No Limits: Director's Moment
About the film
"No Limits," directed by Alison Ellwood, tells the story of Audrey Mestre, who discovered a love for the ocean after it offered her freedom from the burdens of scoliosis. Mestre was drawn to Cabo San Lucas, where she became infatuated with free diver Pipin Ferreras, a Cuban defector whose dives had put him at the forefront of the sport.
The two became a couple, and Mestre followed the often elusive and raucous Ferreras on his almost spiritual quest to push his limits underwater. Soon enough, Mestre moved from support team member to ardent free diver and then to a world-class competitor who outshone her husband.
But because of a fateful decision before a potential world record-setting dive, Mestre never resurfaced alive.
Click here to learn more about the film and its director, Alison Ellwood.
What it was all about
After news arrived that a rival female diver named Tanya Streeter had successfully gone to a record-breaking 525 feet, Ferreras began preparations for Mestre to make a 561-foot dive off the coast of the Canary Islands. Having completed practice dives even deeper in the weeks leading up to the record attempt, Mestre was prepared.
But with controversial conditions in place for the dive, Mestre's safety was severely compromised. The pivotal moment in "No Limits" breaks down her fateful dive, minute by minute, second by second. It was a hard decision to show the footage, but Ellwood believes it is crucial to the story.
"The footage of Audrey's last dive is quite graphic ... and we were very careful with the images that we used," Ellwood said. "There were a lot of photographs that were far more graphic that we chose not to use. It was just too much. ... But I wanted people to have a sense of what the dive was like and how long she, in fact, was under water.
"One of the first things I realized when I started doing the interviews for this film is that this story has polarized the free-diving community," the director continued. "Depending on which side you're on, you feel very strongly one way or the other about what happened. My job as a journalist wasn't to [take sides]. It was to look at the story, talk to the players and follow the events as they unfolded."
DIRECTOR'S TAKE: ALISON ELLWOOD
Director Alison Ellwood on the decision to show footage from Mestre's last dive in the film "No Limits":
Audrey, she really was all about the ocean. She wanted to go with the animals. Her favorite thing was to dive with the animals, the sharks, the dolphins. People think of mermaids -- she was the original mermaid.Cameraman Nick Buckley on Audrey Mestre from 'No Limits'