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9th International underwater film and photo festival "Walking beneath the Sea"

International Festival of Underwater Film and Photography Walking under the Sea, the name of the festival was loaned by prof. Dusan Kuscer and Marjan Richter, two pioneers in the exploration of the underwater world, completed the elementary school, which lasted nine years. The path we have taken is self-contained, such as the path of the internationally established symposium Diving AST, which brought the world´s largest stars of diving into the small valley under the slopes of Pohorje.
The festival finally settled in Slovenske Konjice, a city with an 850-year-old city center and the nearby Zice Carthusian monastery. The town is famous for its excellent wine, coming from the vineyards and wine cellar Zlati Gric, which together with diligent people, rounds the image of a small village with a rich history and interesting stories. One of these stories is certainly the Festival of Underwater Film and Photography Walking under the Sea, which differs from classical festivals because it still defies commercialization and brings only the essence of the art of selected authors, who attended the festival mostly at the invitation of the organizers. Themes presented at the festival are intertwined with underwater films, children´s drawing, music, underwater photography and fine culinary delights from the outskirts of Pohorje.
The festival was not conceived as a golden cave with hidden treasures and as such it does not bring money, which some would like to see and convert the festival´s policy in this direction, but its mission is that there are always old friends here and that new friendship is born on the scene. It is a window into the world that helps us to show to the foreigners what we can do and what we as a team are capable of. That´s why the festival does not have classic sponsors, but patrons. Their support is unconditional, and in that way, they leave an immense amount of freedom to all who make up this story, for which we are extremely grateful.
Walking under the Sea in its 9th edition in Slovenske Konjice hosted great names of diving, underwater film and underwater photography in the three festival days, from 26th to 28th January 2017.
On Thursday and Friday, pupils, students, pensioners, and schoolchildren with an adapted program and residents from work and care centres of Slovenske Konjice, Zrece, Slovenska Bistrica, Zgornja and Spodnja Polskava, Tinj, Smartno na Pohorju, Laporje and from Cresnjevec.
Friday evening began with the opening of the exhibition of the underwater photography of  Adinde van der Hoek and of Danijel Frka and the exhibition of the winners of the international art competition Walking under the sea as well. Competition among participants is more severe each year since the art competition has spread from Slovenia to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to Serbia and Montenegro. Then the second peak of the evening followed. A concert of highly valued and sought after French musicians: accordionist Ludovic Beier, guitarist Doudou Cuillerier and contrabassist Philippe Lebel. This year young musicians from the music school of Slovenske Konjice together with Vito and Dasa Bejat-Krajnc joined them on stage for the first time. With the appearance at the concert, young musicians gained new experiences, which will surely benefit them later in their musical career.
Saturday afternoon was dedicated to more professional content. In the course of four lectures under the joint title Diving AST, we have become immersed in the secrets of the Adriatic Sea (Daniel Frka: The Secrets of the Adriatic), the importance of the marine biodiversity (Daniel Rodriguez and Monica Gonzales: The Sea of Life), we could get to the point of the immersed German fleet in the film Scapa Flow (Edward E. Roberts Scapa Scuba, Stromness, Orkney Islands) and the exploring of Mescla cave which is located over the city of Nice (Frederic Swierczynski: The Water Under the Mountain).
The Grand Prix evening on Saturday brought exceptional underwater journeys into the world of biology, geography, history, and ecology. In the hall was an unforgettable crowd of visitors. The guests of the festival briefly presented their underwater adventures. At the end of the evening, Peter Majcen - LG joined them. A man who, despite his disability, traveled a large part of the world as a traveler and a disabled diver, this time, together with his diving equipment, and his indispensable companion went to another part of the world, to French Polynesia and back. He introduced the event with the interesting short film, under the title: With crutches to the other end of the world and back.

