lisbao
Ecrans Documentaire


Documentary, Poland/Germany/England 2014 (77 min.)


Director: Eliza Kubarska
Production: Braidmade Films
Co-Production: Kloos & Co. GmbH Berlin & Vertical Visions
World Sales: Rise and Shine World Sales