FILMMAKER OLIVIA WYATT MAKES HER SXSW DEBUT WITH
SAILING A SINKING SEA
DOCUMENTARY EXPLORES THE CULTURE OF THE MOKENS,
“SEA GYPSIES” WHO SURVIVED THE 2004 INDIAN OCEAN EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI, BUT ARE NOW ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION
FILM WILL ALSO BE SCREENED AT CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL IN MAY
LOS ANGELES, CA – February 18, 2015 – Filmmaker Olivia Wyatt’s Sailing A Sinking Sea – a feature-length experimental documentary exploring the culture of the Moken people of Burma and Thailand, a small, seafaring nomadic community that survived the December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami – will have its world premiere at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival, held March 13-18 in Austin, TX. Like many of Wyatt’s earlier films, Sailing A Sinking Sea documents an indigenous community on the brink of extinction. The trailer for Sailing A Sinking Sea can be viewed HERE. The film is presented by RYOT Films in association with Jefferson Holt’s Daniel 13 Productions.
SXSW screenings of Sailing A Sinking Sea are as follows:
Saturday March 14th 6:00-7:04 pm @ Violet Crown Cinema
Sunday March 15th 1:30-2:34 pm @ Marchesa
Thursday March 19th 9:30-10:34 pm @ Violet Crown Cinema
“I first read about the Moken in 2004. The earthquake and tsunami took everyone in the region by surprise, yet the Moken survived due to their mythology, their ancestral wisdom, their shaman’s dreams, their symbiosis with nature and their ancient songs,” says Olivia Wyatt. “I thought it was so beautiful that one of the smallest ethnic communities in that region had such an innate knowledge of surviving an upset sea.”
As she continued to follow news concerning the Moken, Wyatt was disturbed to learn that their way of life was being threatened by a combination of political, economic and environmental factors.
“Their communities were becoming government-endorsed tourist attractions, and the governments were also controlling how often they fished and how much they made from selling their fish. I discovered that many of them were no longer nomadic and that many Moken were dying,” she explains. “It saddened my heart to read all of this. I decided I wanted to make a documentary capturing the traditions, life-saving stories, mythology and songs that were disappearing.”
Through intimate and dynamic cinematography and audio recordings, Sailing a Sinking Sea weaves a visual and aural tapestry of Moken mythologies and present-day practices.
In the spring of 2013 – after Wyatt herself had lost almost everything in Hurricane Sandy – the filmmaker traveled to Asia and immersed herself in the Moken culture, staying with 13 different communities. She interviewed village elders, mothers, lovers and teenagers about their lives and their mythology and recorded as much Moken music as possible.
“I create films in a non-traditional way because I want the viewer to feel as though they are an active participant in the community being documented,” says Wyatt. “I want to eliminate the separation that a screen and voiceover often create, and feel that this further connects the viewer on a more empathetic level to these communities.”
Sailing A Sinking Sea will also be screened at the 22nd Chicago Underground Film Festival, held May 13-17 at the Logan Theater in Chicago.
About Olivia Wyatt
Olivia Wyatt has directed, produced, and edited two feature-length documentaries released by Sublime Frequencies – Staring Into the Sun, shot in the tribal regions of Ethiopia, and The Pierced Heart & the Machete, documenting two annual Voodoo pilgrimages in Haiti. Her work has premiered at Maysles Cinema, Tribeca 92Y, Anthology Film Archives, BAM, The Milano Film Festival and The Barbican Museum. She has also produced content for National Geographic, VICE, SPIN, Slate and Magnum Photos.
About RYOT Films
RYOT Films creates documentaries, web content and narrative feature films about the most important issues of our time.
About Daniel 13
Founded by Jefferson Holt, former manager of rock band R.E.M., Daniel 13 functions as an eclectic, modern-day hybrid between a book publisher, record label and movie production company. At the heart of every project that Daniel 13 takes on is an unfailing support for the artist’s vision and a commitment to seeing it properly executed. Daniel 13 is based in Carrboro, NC.
All pertinent links:
View Sailing A Sinking Sea trailer HERE
Visit RYOT Films HERE
Visit Daniel 13 Productions HERE