We have crafted an engaging and complex contemporary story that shows how the last of American racial barriers are finally falling away - and still hold people back. There are no laws or mobs barring our characters from the swimming pool - as there were for their parents and grandparents - and yet in an era when we can elect an African-American president, there are still enormous racial and cultural disparities in our society. Our characters are among the 1% of African American and Latino competitive swimmers -- and we are fascinated to discover what makes them willing to go where few of their friends and families are willing to go.
Furthermore, we place these contemporary stories into a historical context that the younger of our characters don't even understand - and we aim to do it in a way that leads them and their peers to grasp their role in our changing society. To accomplish this, we use animation and other visual elements to transform our verité footage and archival materials into a mass entertainment that demonstrates to young people across the United States that their options are truly limitless, and that their place in American society is every place.
DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER BIOS
Josh Waletzky (Director, Editor, Co-producer) is a highly acclaimed documentary filmmaker who has made dozens of films that probe deep into the lives of people caught in social and cultural crossroads. His extensive body of documentary work includes Academy Award-nominated MUSIC FOR THE MOVIES: BERNARD HERRMANN; IMAGE BEFORE MY EYES; PARTISANS OF VILNA; SACRED STAGE: THE MARIINKSKY THEATER; and SHAKER HEIGHTS: STRUGGLE FOR INTEGRATION. Josh has garnered Peabody and Emmy Awards and an ACE Eddy Award and Grammy Award nominations. Among other festival honors, his profile of Itzhak Perlman's journey into klezmer music, IN THE FIDDLERS HOUSE won the Rose d'Or Grand Prize at the Montreux International Festival, and IMAGE BEFORE MY EYES was awarded an Emmy and the Silver Ducat at the Mannheim Film Festival. Josh was Director of Editing, and Director of Filming Still Photos for THE ENDURANCE: SHACKLETON'S LEGENDARY ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, which won multiple honors, including the Chicago Film Critics Award, the National Board of Review Best Documentary, and audience awards from the Seattle International Film Festival, the Portland International Film Festival, the Hawaii International Film Festival, and the Florida Film Festival. Additionally, THE ENDURANCE was nominated for an ACE Eddy Award, and the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
Jenny Levison (Producer, Co-director) is a screenwriter, playwright, film producer and social justice activist. Jenny has worked for Red Fire Films, Stonestreet Studios, and Sara Colleton (THE PAINTED VEIL.) She produced NUESTRAS VOCES SE LEVANTAN PARA LA JUSTICIA, a CD of Mexican and Mexican American labor music; SHTIL, MAYN CORAZON - A YIDDISH TANGO CABARET; and the satiric media campaign BILLIONAIRES FOR BUSH (OR GORE). Jenny has fundraised for social justice and arts organizations from coast to coast. Jenny holds a BA in Anthropology from Bates College, and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.