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Scuba Snacks: Actor Daniel Travis Shares Memories from ‘Open Water’

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A still from ‘Open Water’

Daniel Travis

Actor and cool-guy Daniel Travis starred alongside Blanchard Ryan in Open Water—a monster hit from the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. He lives in Los Angeles and was tracked down by the Sundance.org team to help us celebrate SHARK WEEK. You can watch Open Water right now on iTunes (just don’t watch it alone).


Have you gone swimming with sharks since you made Open Water?

I’ve been diving when sharks were around since shooting the film but nothing like the numbers we had while we made Open Water. Lately it’s just been Hollywood sharks.

What was the worst thing about making a film in the water?

I actually really enjoyed most of it, but no matter how warm the water is, after you have been in it for a long time, you get really cold. We’d often stay in the water during a break, as it was more work to get in and out with all the gear on. Lots of soggy lunches.

Is Open Water the scariest shark movie ever?

I dont think anyone can touch Jaws, but I like to think we surprised some people. I will have friends tell me, after they have returned from a dive trip, that some of the dive companies have all these new rules for safety as a result of the film. So perhaps we helped some people as well.

What was the coolest thing about premiering the film at Sundance?

My entire experience at Sundance was the pinnacle of what had already been a great ride with Open Water. I think it was the first film purchased that year and having the opportunity to rub elbows with amazing artists in that beautiful setting with my family there was phenomenal. The entire process of making that film and on through to Sundance was an experience that (even in the moment) I knew would be hard to top, I am still trying.

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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

In Memoriam: Diane Weyermann (1955–2021)

A singular force within the documentary film world with a global reach, Diane Weyermann passed away at age 66 after battling cancer. Over the course of her 30-year career as a funder and an executive, her work elevated the documentary form and expanded its cultural impact.

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