DOC NYC Review: ‘SWIM TEAM’ challenges our idea of winners and losers.

SWIM TEAM

To level the playing field, they had to get into the water.

Official Selection
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 
*Winner – Best  Sports Documentary *
New Hampshire Film Festival
Heartland Film Festival 

Napa Valley Film Festival 
DOC NYC

1_swim-team-key-image

Synopsis
Demonstrating the power of inclusion to transcend disability, Lara Stolman’s triumphant film profiles members of the Jersey Hammerheads, a competitive swim team made up of a diverse group of teens on the autism spectrum, based in the state with the highest rate of autism in the country. Through training and competition, star athletes Mikey, Robbie and Kelvin gain self-confidence and social skills that serve them both in and out of the pool.

SWIM TEAM was selected for the Independent Filmmaker Project’s Project Forum in 2015 and in 2016 was selected to participate in the IFP Documentary Completion Lab. During production, filmmaking team received grants from New York Women in Film and Television, the Loreen Arbus Foundation and the Karma Foundation.

swim team pool still

SWIM TEAM is one of many recent forays into the challenging world of raising children on the autism spectrum. Films like Autism is Love and Life Animated visually bring us mostly into the the subjects’ present lives as adults. Swim Team follows 3 high school boys on their journey for acceptance and self actualization through a team sport. As a society, we must make sure that we aren’t lumping these children together. Broadly labeling them “on the spectrum” has become such a blanket term that it’s easy to categorize and limit them. If you listen to only “the experts” you might be hindering the individual growth and abilities of each child. Mikey, Kelvin, and Robbie are three completely different kids. Swimming for them is the continuation of learning discipline, self control, leadership, self esteem and a massive lot of life skills often overlooked in a school environment. We can all learn from director Lara Stolman‘s work. We need more insight as parents, teachers, administration on ways that we can help level the proverbial playing field at all times. Showing other children through our actions and words that we can all be more patient, loving, and understanding. Swim Team, through their journey to the Special Olympic games, will give you hope that kindness and heart can be a guiding light for families from all backgrounds. Autism doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care about race or socioeconomic background. The Hammerheads of New Jersey are a team of extraordinary kids, parents, and coaches trying to make a difference in the world one stroke at a time.

New York Premiere at DOC NYC in the Jock Docs Section
Thursday, November 17th at 7:30pm
SVA Theater: 333 West 23rd street, between 8th and 9th Avenues


Directed and Produced by: Lara Stolman (Portraits of Survival)
Co-Produced and Edited by: Ann Collins (Academy Award-nominated Sound and Fury)
Director of Photography: Laela Kilbourn (Twenty Feet From Stardom, American Teen, Emmy-nominated Word Wars)
Original Score by: Mark Suozzo (Metropolitan, Barcelona, Last Days of Disco, Love & Friendship, Sound and Fury)
Produced by: Shanna BelottFor more information, please visit: http://www.swimteamthefilm.com
Doc NYC Website: http://www.docnyc.net/film/swim-team
RT: 100 Minutes

Social Media:
Twitter: @SwimTeamTheFilm
Facebook: @SwimTeamTheFilm
#swimteamthefilm

bannerswimteam

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

Leave a Reply