Press Release: Eliza Kubarska’s WALKING UNDER WATER at 2014 Margaret Mead Festival

American Museum of Natural History,

the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland
and the Polish Cultural Institute New York


directed by Eliza Kubarska
at the 38th Margaret Mead Festival
New York Premiere

American Museum of Natural History, New York, Oct 25, 2014 


New York, October  10, 2014 – The Polish Cultural Institute New York, in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History  and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland  is proud to support WALKING UNDER WATER, directed by Polish alpinist and traveler Eliza Kubarska at the 38th Margaret Mead Festival (October 23-26), the preeminent showcase for contemporary cultural storytelling and lineup of international documentary films.


The film will have its New York premiere on October 25 at the Linder Theater and there will be a Q&A with producer Monika Braid after the screening.


The film is a journey from a fairy tale-like world of the simple people that believe in magic to the end of that world – where floating rubbish is left in place of lively colonies. – Eliza Kubarska


On Mabul Island near Borneo, Alexan, the last practitioner of a traditional, makeshift diving method called compressor diving, teaches his nephew, 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 people’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 once lived like fish, spending the majority of their time in 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.


Eliza Kubarska specializes in adventure filmmaking and extreme location work. She is a Polish alpinist and traveler. In 2010 she made her first feature documentary What Happened on Pam Island (aka Mountain Love Story), that won many prestigious awards. Apart from Walking Under Water, she has recently directed another documentary titled The Baltoro Passage, which is currently in post-production.


Monika Braid is an independent film producer, who works on fiction and documentary films with international production companies and broadcasters.


Production: Braidmade Films (UK); Co-production: Kloos&Co (Germany), Vertical Vision Film Studio and EBH (Poland); Funding: Polish Film Institute, ZDF/ARTE;  76 min.; Written and directed by Eliza Kubarska; Camera Piotr Rosołowski; Underwater camera Lisa Strohmayer.


On the same day, Adam Zucker’s  documentary THE RETURN will have its US premiere at the Festival at the Kaufmann Theater. The film explores the identity struggle of four young Polish women who were raised Catholic and later discovered they were in fact Jewish.


What did grab me were the young Polish Jews I met. I consistently heard remarkable stories by people who only found out in their teens they were Jewish, and felt a tremendous pull to that buried heritage—yet had no idea how to access that world, how to observe rituals and what it all means. – Adam Zucker


Adam Zucker (Director / Producer / Editor) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor. His previous films include Greensboro: Closer to the Truth, which screened at over 30 festivals in the U.S. and abroad, and was shown at dozens of  universities and community settings, including the United Nations and Lincoln Center in New York. The film received the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Rome International Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Dead Center Film Festival. He also produced and directed the third episode of the Emmy award winning Free to Dance (PBS). Zucker has received grants from the Sundance Documentary Fund, New York State Council on the Arts and the Southern Humanities Media Fund.


The filmmaker will be in attendance at the screening for Q&A.



Polish Cultural Institute New York: Marzena Dawidziuk,, 212-239-7300 x 3009, Magdalena Mazurek-Nuovo, , 212-239-7300 x 3006


WHAT: WALKING UNDER WATER, dir. Eliza Kubarska with producer Monika Braid in attendance
WHEN:  Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 5pm
WHERE: Linder Theater, American Museum of National History
Central Park W & 79th St, New York, NY 10024, (212) 769-5100
WHAT:  THE RETURN, dir. Adam Zucker with Director Adam Zucker in attendance
WHEN:  Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 7pm
WHERE:  Kaufmann Theater, American Museum of National History
TICKETS:  Tickets: $12 General / $10 Members, Students, Senior Citizens
Opening Night and Closing Night: $15 ($13 Members, Students, Seniors)
tel: 212.769.5200 or online
Subway:  Rose Center Entrance (81st St. between C.P.W. and Columbus Ave.): B (weekdays only) or C to 81st Street; Bus: The M79 bus (travels east/west on W. 79th Street across Central Park, with a stop next to the Museum on W. 81st Street). M7, M10, M11, M86 and M104;
THE POLISH CULTURAL INSTITUTE NEW YORK, The Polish Cultural Institute New York, established in 2000, is a diplomatic mission to the United States serving under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

The Institute’s mission is to build, nurture, and promote cultural exchange between the United States and Poland by presenting Polish culture to American audiences and by connecting Polish artists, researchers and scholars from various fields to American institutions, introducing them to their professional counterparts in the United States, and facilitating their participation in contemporary American culture.

The Institute produces and promotes a broad range of cultural events in theater, performance, dance, music, film, visual arts,  literature, and the humanities. Among its past and present American partners are such distinguished organizations as Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Museum of Modern Art, the Jewish Museum, PEN American Center, the Poetry Society of America, YIVO, the National Gallery of Art, Yale University, 92nd Street Y, Columbia University, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Princeton University, the Harvard Film Archive, the CUNY Graduate Center, the Julliard School of Music, Film Forum, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Morgan Library & Museum, Anthology Film Archives, The Santa Fe Opera, the New Museum, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club,  Symphony Space, the New York Public Library, the Cinefamily,  the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Kennedy Center, and many more.

Our programs have included American presentations of works by such a wide range of distinguished artists, including filmmakers Agnieszka Holland, Roman Polański, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, Jerzy Skolimowski, Małgorzata Szumowska and Andrzej Żuławski;  poets and authors Wisława Szymborska,  Czesław Miłosz, Adam Zagajewski, Zbigniew Herbert, Tadeusz Różewicz, Ryszard Kapuściński,  Stanisław Lem, Witold Gombrowicz and Bruno Schulz; composers Fryderyk Chopin, Karol Szymanowski, Mieczysław Weinberg, Andrzej Panufnik, Witold Lutosławski,  Mikołaj Górecki, Krzysztof Penderecki andPaweł Mykietyn; theater directors Tadeusz Kantor, Jerzy Grotowski, Krystian Lupa, Grzegorz Jarzyna and Krzysztof Warlikowski; visual artists Alina Szapocznikow, Mirosław Bałka, Katarzyna Kozyra,  Paweł Althamer, Edward Krasiński,  Zofia Kulik, Józef Robakowski, Zbigniew Libera, Krzysztof Wodiczko and Magdalena Abakanowicz; and many other Polish researchers and scholars,  public intellectuals, and social and cultural activists.

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition.

The Museum is renowned for its exhibitions and scientific collections, which serve as a field guide to the entire planet and present a panorama of the world’s cultures.

The 2014 Margaret Mead Film Festival will present outstanding films culled from hundreds of submissions. Featuring a broad spectrum of creative storytelling—including indigenous community media, performances, and multi-media events—the Mead Film Festival celebrates the diversity of peoples and cultures from around the world and offers intimate forums for discussion with filmmakers, film subjects, and world-renowned scholars.

Inspired by the immersive, transporting power of film and the Museum’s exhibitions and programs, the Mead Festival will also feature live performances and participatory conversations for a uniquely contemporary experience.

The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York is a consular mission of the Republic of Poland in the United States of America. The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York serves public within its jurisdiction which comprises of 11 north-eastern states, including: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Delaware.


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