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2019 LIDA Film Festival

Presenter Bios

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Peter Hunt

Peter HuntPeter Hunt was born and raised on Long Island where he started diving in 1979. Peter crewed on the Wahoo from 1982 to 1985, including four successful expeditions to the Andrea Doria.  He left New York in 1985 and flew A-6s for ten years before leaving the Navy to fly commercially.

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2005 at age 43, Hunt now writes full time. An alumnus of Brown University and University of Washington Graduate school, he is the author of "The Lost Intruder," "Angles of Attack," and "Setting the Hook."

Presenting: "The Lost Intruder"

Join Long Island native Peter Hunt, author of The Lost Intruder, as he sets out to discover a long-lost Navy jet he had flown while on active duty. In November 1989, a Navy A-6 Intruder suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure and crashed off Whidbey Island, Washington. The crew ejected safely. Despite a three-month search, the Navy could not find the missing jet. Twenty-five years after the crash, Peter Hunt set out to successfully discover the lost aircraft, knowing that it might be his final opportunity due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease.

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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: "Where the Water Meets the Sky: Exploring the Southern Atolls of the Maldives"

There's a Maldivian legend that describes how God, after he made the world, was so overcome with emotion at the beauty of his creation that he shed a few tears which fell into the Indian ocean, giving origin to the Maldive Islands. This island nation is the epitome of tropical perfection. Journey to the southern atolls of this remote part of the world with Eco-Photo Explorers and uncover the hidden beauty of the coral jungle below the waves. Exploring the more remote southern atolls will reveal why The Maldives remain on the bucket lists of divers the world over. 

Presenting: "Wild Alaska"

The Alaskan wilderness is known for rugged snow-capped mountains, dense forests, captivating waterfalls and myriad wildlife. In this beautiful but harsh frontier land, few people venture below the waves to experience the underwater beauty of this the 49th state. Join Eco-Photo Explorers as they search for schools of Salmon swimming in frigid rivers fed by melting glaciers.

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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: "Guadalupe: Above and Below"

When you think of sharks the Great White is always at the top of the list, and Isla Guadalupe is probably the most sought after big shark destination spot in the world. Located over 150 miles offshore from Mexico, large numbers of Great White' s gather every year between the months of June and November. So come with me as we dive with one of the largest sharks in the world.

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Larry Cohen & Olga Torrey

Olga TorreyLarry CohenLarry Cohen started diving in 1989. Because of his background as a commercial and editorial photographer, he started taking photographs underwater right from the beginning. He is a past president of The NYC Sea Gypsies, co-founder of NYUPS and crews on the NJ dive boat John Jack. His photos have appeared in such magazines as X-Ray Magazine, Sport Diver, Scuba Diving, Alert Diver, Diver, Immersed, Advanced Diver, Sub Aqua Journal, InVertum and Northeast Dive News. Larry is also a technical writer for B&H Photo.

Originally from Russia Olga Torrey has been living in New York City for the past 20 years. She has a college honor degree in physical education and worked as a gym teacher, athletic director, and gym owner back in the former USSR. She is also a fine artist and Life member of the Art Students League of New York. Olga spends as much time underwater as possible. She has taken her talent as a fine artist and applied her skills to photography both above and below the water. Olga has taken underwater photographs from the warm waters of Bonaire to the green rich waters of Alaska. She crews on the NJ dive boat the John Jack. She has been published in InVertum, X-Ray Magazine, Dive, Northeast Dive News and The Ultimate Depth.

Presenting: "Papua New Guinea Adventure"

Visiting Papua New Guinea from the east-coast of the USA is a challenge but worth the effort. Join Larry and Olga as they explore the Kimbe Bay and Tufi areas of PNG. They will show images of breath taking reefs and tiny creatures that seem to be from another planet. Larry and Olga will also cover the culture of the area’s fascinating villages.

See more of Larry's work at:
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David Charash

David CharashDr David Charash is the founder of Dive Medicine and Hyperbaric Consultants. Dr Charash is Board Certified In Emergency Medicine and Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. He is a trained and certified Dive Medicine Physician, Dive Medicine Medical Fitness Examiner and Divers Alert Network Referral Physician. He has lectured at the Naval Undersea Medical Institute, and the United States Coast Guard Academy in Dive Medicine, and Dive Physiology. He practices both Hyperbaric Medicine and Dive Medicine in Northern Virginia.

He lectures both Locally and Nationally on a variety of topics related to Dive Safety, Dive Medicine and Dive Technology. As a consultant, Dr Charash works with Commercial Diving , Public Safety, and Scientific Diving Organizations. He has lectured at many Dive clubs, the History Of Diving Museum, Beneath the Sea, Boston Sea Rovers and Dutch Springs Diving Safety Seminars. He is a DAN Instructor and Rescue Diver.

Presenting: "My Time Aboard Aquarius Reef Base"

I had the opportunity to work with Third Generation Ocean Explorer Fabien Cousteau as he prepared for his upcoming Mission 31 aboard Aquarious Reef Base in 2014. As a result of this preparation, I was invited to Join Fabien Cousteau and the Mission 31 crew aboard Aquarious Reef Base. The presentation offers a rare look at life aboard the only underwater habitat during a live mission.

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Michael Rothschild

Mike RothschildMichael Rothschild is the current dive chair and former president of the New York City Sea Gypsies. He lives in Manhattan, and is a technical rebreather diver. He loves the local waters, and particularly enjoys encouraging other divers to visit the vibrant marine ecosystem and historic shipwrecks right off or our shores.

Michael is an avid underwater photographer and videographer. He is the co-director (along with Larry Cohen) of the New York Underwater Photographic Society. In this capacity, he organizes and teaches the annual NYUPS underwater photography workshop at Dutch Springs, and runs the monthly NYUPS meetings.

Rothschild has given seminars at Beneath the Sea for a number of years on ear, nose and throat problems in diving (he is a pediatric otolaryngologist by trade) and on underwater photography in challenging conditions. He has published several articles and photographs on diving.

Presenting: "Diving into History: Wreck Diving in the New York Bight"

Michael will be presenting two videos of local wreck dives (Tolten, RP Resor), with a short slide presentation to introduce them.

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Kristen Regan

Kristen ReganKristen Regan received a Master of Fine Art degree at Savannah College of Art and Design and a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Over the years travel has been a driving force in her work.

She has traveled extensively through Europe as well as to India, Egypt, and Venezuela and is currently an Associate Professor of Photography at Pensacola State College. Her work has been featured in galleries in Puerto Rico, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and Colorado.

Presenting: "Plastisphere"

The term Plastisphere was created to reference the ecosystem of microbial organisms that form on floating plastic. These drifting habitats have the potential to host dangerous pathogens and leach toxic chemicals into their aquatic environments. Join Kristen as she explains how her images are used to engage and captivate the viewer with the delicate sculptural qualities that plastics can exhibit while raising awareness of the devastating effect plastic is having on our environment.

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Last modified: November 29 2019