The award for the most beautiful drawing of the international art competition was received by Ksenija Belada from Montenegro. Grand Prix award of the 9th International underwater film and photo festival Walking beneath the Sea, landed in the hands of Daniel Rodriguez and Monica Gonzales for the movie Sea of Life.
We would like to thank the moderators of the festival (Brane Roncel, Nina Pufic, Luka Bregar, Neven Lukas) and all those who, with their work and unselfish support, helped to organize and perform the festival. Without you, ours and yours Walking under the Sea would never have been born and could never breathe with his own lungs.
Short presentation of the guests:
Frederic Swierczynski, a Frenchman, considered as one of the top ten cave divers in the world. He lives in Marseille, he is an engineer, a trimix instructor, a cave diving and a rebreather instructor. In Europe, fewer than ten people are practicing this sport from another galaxy, which explores the last untapped fragments of our Planet. These people are half speleologists, half divers and they count themselves into the group of speleo-nauts. Swierczynski says this is an amphibious version of a speleologist, one day a diver, and the other day a speleologist or both on the same day. Among his greatest achievements and successes is an exploration of the cave Mescla which is located above the town Nice, whose depth should be 500 meters. He owns the French record in cave diving, which is -267 meters. Swierczynski can rightfully consider the dive, which together lasted a whole 27 hours, as one of the surpluses of his speleo-nautic career. The dive was successfully completed during the exploration of the Font del Truffe cave, known for its numerous siphons.
Ludovic Beier, another Frenchman, grew up in a musical family, he learned to play the accordion with the help of his father. He grew up with French traditional music, but years ago, the music stream flushed him into calm waters of the Jazz. His musical style inspired and bold, often enters to the non-traditional paths, sides of the way and floats in unusual music tracks. Undoubtedly, he gave the accordion playing a new name and meaning, as his fingers are sticking with the keys with incredible ease and speed. In addition to virtuoso playing, he is also an arranger and composer and has his own band called Ludovic Beier Quartet, with which he plays cool and latin French jazz. In addition to playing at Europe´s most famous festivals and in very famous clubs, he also performed in the US in the band Django Reinhardt Project and also played at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. He plays with some of the best DJango / swing jazz performers, such as Angelo Debarre, Dorado Schmitt and Florio Nieculescu. He also had the honour of entering the Carnegie Hall with Toots Thielemans, along with prestigious names such as Herbie Hancock, Ivan Lins and Eliane Elias.
Adindi van der Hoek, the Dutch with the artistic name Dindi, with her performance underwater photography, focuses on the disparity and balance of the female soul, with an emphasis on the former image of the mother and woman. Reflection, distortion, and movement of water are important elements in its visual language. The contradiction is an integral part of every photo. Although the models in the photos look like Elves the story takes us in the fantasy world, full of frustration and destruction. The spectator is confronted with photographs that are intimate and display an internal clash of various selves. Dindi also creates costumes and other gadgets used in her photos, which allows her to control her own work at every step. So far she has exhibited in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, The Hague ...), Germany (Berlin, Hamburg ...), Belgium (Brussels), France (Carrousel de Louvre in Paris), Great Britain (London), USA (New York, Los Angeles) in Japan (Tokyo) and elsewhere.
Danijel Frka, a Croat, which belongs to an older generation of underwater photographers. His first experiments and engaging in underwater photography dates back to 1978 when he made the first photographs with Kodak Instamatic in the Mares underwater housing. In all decades, his photography has been following trends, and today Danijel, with the use of cutting-edge digital equipment, delights fans of underwater photography with his works also outside of the Adriatic region.
In addition to the underwater photography, his passion and love is also the exploration of sunken ships and their related history. He was among the initiators of many projects such as the shipwrecks on the island of Vis and Szent Istvan. He is a co-author of the documentary series The Big Adriatic Shipwrecks and co-author of the Book The Secrets of the Adriatic, which was translated into six languages. He is a contributor to the National Geographic Croatia and to the British magazine Diver. In Croatian Diving Federation, he is responsible for underwater photography.
Ellis Roberts, An Englishman who represents a young generation of photographers and cameramen. Work in the diving industry led him to many locations where he was impressed with animals, the camera, and education. In doing his job, he cooperated with the BBC and the Discovery Channel.
Daniel Rodriguez, from Spain, is an underwater cameraman and a diving instructor who has received several national and international awards for underwater photography. His compatriot Mónica González is a journalist who worked for various television and radio companies. She is a scriptwriter and director of the SeaWay TV series. The series features 13 episodes that were filmed on all over the world. Sea of Life is a documentary that forces the spectator to think about the importance of marine life on Earth and urges him to respect the various ecosystems.
Foto: Miha Matavz

Festival Walking under the Sea in the media:
TV SLO, oddaja Po Sloveniji, 30. 1. 2017

9. Sprehodi pod morjem 2017 na TV SLO, Regionalni center Maribor





Production & design: Creativ, Novi mediji d.o.o.