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2015 LIDA Film Festival

Presenter Bios

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Leandro Blanco

Leandro BlancoLeandro Blanco is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker with a background in music composition, recording and production. His passion for nature and underwater imaging combined with his film editing and compositing techniques distinguish his work.

Blanco is one of the most celebrated underwater music filmmaker in the industry. In 1993 he was named video filmmaker of the year by the BBC wildlife magazine for his documentary skills in the video "There's a place."

In 2002, for the first time in the history of the Antibes film festival, the judges grant him a special prize for his three videos: "Ocean chronicles", "Shame on you" and “With the flow" for his creative expression and his commitment to the protection of the environment. He is also the only filmmaker that has won this prestigious film festival during 10 consecutive years, in different categories.

In 2004 he was named diver of the year at Beneath the Sea (USA) for his contribution to the art of filmmaking. He is also an honorary member of The Royal Photographic Society (UK) and the Ocean Artist Society (USA).

Leandro Blanco is currently working with The National Geographic Society on the Pristine Oceans project.

Presenting: "Ocean Chronicles from PNG"

Ocean Chronicles from Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a personal diary of images and stories from behind the scenes while on assignment for National Geographic magazine with David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes.

See more of Leandro's work at:


Paul Cater Deaton

Paul Cater DeatonShooting on six continents over the past 35 years, Paul Cater Deaton (PCD) has become an award-winning Writer, Producer, Director and Cinematographer, based in the Virgin Islands.

PCD engages in productions ranging from commercials, music videos and documentaries to TV programs and full-length motion pictures. His work has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, BBC, MTV, CMT, HBO, VH1, ESPN, Fox, Animal Planet, HBO Documentaries, Nickelodeon, Showtime, TV2 Caribbean, Austin Music Network, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Tri-Star, Veronica Broadcasting (The Netherlands), ARD German Television, Planete TV (Poland), Beatty Satellite (Saudi Arabia), Proxima (Bulgaria), Caribbean Broadcasting Union, the Travel Channel, DirecTV, Comedy Central, E! Entertainment TV, Bravo, Ocean in Google Earth, and at the United Nations.

Paul's work has garnered several industry accolades, including Best Music Video at the 2004 Austin Music Awards at SXSW, a Bronze Telly, Communicator Awards, Videographer Award, Aegis Award, numerous Gold and Silver Addy Awards, and an Addy Best in Show Video.

He was one of the original filmmakers selected to produce content for Ocean in Google Earth. Paul has produced pieces for the Red Sea, Mediterranean, Western Indian Ocean, Great Barrier Reef, the Philippines, the Coral Triangle, and Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean Sea focus areas. His perspectives bring unique insights to the project. He continues to provide content from around the world, and has become an editor for the overall project.

Deaton is a member of The Explorers Club, American Advertising Federation, Boston Sea Rovers, Diving Equipment and Marketing Association, Divers Alert Network, National Association of Underwater Instructors, Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago, and the Historical Diving Society. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Texas Society of the Virgin Islands, and the Rotary Club of St. Thomas East. He was honored by Rotary International with a Paul Harris Fellowship in 2004.

Presenting: "The Last Hurrah"

Paul Cater Deaton offers a poignant recollection of 90-year-old Stan Waterman’s final dive trip, which the living legend made on a live-aboard with treasured friends. Film footage includes High-voltage shark action, the serene world of diving the Caymans at night, and a salute to the Godfather of Underwater Filmmaking.

See more of Paul's work at:


Jill Heinerth

Jill HeinerthA pioneering underwater explorer and filmmaker, Jill Heinerth has dived deeper into caves than any woman in history. With a collection of magnificent images, from Antarctic iceberg caves to the Floridan Aquifer and subterranean Siberia, Jill shares a glimpse of a breathtaking world few will experience. Her accolades include being inducted to the Women Diver's Hall of Fame and the Explorer’s Club as well as scores of photography and filmmaking awards.

Recognized as a leading technical diver, she is one of the world’s experts on rebreather technology. An engaging speaker, Jill's multimedia presentations stir audiences with life’s lessons learned during expeditions above, below and inside the earth. An award-winning filmmaker, Jill wrote, produced, and appeared in Water's Journey, the PBS documentary series that takes viewers on travels through the world’s greatest water systems. Hollywood filmmakers, including Lakeshore Productions (The Cave) and James Cameron, have called on her to produce difficult underwater scenes, and international magazines and new media companies look to her to document extreme environments.

