Filmmaker Q&A: Amanda Bluglass

Thursday, March 8th, 6 pm - Ray: A Life Underwater

Ray-IvesA tale of adventure, treasure and deep sea diving: Ray: A Life Underwater is the remarkable story of a 75 year old commercial diver and his hoard of artifacts. A rogue with an eye for salvage - and the ladies - Ray reflects on his time spent under the sea and his secret to a long and happy life.

What was your inspiration for creating the film? I was lucky enough to be approached by the owner of the boatyard where Ray keeps his artifacts, who suggested I make the film. When Ray opened up his museum and I saw his collection of bottles, portholes guns, swords, and a canon I knew I'd stumbled on a fantastic story. Ray is a well-known and well-loved character in Plymouth, UK, who is very modest about his life. But he's among those pioneers of saturation diving in the North Sea in the 1960s and 70s who helped develop techniques to enable divers to work harder and longer on the seabed, often under extremely dangerous conditions.  He's a naturally optimistic and gregarious person who's had a happy and adventurous life, and his open-heartedness seems to have touched thousands of people online who've watched and enjoyed the film.

Ray coinsWhat was the most challenging part of creating the film? Stretching a very tight budget whilst dealing with changing weather conditions, in order to judge when to commit to helicopter and dive shoots. Re-takes were not an option!

What do you want to impart to your film's viewers? I'd like viewers to be inspired by the example of a extraordinary man, be touched by his optimism and sense of adventure, laugh with him and be visually amazed by the beauty of his collection. At heart, this is a big life-affirming story told in a quiet and intimate way.

What was the most enjoyable part of creating the film? Filming Ray out at sea from a helicopter and flying over the stunning coastline of Plymouth Sound in Devon, UK.

Who or what is your inspiration? Currently, German filmmakers like Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer. They’ve just made a jaw-dropping documentary, “Kinshasa Symphony” which had me laughing, crying, inspired and astonished.

How or why did you begin creating ocean-focused films? It came about by chance, I was asked to make the film.

Why did you choose to submit your film to the SFOFF? I was asked by the film committee to submit.

Is this your first time participating in an ocean-focused film festival? Yes

What was the most memorable moment in creating the film? Watching 75-year-old Ray get kitted up in his 1900s Siebe Gorman hand-pumped diving suit and jumping into the water. It was a moment I will never forget.