Haenyeo: Wisdom of the Sea

Director: Lygia Barbosa

Brazil/South Korea, 2018



The award winner Brazilian photographer Luciano Candisani embarks in a new journey, interested by the story of a group of women who take their living from the sea. He will cross the world to portrait the story of the daily work of these heroines and bring awareness to a vital necessity of modern times: sustainability. Candisani leaves to an island in South Korea called Jeju, where he meets the Haenyeos, the women from the sea. These brave women follow a century tradition: they dive in the sea in order to harvest marine goods. This is how they make money to raise their children and support their families, without causing any damage to the environment. Candisani dives with them and face this arduous physical task, once the Haenyeos, despite their advanced ages, spend up to five hours in the sea. In Jeju, he also gets to know the local culture and discovers curiosities about a very traditional community that is in risky to disappear: the new generations aren´t likely to follow their mother´s profession and the Haenyeos may be extinguished sooner or later, the reason why they are now recognized as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. In this expedition, Candisani searches for an unique creative motivation and seeks to reveal through his lenses this amazing story of cultural preservation and environmental responsibility.

About Director

Lygia Barbosa is a Brazilian documentary director and has been producing and directing TV series and documentaries, such as Chasing Che, Motorcycle Journey, Across the Amazon, Secret Brazil (NatGeo) and Zapping Zone (Disney Channel). Lygia was also executive producer and director of the first Brazilian original documentary for Netflix, Laerte-se. In 2018, directed and produced Haenyeo – Wisdom of the Sea (NatGeo/TV Cultura), sponsored by KOCCA. Her last movie, Korean Flavours, was a South Korean co-production, a partnership Lygia has developed since 2014. Currently, she is dedicated to the feature documentary OCEAN, shot in 6 countries, and to the TV series Mar Brasil, filmed along the Brazilian coast.


With: Luciano Candisani

Camera: Chea Wan Yun

Script: Lygia Barbosa and Raphael Scire

Editing: Filipe Pontes, Karina Vilela and Paulo Gambale (Maká)

Cinematographer: Paulo Gambale (Maká)

Still Photographs: Luciano Candisani Aditional

Sound: Input artesonora

Music by: Kyungso Park

In partnership with: Gongzakso

Sponsorship: KOCCA

Screening: TV Cultura and NatGeo

Production and Research: Chea Wan Yun

Executive Production: Lygia Barbosa and Alessandra Côrte

Production company: Tru3Lab

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