Inna Blokhina Shares Nine Heroes Stories In The Documentary ‘She Is The Ocean’ [Exclusive Interview]

She Is The Ocean is not your typical documentary. It is a passion project from Inna Blokhina where she followed the lives of nine women and their love for the ocean. What makes this documentary unique is that the ocean becomes the focal point of how it impacts their lives.

Here’s the synopsis of the film:

A woman is like the ocean: a true force of nature. She Is The Ocean follows nine extraordinary women, scattered across all corners of the globe. But they are united by the same sea, and their love for these waters is matched only by their dedication to preserve and protect them. Shot in stunning 4K cinematography, the film captures these ocean stories in a spectacularly immersive way, bringing to life every ocean encounter in breathtaking fashion – from free swimming with sharks far below the surface, to the top of the world’s biggest waves. A journey of both natural beauty and human empathy, She Is The Ocean is the story of powerful women with depths unknown.

I had the unbelievable opportunity to talk with the writer/director Inna Blokhina about her love for the ocean and how she was able to put this documentary together.

Nancy Tapia: Well, I have to say watching She Is The Ocean was super inspiring. Not to mention the cinematography and the views. It was like another version of National Geographics.

Inna Blokhina: Oh, wow! Thank you so much. I’m glad you love it. Yeah, it was six years of filming so…

Nancy Tapia: Whoa!

Inna Blokhina: It was a lot of material. Yeah. It was long way to go, a long way. So thank you so much, it’s nice to hear.

Nancy Tapia: That’s a long time, six years of making.

Inna Blokhina: Yes, six years of filming and two years of editing. So it’s a long time.

Nancy Tapia: I’m sure you had too much beautiful material to have to pick from. That must have been a huge challenge besides the directing part during filming.

Inna Blokhina: Yes, it was really challenging to look at all the material because it was so much. It was so many shots. It was very difficult to choose, because when you’re filming the ocean they are beautiful shots. You have so much material to choose from. So it was quite hard.

Nancy Tapia: I’m obviously no filmmaker, you’re the expert, but  in this film you’re not just covering one story, you’re covering multiple stories. I imagine the direction was always challenging because you had to portray in a different ways. Also going based on the subjects narrating their own story.

Inna Blokhina: Yes. It’s quite challenging to choose heroes, because heroes need to be with the right energy and right stories. But I’m lucky, I have all women who are just amazing and so inspiring. So it was really great to work with them. I tried to make each story separate. As a filmmaker, I always try something new, some new editing, or some new styles. I choose this kind of style, because I think that the audience can feel more each character like that.

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She Is The Ocean
Ocean Ramsey – Shark conservationist and free diver from Hawaii

Nancy Tapia: Which story would you say was the hardest? Besides filming under water.

Inna Blokhina: Probably Ocean Ramsey because when we started filming Ocean told me, “Hey Inna, you have to experience. You have to swim with the sharks. You have to experience it if you want to make a story about me.”

It was very challenging for me because it was one of my biggest fears to swim with a shark. I’m a surfer and yeah, every time I’m a little bit scared of the environment. When you are on the surface, you don’t understand what kind of surprises the ocean can give you. It was a little challenging for me to make this step into the ocean and to swim with the sharks. But when I did Ocean helped me. She was kind of gave me the hand. When I swam into the ocean it was beautiful. It was like 40 or 50 sharks around. I just can’t believe how beautiful it was. Wow, it was something special! It was the most beautiful moment in my entire life. Now I’m not scared of the ocean at all. All my fears and all my misunderstandings are gone. I only feel happiness in the water now. It was a really, really beautiful moment for me.

Nancy Tapia: All the stories were great, but I have to agree that that Ocean Ramsey story was phenomenal. You don’t hear every day someone say they enjoy swimming with sharks more than hanging out with people.

Inna Blokhina: Yes, that’s true. It’s amazing. That’s amazing. For sure each hero is just a beautiful, amazing and strong woman. I’ve learned from them. I’m really lucky to have this chance to capture a little part of their life. So they’re all just amazing and really inspiring.

She Is The Ocean
Rose Molina – Free-diver and ballet dancer

Nancy Tapia: Not only did you direct the film, but you also wrote the film, right?

Inna Blokhina: Yes, but it’s very interesting because when I’m doing the portraits, I’m not usually writing the script. I’m writing the script after I’m capturing the interviews, and after I’m capturing the story. Every time you are doing the portrait and are doing the interviews you are finding something. You can move in many different directions.

Every time you interview the person you can find something special, or not go how you thought. You can find something new, a new way to go. So it’s very interesting. I’m always going with the flow.

You have to fall in love with each hero to really draw a beautiful portrait. It was interesting to work with this beautiful woman for me.

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Nancy Tapia: As a film maker why these stories? Why about the ocean? Why about these women? So empowered, when they’re feeling empowered in the ocean.

Inna Blokhina: I love water. I love the ocean. When I first tried surfing it just totally changed my life. I was traveling a lot and I made myself film the first Russian film about surfing in 2012.

Because I was traveling a lot I met a lot of beautiful women in surfing. I decided that I have to capture, to tell the stories. I can do this.

I started to prepare for this project and to choose my heroes. And to think what kind of film I wanted to make. The ocean, for me, is something special. I love water, and I just love to be in the ocean. The ocean is like a mother and the ocean embracing all of us.

Especially right now, this is a very important moment because we have to face the water. We have to save the ocean. Two weeks ago we had a problem in a recent story about the toxic catastrophe in the water. It is very sad that people can do this with the ocean. So I hope that this film could remind one more time that we have to save the ocean. We have to try. As Ocean said, “We have one ocean, one planet in one chance.” So I hope that this film could make people think one more time about it.

She Is The Ocean
Sylvia Earle – Marine biologist, explorer and the first female chief scientist of the U.S.

Nancy Tapia: You ended this film on a good note and you’re pretty much covering it right now. You brought in Sylvia Earle,a scientist and biologist to also bring awareness. It was really sad when she says, “There’s fewer squid and more plastic today.”

Inna Blokhina: Yes.

Nancy Tapia: Well, to wrap up just want to say great film. The documentary is now available to watch virtual and selective traditional cinemas.

Inna Blokhina: Yes, and thank you for spending time with me. I hope this film can inspire people to think more about our planet, about the ocean. 

Nancy Tapia: Thank you Inna and good luck.

Inna Blokhina: Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.

She Is The Ocean is available on Demand and select theaters.

Source: LRM Online Exclusive

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Nancy Tapia

Nancy Tapia has been an interviewer for LRM and Latino-Review Media since 2011. Currently a member of the Hollywood Critics Association. Former UCLA Bruin specializes in Management. Covering entertainment has been an unexpected lively journey. Always open to the next, new experience. From solo traveling to adding a new peak to her personal 100 Hike Challenge. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @inancytapia

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