Swim to Steven is performing at the 2021 Fall New Jersey Film Festival on October 8th!
Swim to Steven is an offbeat short film that serves as a kind of reverse story of coming of age. Writer-director Amy French introduces us to Kate, a mother taking her son to his first swimming lesson with instructor Steven, who happens to be a former flame from his teenage years. The film will be available to stream worldwide from Friday, October 8 through Fall 2021. New Jersey Film Festival.
The first thing that caught my eye Swim to Steven was his striking cinematography. The quality of the camera is crisp and vivid, and it fully transports the viewer to the world of history. The scenes and their individual shots have a really effective flow and dynamic setting that allows the camera to act like a non-human character. This is noticeable throughout the film, but especially at the start of the short, when Kate and her son first enter Steven’s garden. The music rises as soon as they enter the new space, accompanying a collection of glamorous snapshots of some of the most beautiful things they see: vibrant flowers, rainbows reflecting through a crystal-clear pendant light fixture and, as Kate points out, olives. This scene makes the characters feel like they are stepping into an alternate reality, a different and more dreamlike world where something magical is about to happen.
Despite this fantastic expectation, Swim to Steven don’t take yourself too seriously. In fact, it’s full of awesome comedic timing and perfectly awkward moments. As Kate walks into the backyard and marvels at her beauty, she bumps into the crystals; she almost embarrassingly shares her prepubescent crush on Steven with another mom and tells him how she once hit him ~ where it hurts ~; and she even stumbles over an explanation of how chicken fights were inherently sexual for teens as she continues to be troubled by Steven. Kate is a goofy protagonist, and actress Diana Gitelman does the role justice with an utterly believable performance.
However, Kate’s likeable qualities do not mask the central problem: her extramarital attraction to Steven, a married man. She repeatedly fantasizes about a sexy, shirtless Steven, played by Avi Rothman, kissing him underwater in a streak covered in the crystals shown when she first entered her backyard oasis. It’s as if some sort of gravitational force is dragging Kate deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of her former crush, and it’s quite unmissable from an audience perspective. She mocks her husband who is a weak swimmer and explains to the other mom how just as gorgeous Steven is as he was when they were twelve.
Kate’s obvious infatuation has not been lost on Steven, who has done a great job of focusing on his son until they have a moment alone. The sexual tension is palpable as they stand in a narrow bathroom aisle, bodies incredibly close to each other, as I’m sure the filmmaker intended. Still, this moment brings us back full force into the film’s comedy, as Steven reveals he feels like Kate was a hookup from a 2003 Flaming Lips gig, and Kate confirms her faux pas is true. . Whether she did this in an attempt to save herself a world of embarrassment if he knew the truth of their aquantainity, or if it was to have a passionate – if false – night of debauchery with Steven and feel less guilty about it. ‘having fantasized about it, Swim to Steven invites the viewer to accept the unknowns and go with the flow.
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As Kate’s GPS mocks at the start of the movie, “You look bored. So why not dive into Steven’s backyard oasis with Kate for an evening? You might even experience a shirtless underwater fantasy. Don’t miss your chance to watch Swim to Steven, The color of you, Lion on the carpet, and When the music changes Friday October 8 until fall 2021 New Jersey Film Festival.
The Fall 2021 New Jersey Film Festival, which runs on Fridays and Sundays from September 10 to October 10, will feature the festival online. All films will be available virtually via Video on Demand for 24 hours on the day they are broadcast. Ticket buyers will also have special access to filmmaker presentations and question-and-answer sessions for many films.
To buy tickets go here: https://watch.eventive.org/newjerseyfilmfestivalfall2021