|HAENYEO: WOMEN OF THE SEA|
|Cast: ||Chuwar Park|
|Crew: ||Cinematographer: Kevin Sawicki - Editor: Megan Pollin - Composer: John Avarese
Haenyeo refers to the women free-divers of Jeju Island, South Korea who for centuries have collected sea food without the use of scuba equipment. This short documentary provides a portrait of Chuwar Park, a still active and unbelievably vibrant 82-year-old diver. Examining her daily routine as well as her past, Park sheds light on this unique matriarchal culture that has changed little since the 19th century.
Alex Vartan Igidbashian is a native of Philadephia who has been working in the photography and video medium since his early teens. Alex's passion for taking pictures met his love for writing when he decided to study Film / Video and Screenwriting at Drexel University. His portfolio is comprised of photos take around the world, as well as extensive video projects in Los Angeles, student and independent narrative films, and documentaries.
Alex's specialties during film production include directing, camera operating, but most specifically, production sound. Along with his work as a producer, and director, Alex will be responsible for all of the production sound during the filming of Haenyeo. Despite his love of images, he maintains that sound is actually more important than visuals in terms of immersing the audience in the world of the film. In times of need while on Jeju Island, Alex will assume the role of B Cam Operator and throughout the duration of the project will use his photography to document both the divers and the filmmakers throughout the journey. In post production Alex and Kevin will spearhead the editing of the project while also working closely with Megan Pollin, an editor at Drexel University. After the project is complete Alex will be active in festival submissions, scheduling screenings, and pursuing subsequent funding for future trips to the island to make a feature length documentary.
Kevin Sawicki is a filmmaker based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is currently as senior at Drexel University and is focusing his studies on cinematography and documentary filmmaking. His mother is Korean, and father is American. Throughout the 70s and 80s, his parents frequented Jeju-do and often interacted with the Haenyeo. Growing up, Kevin saw pictures and was told stories about the Haenyeo divers. When he was 16, his father passed down his hobby of scuba diving and took him to get his dive certification. After taking his first breath underwater, Kevin knew he wanted to dive for the rest of his life.
About a year ago, Kevin was looking through a photo album with pictures of his grandparents and parents visiting Jeju-do and was struck with the dream of diving with the Haenyeo, just as his father did. Over the last year, Kevin has been slowly planning his trip to Jeju-do. At first, Kevin planned to start the project after he graduated and logistically speaking, it was hard for him to pull the resources together to make it possible. Kevin brought up the project with his film professor and mentor, Gerry Hooper, and Gerry was immediately captivated by the concept. From there, Kevin pitched the idea to Alex, who eagerly agreed to co-produce / do production sound. A couple weeks later, Gerry introduced Kevin and Alex to Daye Jeong, who, being from Seoul took an immediate interest in the project and agreed to join the team as a producer, guide and translator.
Kevin serves as a vital role to the Haenyeo team as a camera operator, both on land and underwater, producer, and will oversee the project throughout post-production; including editing, premiere, festival submissions, and funding and shooting for a subsequent film to complete a feature length film.
Women of the Sea is a portrait of Chuwar Park, a still active and unbelievably vibrant 82-year-old Haenyeo diver. Haenyeo refers to the women free-divers of Jeju Island, South Korea who for centuries have collected seaweed, conch, abalone and other sea creatures without the use of scuba equipment. Examining Park’s daily routine, as well as her past, the documentary sheds light on a unique matriarchal culture that has changed little since the 19th century.Kevin Sawicki, Alex Igidbashian, and Daye Jeong are recent graduates from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where Haenyeo: Women of the Sea served as their thesis project. With each member of the team bringing. With limited time and budget, each member of the team played a unique yet essential role during production, allowing the small crew to shoot the documentary in under 18 days.