Manuel Añò: The Filmmaker Who Dives Under the Ice

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That is no small feat! Manuel is one of the ten freedivers in the world that do this.

Manuel Anu was born on the beaches of French Normandy into a family of lighthouse keepers, sailors and fishermen from father to son. From an early age, he learned to snorkel there and explore the depths of the English Channel, despite the difficult conditions to tame. At the age of 7, he was starting to do well enough to catch his first crossbow fish and hold it for more than 3 minutes with a single breath. Throughout his childhood and adolescence he continued to perfect his aquatic skills. 

In 2012, then aged 19, Manuel had the opportunity to continue his exploration by crossing the Atlantic to settle in Quebec. He jumped on the plane without hesitation, because he didn’t want to miss any opportunities. Manuel studied in a technique of multimedia integration and in his free time started to professionally develop his visual skills. At that time, being a semi-professional athlete in acrobatic cycling, he was constantly surrounded by cameramen and photographers, which opened his eyes to the importance of the image and the technicality necessary to achieve the most beautiful shots. This is how the creative and artistic facets of visual capture conquered him.

He left Canada at the end of December for a year of travel in Europe and North America. Manuel founded his production company, which specialized in underwater visuals and in difficult conditions. When Manuel returned to Quebec, he settled in Montreal, where he was able to expand his knowledge and training in this field.

Today, four years after the founding of ProdAqua, his activities are entirely focused on the aquatic environment. His diplomas in freediving, diving, and scuba diving allow him to practice safely in a wide range of challenging conditions.

Most of his projects are completed by him, from start to finish: planning to publication. He likes to rework his images in order to make them as true to what he has experienced underwater. He produces and participates in a lot of filming for the water sports industry, the arts, tourism, and the cinema on occasion. The rest of the time, I offer my services to the general public and take them to the pool.

The fact that he can never predict what he will discover before a dive is what fascinates him the most about his job. Will he have the opportunity to spend an hour with a large mammal? Will the bioluminescence astound him on a night dive?

Manuel’s Mission

Manuel’s mission with his work is to discover aquatic environments that are little known to the general public (lake, ocean, arctic environment, puddle). Environments to which few people have access, despite the fact that they are sometimes part of the daily environment. By displaying their beauty and fragility, as well as the issues that surround them, he hopes to raise awareness in order to better protect them.

He also intends to demonstrate the seasonal changes in Quebec’s underwater environments.

He accomplishes this mission through audiovisual documentaries, conferences, scientific publications, research contributions, and assistance to people living in aquatic environments.

To go even further, he explores, discovers, and employs new techniques and equipment.

In short, the preservation of these spaces is very important to Manuel which is why he focuses on raising awareness and educating people through images.

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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