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  • Nov 3-5

Poseidon Project

Posei­don Project is a doc­u­men­tary about one of Britain’s most advanced sub­marines, the HMS Posei­don, that sank off the coast of Chi­na in 1931, and the Amer­i­can explor­er who spent six years look­ing for it.  Half of the submarine’s crew escaped in the first few sec­onds after their boat col­lid­ed with a car­go ship, but the rest were entombed as the sub­ma­rine sank. Three hours lat­er, six sailors sur­faced — bare­ly con­scious and bit­ter­ly cold — the first ever to escape from a sunken sub­ma­rine using a pro­to-scu­ba device.  Years lat­er, while Bei­jing-based scu­ba instruc­tor Steven Schwankert was look­ing for near­by wrecks to dive, he found HMS Posei­don on a list of unex­plored sites. What start­ed as his pri­vate obses­sion went on to chal­lenge offi­cial accounts of the escape, and bring togeth­er the lost pieces of a sto­ry that touch­es on the his­to­ry of Britain and Chi­na up to the present day.

In 1931, the tale of the sailors’ amaz­ing escape made news­pa­per head­lines world­wide and went on to inspire a fea­ture film, released lat­er that year. An analy­sis of how they sur­vived changed marine safe­ty for­ev­er, lead­ing to a rev­o­lu­tion in sub­ma­rine design and a big leap for­ward in our under­stand­ing of decom­pres­sion sick­ness. But the names of the sur­vivors, and their sub­ma­rine, grad­u­al­ly sank into obscu­ri­ty.  Steven Schwankert’s six-year search for the sub­ma­rine uncov­ered the truth behind the for­got­ten wreck — a sto­ry that was far more com­pli­cat­ed than the film­mak­er had expect­ed and one that dif­fered sig­nif­i­cant­ly from what was report­ed at the time.

Run­ning time: 82 min­utes