Private Project

The Wreck Man

If Indiana Jones, Jacques Cousteau and Albert Einstein had a baby, it would be Dr. Ian Macleod - one of Western Australia's most prominant scientists, and one of the world's foremost experts on underwater shipwrecks. "The Wreck Man" tells his story, through the stories of the wrecks he has explored. History lessons, detective stories, ghost stories, war stories and the fight against a coming environmental disaster are all told in Dr. Macleod's inimitable and passionate way.

  • Chris & Allison Selman
    The Black Tears of the Sea, Langengrad Filmproduktion, (additional underwater photography), Al Jazeera (underwater photography for news article)
  • Allison Selman
  • Chris Selman
  • Allison Selman
  • Dr Ian MacLeod
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Nature, Outdoor, Scientific, ocean
  • Runtime:
    24 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    November 1, 2017
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  • Country of Filming:
    Australia, Egypt, Maldives, Micronesia, Federated States of
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Director Biography - Chris & Allison Selman

Allison and Chris Selman are a husband and wife team of subsea corrosion engineers located in Perth, Western Australia, with a passion for diving, history and underwater filmmaking. This is their first documentary.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

"The Wreck Man" came about after we encountered Dr. Macleod through our work as subsea corrosion engineers in the oil and gas industry, where we apply Dr. Macleod's discoveries on the corrosion of historic shipwrecks to the prevention of corrosion of oil platforms, subsea pipelines and the like. We wanted to bring his passion, fascinating life's work and entertaining tales of the wrecks to a wider audience.

As the interviews progressed, we discovered that his most important work - the corrosion and oil threat in Chuuk lagoon - remained unfinished as a heart condition had ended Dr. Macleod's ability to dive. As divers and corrosion engineers ourselves, we volunteered to travel to Chuuk to film the wrecks, and complete and extend the science work. We surveyed more and deeper wrecks than had been done before, confirmed and extended Dr. Macleod's earlier work, and recovered the first sample of potentially oil-eating bacteria from the wrecks, as featured in the film.

The survey and wreck footage was originally to be featured in the 2016 National Geographic documentary "Drain the Ocean: WWII" by Madison-Sadler productions, but the segment was cut after production was complete. The work was briefly featured in the 2017 German documentary "The Black Tears of the Sea" by Langengrad Filmproduktion on the ARTE network. But our intention was always to make our own film about wreck history and Dr. Macleod's work.

The film is intended to be episodic, reflecting Dr. Macleod's eclectic and branching storytelling style and the wide ranging implications of his wreck work to areas you wouldn't expect could be affected. It is structured as a different type of story for each featured wreck - the Rapid is a detective story, the Arizona is a ghost story, the Chuuk wrecks are a war story and a fight against an environmental disaster. We've tried to capture his mix of playfulness and seriousness with his work.