Gloria Kurnik | Visual Storyteller | Documentary filmmaker (director, preditor and camerawoman) based in Asia.

Searching for Hell

January 26, 2016

One of the most challenging projects I’ve ever filmed – Welcome to Kawah Ijen is a part of a collaborative feature documentary called Searching for Hell. I shot my part solo on an active volcano in Indonesia. It was a hellish yet incredibly rewarding experience. Check out my article on Movidiam for some behind the scenes from Welcome to Kawah Ijen.

We also have a comic book about our adventures on locations around the world while filming Searching for Hell, it gets spooky at times!


Welcome to Kawah Ijen [...] – It is an extraordinary piece of filmmaking to capture the beauty and pain and moral complexities of such a place within such a short time span.”

Searching For Hell is a fascinating documentary. Even its weakest strands hold up as curiosities. Its best segments, Welcome to Kawah Ijen and A Hole to Hell really are examples of filmmakers and cinematographers working at the top of their art form.”

David Brant for Watch This Space Film Magazine (January 21, 2016)

“Chapters 3 and 4 are unquestionably the highlights of the film, with Nakamura and Gloria Kurnik directing their segments in a manner akin to the documentaries of Werner Herzog, with the Kurnik‘s exploration of the Indonesia sulphur mines reminiscent of his Cave of Forgotten Dreams or Encounters at the End of the World. Kurnik manages to capture the bizarre and absorbing beauty of the mines, caves and acid lakes, which actually comprise a very ugly and unhealthy workplace.”

- Jake Leonard for Film Inquiry (March 21, 2016)

“This is an absolutely triumphant work. Each separate short documentary has been magnificently created with excellent cinematography. In particular Welcome to Kawah Ijen (directed by Gloria Kurnik) is visually arresting: the strange beauty of garish yellow suflur and the deep blue of the sulfuric flames contrasts with the painful struggle of the workers, their bodies lean and taut from the toil of carrying a massive amount of sulfur on shoulder baskets up and down the mountain.”

- Lynnaire MacDonald for Film Sprites News and Reviews (December 4, 2015)

Searching For Hell is truly executed masterfully. With such potent imagery via equally creative and artistic cinematography, there is no conceivable way viewers will not be impacted profoundly.”

- Kirk Fernwood for One Film Fan (November 14, 2015)


Watch it on: 


Amazon Prime

Indie Flix


Cineveo in VR


Festival Screenings:

13th Annual Oxford Film Festival

NInA Beta Version Film Festival

Open City Documentary Festival, London


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