An underwater heist: Jack Komaroff (11) releases new short film

Lucy Peck, Staff Writer

A safecracker, a boat driver, and an expert scuba diver must work together to retrieve a hidden safe worth ten million dollars, pressured by a strict time crunch of 48 hours. This is the plot of Jack Komaroff’s (11) newly-released short film: “Army Of Divers.” The film is an out-of-school production which came out last week and is currently available for viewing on

The heist is set during WWII, when a seasoned army general (Brandon DeSpain) recruits an ex-Navy scuba diver (Michael-Eoin Stanney), a boat captain (Griffin Glick), and an expert safecracker (Hunter Kohl) to locate and retrieve a safe worth 10 million dollars. However, the safe is buried underwater and the clock is ticking. They will have to attempt this rescue mission, relying on only their wits and a bit of help from the U.S. government.

“It is an action-heist film set in World War II, but the twist is that it is a scuba diving heist,” Komaroff said. His vision was to make the movie fun, energetic, and sleek, he said. “It’s not going to be as overly convoluted or complicated as some other heist movies.” Komaroff’s goal was to make the film fun but also aesthetically pleasing, he said.

The idea for the film came to Komaroff when he was on a marine-biology trip to the British Virgin Islands last summer, he said. “I got a lot of great footage and I had an idea of what I wanted to do but nothing was finalized,” Komaroff said. “I looked at the footage and thought ‘how can I make a movie around this?’” 

After recording a few hours of GoPro footage of scuba diving and shipwrecks, Komaroff proceeded to formulate a script around the footage. He taught himself how to write scripts by using YouTube tutorials as well as videos of different script writers and directors talking about their process for writing screenplays, he said. “The majority of what I learned came from reading other screenplays and watching a wide variety of films and seeing how I could pull aspects that I liked and how I can use those elements as an inspiration to develop my own director’s vision.”

Komaroff did not seek actors from the school and instead found actors on a website called “I hired a variety of different actors including actors from NYU working part time and full time actors,” he said. “I shot some people on the trip who looked similar to the actors but only shot the backs of them.” Komaroff then found actors which the audience could associate with the pre-filmed people, similar to stunt-doubles, he said.

Komaroff and the crew shot dialogue scenes together in August, he said. “It was a pretty quick process of shooting due to a lack of time and budget restrictions.” 

Komaroff filmed the dialogue scenes in and around NYC as many areas were happy to have filmmakers use their space for free, he said. “I did all of the camera work myself which was a huge challenge as I was also directing my actors,” he said. “It was a lot of telling my actors directions beforehand, shooting, and then giving notes.”

“It was a very fun process to bond with the actors,” he said.  Naturally, they are all very charismatic and they got along very well,” he said. “I particularly loved our nighttime shoot as we got to really connect as we waited for the perfect sunset. They are all great actors and I would love to work with them again.”

After gathering all the footage, Komaroff was then able to compile it, he said. “For the last couple of months, I have been using editing software to edit the clips [and] have been adding in visual effects and colorwork,” he said. “I learned editing through experience as I’ve been editing for about three years now,” Komaroff said. When he began the editing process, he felt confident enough to take it on himself, he said.

Komaroff did turn to Youtube, however, to learn some new skills, he said. “I learned about sound overlapping, J-Cuts and L-cuts, and generally what transitions are aesthetically pleasing and not too jarring.”

“Army of Divers” is Komaroff’s first film and biggest project yet, he said. “I got into filmmaking last year, during 10th grade. I’ve always loved movies and wanted to try my hand in making them.” Originally, Komaroff was scared to take on a project this big, however, he is glad it paid off and that he could learn a lot throughout the process, he said. 

“I’m really proud of the visuals that we achieved,” Komaroff said. “One could look at the film and say ‘this is not just what an iPhone could have caught, this was Jack’s vision.’” Komaroff was able to incorporate his own voice into the film by using certain colorwork and music, he said. “A lot of stuff that I like is reflected in the film,” he said. “I leaned into some warmer colors and things that were aesthetically pleasing,” he said. Komaroff also included two songs by the Beatles, he said, as they aligned with his personal taste.

On Thursday, the view count was at 371. “That should be increasing as my actors share the film with their followers on social media,” he said. 

Looking towards the future, Komaroff has gained some new skills which he hopes to take with him to upcoming projects. “I now have some experience directing actors,” he said. 

Komaroff also wants to spend more time on the storyboard during his next projects, he said. Komaroff hopes to refine some of his camera angles and cinematography a bit, he said. 

Komaroff is currently working on a black and white detective noir film which he will be shooting this summer, he said. “I’m really excited that I will have more time for editing and cinematography and that I can bring the things I learned from this project with me.”