Open Water

Director: Chris Kentis
Screenwriters: Chris Kentis

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


Using the endless lapping waves of an infinite blue ocean as his canvas, writer/director/cinematographer Chris Kentis paints a terrifying portrait of primitive human fears and intimate survival in Open Water, the astonishing project washed up from the shores of the truly independent underground.

Based on the true story of two married scuba divers left behind by a careless boat crew, then speculating on the shark-infested journey that followed, this drama is so raw and chilling you may find yourself clinging to the festivalgoer next to you.

Featuring an unapologetically tight lens on the drifting couple, along with photography that uses no digital effects, the film's unique flow of time slows and bends as water and sky change color and mood around them. Actors Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis grip you with white-knuckled performances that stay true to the last surprising frames, leaving the audience to wonder in parallel play-along, "What would I do?"

In a culture obsessed with real-life pain and suffering, Open Water is fresh and original because it transcends a campfire story, leaving you with an all-too-realistic feeling of human fragility in the face of the natural world. You may never go swimming again; you've been warned.

— Joseph Beyer

Screening Details

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