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2020 LIDA Film Festival

Presenter Bios

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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.

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.

Jill is a celebrated cave diver, underwater explorer, writer, photographer and filmmaker. She is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and was their first Explorer-in-Residence. Heinerth is also a fellow of The Explorers Club, a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, the recipient of Canada’s prestigious Polar Medal, and the NOGI Award – the diving world’s highest honor from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences.

Presenting: "Under Thin Ice - Documenting the Changing Arctic"

Heinerth's presentation will take the audience along on a series of expeditions documenting the life above, below and within the ever dwindling ice. She will share clips from her new documentary "Under Thin Ice," produced by Gala Film Productions and never seen photos from her work with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society on her project “Arctic on the Edge.

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: "Tubbataha: Coral Kingdom of the Sula Sea"

This program details our photographic expedition to the remote and pristine coral reefs of Tubbataha in the Philippines. Experience coral reefs teeming with life and dripping with color. Dive with magnificent Whale Sharks and massive schools of Barracuda!

Film Festival Opener: "Diving in the Land of the Pharaohs: The Egyptian Red Sea"

Eco-Photo Explorers travel to Egypt to explore the Pyramids of Giza and plunge beneath the waves of the fabled Red Sea.

Visit Eco-Photo Explorers at:


Michel Labrecque & Julie Ouimet

Julie OuimetMichel Labrecque

Michel and Julie are seasoned divers who have traveled to some of the most remote areas of our planet. They are technical trimix divers, rebreather divers, the previous owners of an award-winning PADI 5-Star IDC center and accomplished dive training professionals.

Since 2014, they have devoted themselves to underwater imagery and exploration. Michel is a photojournalist and Julie is a videographer and filmmaker. They are contributors for several dive publications, public speakers and the authors of a book.

Michel and Julie are both Fellows of the Explorers Club and Associate Members of the Boston Sea Rovers. They have twice been bestowed the honor of carrying the Explorers flag to Clipperton atoll and the findings of their 2 scientific missions to the atoll contributed to the creation of a marine protected area. In 2018 they received the Explorers Club Citation of Merit in recognition of their "exemplary accomplishments in Field Science and Conservation". In 2016, Michel was named a PADI Ambassador and in 2019, Julie was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

Presenting: "Visions of Indonesia"

Our presentation is a combination of 2 shorts:

  • Kerajaan - The Kingdom of Raja Ampat: Rich, diverse, amazing; such is the the kingdom. Located in the hearth of the coral triangle, Raja’s waters are truly mesmerizing. Its densely coral covered reefs are home to creatures big and small that will capture your soul. Open the doors, enter Kerajaan.
  • K - Komodo: Located in the heart of the coral triangle, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the 7 wonders of nature, Komodo is the realm of giants but its waters also harbor fascinating and enchanting creatures of all shapes and all sizes.

See more of Michel and Julie's work 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: "Lizzie D"

Visit Dive Voyager Expeditions at:


Ashley Dacosta & Ryan Christie

Ryan Christie, Ashley DacostaAshley Dacosta 27 years old from Long Island, she was certified in 2016 with Tiedemann's diving center. Still new to scuba diving she quickly found her niche for being able to combine her love for diving and video editing. Scuba diving is not only her passion, but also a creative outlet to explore, continuously learn & improve filming techniques and editing skills. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a video is worth a million.

Ryan Christie, 37 native Long Islander. Diving since 2004, Ryan took quite naturally to the underwater world. Cave Diver, Instructor with Tiedemann's Dive Shop and most recently a Mod3 certification in closed circuit rebreather diving, you could say he's really into diving. As a professional in the television industry he has an eye for the camera (even if most of his drone footage was overexposed). While he may enjoy filming with the camera and occasionally being in front of it, he's happy to leave the editing to his beloved girlfriend that he loves dearly, Ashley.

Presenting: "The Symphony of the Deep: Exploring the North and South Ari Atolls of Maldives"

Located over eight thousand miles away in South Asia is Maldives, a small country in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. Maldives is composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. Join us in this video as we travel through both the North and South Ari Atolls by Liveaboard to experience the best of what Maldives has to offer, including face to face majestic encounters with gentle Manta Rays.


Danny Rivera

Danny RiveraDanny Rivera was born on a hot summer day way back on August of 1984, just 39 years to the day that World War II officially ended with the signing of Japan’s acceptance of the Allied terms of surrender. Go ahead and look it up, I'll wait. Technically, Japan surrendered on August 15th, but it would have been August 14th, our time.

Danny is an avid local diver, technical diving instructor and amateur photographer. He has had countless photographs published…On Facebook and Instagram. His photography and videos have received such praise as, "Cool photos," and "This one is blurry." He is also the acclaimed author of his best selling book, "SCUBA DIVE LONG ISLAND."

When not underwater or working at Good Life Divers, Danny works as a full-time paramedic and a stay-at-home dad to his two suspiciously blonde children. Danny is married to the most amazing and supportive woman a man could get.

Presenting: "Our Island"

What is there to see in New York? Isn't the water dirty? Have you found Jimmy Hoffa? Join Danny Rivera and in a very loose affiliation with the B.B.C. to answer some of these questions and explore what diving has to offer on Long Island. "Our Island" follows the changes in seasons and marine life on Long Island.

For more information:


Kirby Kurkomelis

Kirby Kurkomelis

Presenting: "XP-47B Thunderbolt"

Kurkomelis' presentation will take the audience along on the discovery of the sole prototype, Republic XP-47B Thunderbolt "Restricted Aircraft" that was operating out of the Republic Airport Plant in Farmingdale, New York. Unfortunately, the aircraft was lost on its maiden flight on August 2, 1942 and crashed into the cold dark water of Long Island Sound.

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Last modified: May 07 2021