Where The Water Takes Us
“I want you to know that I loved your movie! Absolutely beautiful. I laughed and cried. How lucky they are to have such a wonderful documentary of their trip to remember it by. All the best to you. You are quite talented.”
“40 years after I sailed on the Westward, and your film brought me right back, thanks so much.”
“Where to begin. Breathtaking. Thoughtful. Well-woven. Powerful. I’m so touched. Thank you so much for all of the love you poured into this project. Seeing the finished piece was so extraordinary, especially knowing how many hurdles you faced in the process, from sea sickness to absent support to being a full-time student and documentarian and beyond. You should be extremely proud of yourself and the work you’ve done. I feel so honored that I got to be a part of this journey, and so grateful that we can all move forward with such a beautiful piece to commemorate the adventure we had and remind us of the work we want to do in the world.”
“Watching this would give you a pretty good idea of how overwhelming, beautiful, devastating, challenging, messy, and gentile living on a ship far away from home can be.”
“Beautiful and engaging.”
“Oh my god Soraya,… I just watched your film. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. Thank you so much for bringing this experience to life for me. Tears are streaming down my cheeks. I loved it! It was so beautifully done. I can’t wait to follow where you go!!”
“I FINALLY had the opportunity to watch your film and I just wanted to say two things: holy shit and thank you. You have created a piece of visually stunning, vital art that genuinely moved me to both laughter and tears within seconds. I will absolutely be sharing this with my network, because I believe whole heartedly in your work and its importance. I am so excited to see what future, eye-opening, earth-changing art you create.”
“Your film made me feel engulfed in the story. I felt like I was with them and their feelings…”
“Wonderful. Having sailed thousands of miles, I can say this truly touches on many of the nuances of the adventure, and unique experience of sailing.”
“You’ve done a great job on this. I was absolutely engaged throughout. All sorts of emotions; amused, sad, hopeful. Well done!”
“Awesome video and story! It’s stories like this, that give me hope for the future of this planet.”
”An uplifting 24 minutes!”
Salt Water is my thesis film from USC.
It’s been selected to screen in nine festivals, in five countries, and recently won the audience award at the Los Angeles Lift-Off festival.
”Wonderful cinematography, editing, and writing. It really shines through its simplicity and feels brave and profound without being cheesy. Very promising work.”
”How it feels to be in love with the sea.”
Waves For Water - Puerto Rico
While working on a shoot with the production company Farm League, I went to Islas Todos Santos, an island off the coast of Baja to document the work of non-profit Save the Waves. They were cleaning up the island after a fishing boat shipwrecked on the fabled point break, resulting in devastating amounts of debris and pollution. It was there that I met Otto Flores, pro surfer and Puerto Rican native, who works with Waves for Water, another non-profit whose goal it is to provide clean water to anyone who needs it. They had been a huge player in the disaster response immediately after Hurricane Maria in September 2017. I couldn’t believe that just weeks after his own island home had been so heavily hit, Otto was out there cleaning this island too. He described to me the work that W4W does, and it moved me so much that I needed to learn more.
Conveniently, I was going to be in Puerto Rico soon-thereafter as my 40 day sailing passage in the Caribbean initiated there. We agreed to link up, so I flew out a few days before my shipmates and drove around the island with Otto, seeing the remains of the storm four months later. In two days, I shot enough footage to cut together a small piece which has screened at the Patagonia Film Festival and Save the Waves Film Festival.
It is immensely inspiring for me to be around people in this community who feel responsible enough to be the change.
First Flush is a short I wanted to make for sometime. In 2018, LA had gone one of the longest periods of time without rain, contributing to the worst air quality the city had seen in decades. I was tracking the forecast for rain closely, and once it finally happened, missed all my classes at school to follow the flow of urban runoff down the Los Angeles river, all the way to the ocean.
The issue of urban runoff is an outrageous one. Annually, 3 billion tons of trash make their way from the concrete-covered streets and sidewalks of major cities like Los Angeles straight to the ocean. An estimated tens of billions of gallons of freshwater — our most precious and sacred resource — becomes poisonous the moment it hits pavement, and is lost to sea.
Reducing our waste and picking up what’s already there is something everyone can and should be doing. No question. And implementing infrastructure that can better capture stormwater is a no-brainer, something I refuse to believe we don’t have the technology or resources for in 2018 — not when we sent people to the moon 50 years ago.
Rhythm & Blues
Wait Three Days to Surf After It Rains
The World Has Enough Ordinary
Producing reel with Lukas Dong Films.