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REVIEW: Diving Into The Darkness sets new standards for dive documentaries


Diving Into The Darkness

When I first heard about Diving Into The Darkness, I was very much looking forward to seeing it for myself, especially as it centres on my friend and diving legend Jill Heinerth. Her story has long deserved showcasing, and now I have had the opportunity to view it first-hand, I can confirm that film-maker Nays Baghai has outdone himself with the final documentary – it truly does deserve all of the accolades it has already received in the short time it has been on release.

The film has already won Best Documentary Feature award at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and Outstanding Excellence award at the Documentaries Without Borders event.

One of the world’s greatest living cave-divers, Canadian explorer Heinerth has been involved in some of the most-demanding and celebrated expeditions, from surveying the world’s longest caves in Mexico to discovering giant iceberg caves in Antarctica.

Diving into the Darkness

Juxtaposed with some of these epic dives, which are depicted with clips and archive still shots, the 96-minute documentary includes intimate interviews and animated flashbacks to Heinerth’s younger years, helping to explain her motivation for taking part in such extreme challenges.

More than 100 of her friends have died in the depths, but she maintains that each adventure brings her a step closer to becoming the woman she wished she had met as a child.

I have always believed there are two kinds of diver – those who love cave diving, and those who don't – and I fall firmly in the latter category. There has always been something about caves that gives me ‘the willies', and Diving Into The Darkness has done nothing to change my mind!

Diving Into The Darkness

Seeing amazing footage of Jill effortlessly gliding through cave systems adorned with stalactites, stalagmites and other topographical oddities, in spectacularly clear visibility, I have to say I was starting to be tempted just the tiniest amount.

But then other segments – particularly a harrowing lost-in-a-cave moment filmed exceptionally well by Nays and the team (you know full well it is a recreation of the incident in question, but it is so well shot that your heart starts racing as you get caught up in the situation) – rein in my momentary madness and I am back in the ‘I'll stick to wrecks, walls and reefs' category of diver!

Jill Heinerth is a captivating speaker if you are lucky enough to catch her on stage, and her charisma and personality burst forth from the film much like she was sitting right in front of you. This is complemented by the shooting skills of Nays Baghai, who certainly knows how to capture epic scenes on camera. This is by far one of the best documentaries focusing on diving I have seen in many years.

Diving into the Darkness
Join the Scuba Diver team for this special virtual showing of Diving into the Darkness

Special virtual screening – Diving Into The Darkness

Now you can see Diving Into The Darkness for yourself! Join the Scuba Diver team from this Sunday (9 June) for one of the first opportunities to view the award-winning Diving into the Darkness.

Pre-order your virtual ticket for just $10 and be ready to tune in from 9-15 June to stream this amazing film. Your virtual ticket includes unlimited repeat viewing of the film during this timeframe (non-shareable or transferable) and as an extra-special treat, you will receive an invite and link to join Jill and director Nays in a virtual Q&A on 15 June.

Join the Scuba Diver team for this special virtual screening
GO Diving Show ANZ

GO Diving Show ANZ

For those who are going to be near Sydney, Australia, over the weekend of 28-29 September, the inaugural GO Diving Show ANZ is taking place, and Jill is one of the Main Stage speakers.

There will be an exclusive showing of Diving Into The Darkness on the giant screen on the Main Stage to kick off the show on the Saturday morning, and Nays will be on the ANZ / Inspiration Stage as well.

Entry to the GO Diving Show ANZ is completely free – register here to get your tickets for what is undoubtedly the diving event of 2024 in Australia. There is plenty of parking on-site and the venue is easy to get to with plenty of transport options, so get the dates in your diary now and prepare for an epic weekend celebrating all forms of diving.

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Picture of Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editorial Director Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. nearly 40-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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