Her accolades include being named a "Living Legend" by Sport Diver Magazine, induction into the exclusive New York Explorer's Club and the inaugural class of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame, as well as scores of photography and filmmaking awards. Dozens of stories lauding Jill's career, have appeared in the New York Post, London Telegraph, Wired Magazine, Sport’s Illustrated Women and most recently a 21-page photo feature in Deep, China's most prestigious outdoor adventure publication. Jill is known as an industry expert in the use of closed-circuit rebreathers.

Her multi-media blog attracts a large international audience. She is also a popular presenter at international diving events from Australia to Central America, Russia, Europe and Canada. Jill's photography and writing have been featured in prominent magazines and major newspapers around the world. She contributed to the development of training materials for international organizations and is the author of three books on cave diving and underwater photography. Born in Canada, Jill lives with her husband Robert, in North Florida, where she starts most days with a refreshing swim in the clear water of her local spring.

Presenting: "We Are Water"

For the first time in history, fresh water has become a finite resource. Many experts agree that, without significant changes in water policy, wars of the 21st century may be fought, not over oil, but for control of clean water. We Are Water is an imaginative, entertaining, and enlightening documentary, illustrating the fragile relationship between our planet’s endangered fresh water resources, and the ever increasing needs of our expanding population. 

See more of Jill's work at:  


Michael Salvarezza & Christopher Weaver

Chris WeaverMichael SalvarezzaMichael Salvarezza and Christopher Weaver have been diving the waters of the world since 1978. In that time, they have spent hundreds of hours underwater and have accumulated a large and varied library of photographic images.

In 1994, Salvarezza and Weaver formed a company called Eco-Photo Explorers, a New York based organization to help promote public interest in protecting the underwater environment through knowledge and awareness using underwater photography. Their photo and freelance writing are all utilized to achieve this goal.

They have presented their work in many multi-media presentations, and have appeared previously at Beneath the Sea, Boston Sea Rovers Underwater Clinic, Our World Underwater and the Long Island Divers Association Film Festival.

Mike and Chris have been published in numerous magazines, including National Geographic Adventure, and have authored many articles for the majority of the dive publications the world over. Their work has also been used to support a number of research and educational programs, including the Jason Project for Education, the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium in New York and the Cambridge University and the University of Groningen Arctic Centre work on monitoring the transformation of historic features in Antarctica and Svalbard.

Presenting: "Puerto Galera and Verde Island: Jewels of the Philippines"

The Philippines, and its 7000 islands, is the world’s second largest archipelago and is located in the heart of the coral triangle, the epicenter of biodiversity in the world’s oceans. Divers who explore the waters near Puerto Galera and Verde Island can witness the beauty of this part of the world firsthand.

Join Eco-Photo Explorers as they dive on vibrant reefs teeming with colorful marine life; explore picturesque shipwrecks and search for critters in the muck.

Visit Eco-Photo Explorers at:


Captains Stephen & Maureen Langevin

Maureen LangevinStephen LangevinSteve and Maureen Langevin are PADI instructors, technical divers, and US Coast Guard licensed Captains. They founded Dive Voyager Expeditions, a company that specializes in scuba instruction and filmmaking. Christopher Drew, technical diver and Divemaster recently joined the DVE Team. Steve and Maureen introduce students to diving in the Northeast aboard their dive boat “Voyager” and produce films to entertain audiences about our amazing undersea world and rich maritime history.

Through Dive Voyager Expeditions, they bring out the spirit of ocean exploration through award winning documentary films such as Pioneers of Northeast Wreck Diving, Women of Northeast Wreck Diving, Search for the HMS Sylph and A Shipwreck’s Secret, a story about the expedition to recover a 5,000 pound anchor from the wreck of the Stolt Dagali which is available for online viewing at SnagFilms. The artifact was donated to the Museum of NJ Maritime History where it is displayed prominently at the entranceway.

Their educational children’s series Our Precious Ocean is fun and entertaining but also teaches young people important facts about sharks, coral reefs and how destructive fishing, plastics and balloons can be harmful. The film Lost at Sea: Texas Tower Disaster debuted in 2012 as a rough cut and they have many more films available or are in progress.

Their work has been featured on television, in magazines & newspaper articles, at dive events and film festivals. Maureen is a proud member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame. Check out their work on the Dive Voyager Expeditions YouTube Channel or follow their Facebook page.

