The director’s tale

Directing underwater

The director in her “office”

Eliza Kubarska, our director is a person of many passions. As an adventure filmmaker and a professional climber she went to Borneo in search of new film material and climbing challenges. Surprisingly instead of finding a new wall to scale, she found a new passion: scuba-diving.

But not everything in Borneo was so enchanting as its underwater world. When she arrived at the coastal towns in the Malaysian part of Borneo, she was struck by the overwhelming contrast surrounding the place. On the one hand she was faced with tropical islands and turquoise seas – some of the most beautiful natural features in the world; on the other hand she was confronted with the filthy slums of the town, drowning in garbage and overrun with rats. Luxurious tourist resorts juxtaposing the sprawling stilt villages over the water on the outskirts of the town. As you may be guessing by now, the residents of the villages over the water were nobody else but the Badjao.

It wasn’t Eliza’s original plan to meet the Badjao… yet one day she met Alexan and his family. They spent the next two weeks together on the sea between the islands. She shared their meals, ate their food with hands and began to learn how to free-dive.

Eliza for the first time felt like she was really a part of nature, yet she didn’t want to keep the Badjao just for herself, and this is when she decided that she wanted to make a film about these exceptional people – to share the story of the Borneo Sea Nomads with the rest of the world.