Presenting: "AquaWoman: 30 Years a Tradition"

During the early years, Northeast wreck diving was mainly recognized as a macho sport with few women divers. It wasn't until the summer of 1981 when Edith Hoffman, a local Long Island diver decided to run a women only charter aboard the R/V Wahoo to the popular and challenging shipwreck the "USS San Diego".

The historic "AquaWoman dive" turned into a yearly tradition, which has continued for over 30 years. This documentary captures the story, history and interviews with the founder and other influential divers; and of course the AquaWoman dives.

Visit Dive Voyager Expeditions at:


Peter Venoutsos

Peter VenoutsosPeter Venoutsos has been a certified diver since 1976 and a commercial diver since 1983. His experience includes working with private underwater engineering firms, the Federal Government and the US Navy.

He is an active member of the Connecticut Underwater Archeology Committee and his interests include underwater photography, shipwrecks & cave diving. He is the founder of American Scuba Adventures a underwater video company with the goal of promoting diving in the United States and around the world.

Presenting: "Scapa Flow"

Scapa Flow is one of Britain’s most historic stretches of water – located within the Orkney Islands, off the northeast coast of Scotland. Its sheltered waters have played an important role in travel, trade and conflict throughout the centuries – especially during both World Wars. Come and explore the remains of Germany’s World War I fleet from Battleships to Cruisers.

Visit Peter's website at:


Kathy Johnson & Greg Lashbrook

Greg Lashbrook and Kathy Johnson

Over the years, Greg Lashbrook and Kathy Johnson have worked with scuba certification classes, on search & rescue operations, for commercial hardhat companies and assisted researchers across the Great Lakes basin. Their work with the US Fish and Wildlife, DNR’s and Fishes & Oceans Canada, among other organizations, has established them as Freshwater marine life experts.

In 1990, Greg and Kathy published their first book on Great Lakes diving and have since published articles for publications such as – Michigan Natural Resources Magazine, Sport Diver Magazine and USA Today Newspaper. From the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto to SHEDD Aquarium in Chicago and National Geographic, Greg and Kathy are committed to raising awareness about the importance of freshwater marine life.

In 2007, they worked on “Mysteries of the Great Lakes” the only IMAX film featuring the Great Lakes region. National Geographic TV’s 2010 “Monster Fish” series premiere included their Lake Sturgeon footage. In 2011, their videos were presented to the U.S. Congress by a Great Lakes Fisheries Commission congressional delegation. In 2012, they worked with Michigan’s longest running PBS series “Michigan Out of Doors”. And in the summer of 2013 Greg and Kathy worked with a production company from the United Kingdom on a new series for the Discovery Channel.

Presenting: "Sea-Weed"

Sea-Weed is a satirical tale of an underwater cameraman who is magically transported into the world of macro videography. In a new dimension filled with creepy-crawly giants, Greg Lashbrook dances the tango with a cadis fly and swings under the moonlight with a troop of sea monkeys. The trip takes a threatening turn when Greg stumbles upon a water tiger stalking prey. Join him on this wonderland adventure and the all-revealing ending.

Greg Lashbrook has always been fascinated by bugs. Over the years, he has dedicated hundreds of hours to filming microscopic, aquatic creatures. He has willingly crawled through swamps at night and more than once he slept beside his tripod in order to capture each fleeting moment in the cycle of life. This program was produced as a tribute to Greg’s boundless patience and to showcase the "unseen" realm of the macro world; from an unconventional perspective!

To see more of Greg and Kathy's work, link to:


Captain Tom McCarthy

Tom McCarthy

Tom McCarthy is the Owner and Operator of East Coast Wreck Diving and the Long Island Dive Boat "Tempest" based in Freeport. He is a technical diving instructor holding ratings up through Trimix Instructor and rEvo Rebreather instructor. Tom is an active Northeast Wreck Diver, Cave Diver and Underwater Photographer.

Presenting: "Tesla, Edison, and The Oregon"

Before the start of one of the greatest rivalries in the history of invention, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla briefly worked together. Tesla's first job after coming to America was working for Edison fixing a very important system on none other than Long Island's own shipwreck The RMS Oregon. Join Captain Tom McCarthy, East Coast Wreck Diving, and host Henry Rollins aboard the Tempest dive boat for a dive to the RMS Oregon, for a segment featured on History Channel 2's "10 Things You Didn't Know About."

Visit East Coast Wrecking Diving at:  

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Last modified: November 29 2019