The Shallow End

Basking in the sunny glow of Reagan's America, a group of 14-year-old girls jockey for power at a community swimming pool.

  • Cynthia Silver
  • Wendy MacLeod
  • Julia Kennelly
  • Paul Marcarelli
  • Cynthia Silver
  • Zoe Wilson
    Key Cast
  • Zoe Manarel
    Key Cast
  • Parker Winston
    Key Cast
  • Sanai James
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    comedy, drama, teen, coming of age
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 21 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 15, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Adirondack Film Festival
    Glens Falls, NY
    October 18, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Indie Memphis Film Festival
    Memphis, TN
    November 1, 2019
    Official Selection
  • IndieWorks
    November 19, 2019
    Best of Fest, Best Director Awards
  • NewFilmmakers NY
    January 8, 2020
    Official Selection
  • NY Indie Theatre Film Festival
    February 7, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Queens World Film Festival
    Official Selection
  • CASCADIA Int'l Women's Film Festival
    Bellingham, WA
    Official Selection
  • LA Int'l Children's Film Festival
    Los Angeles, CA
    Official Selection
  • New York No Limits
    Best of Fest
  • Deep Cut Film Festival

    Drama Award
  • LA Femme Film Festival
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Long Island Int'l Film Expo
  • LA Shorts
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Chelsea Film Festival
  • Revolution Me Film Festival
    Best Director, Best Youth Performance (Parker Winston)
  • SOHO Int'l Film Festival
  • Female Voices Rock Film Festival
    Rebel Award
  • San Diego Int'l Kids' Film Festival
    San Diego, CA
Director Biography - Cynthia Silver

Cynthia Silver is an NYC-based stage & film director and acting teacher who was one of ten filmmakers selected to participate in the 2019 THROUGH HER LENS: The Tribeca CHANEL Women's Filmmaker Program.

Cynthia began her artistic career training at New York City’s Atlantic Acting School where she is now a faculty member and earned her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her filmmaking is a culmination of twenty-five years of acting, directing, and teaching. It is with former students and many longtime theatre colleagues that Cynthia made the award-winning shorts SLEEP TRAINING, SIBS, CHEMISTRY, and the short form series ADULT, all of which have screened at a wide range of festivals throughout North America.

Cynthia’s most recent short film, THE SHALLOW END, written by acclaimed playwright Wendy MacLeod and based on her one-act play of the same title, was an Official Selection at the 2019 Adirondack Film Festival, Indie Memphis Film Festival, the recipient of the Silver Whiskers Award at IndieWorks NY, and will continue its festival run in 2020. She is currently in development for MELISSA, her second collaboration with writer and lead actor of CHEMISTRY, Charlotte Martin.

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Cynthia lives in Manhattan with her husband Matt and their daughter Sadie.

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Director Statement

“…the past is here, you know?...
We can reinvent the past.” –Agnes Varda

I have been wanting to make this film since I directed it as a one-act play in 2010. As a GenX woman who was an adolescent in the mid-80's and at the mercy of the ringleader of the popular clique, it very much struck a nerve. I was so tortured by the desire to belong that I used to go to bed at night praying to wake up shallow. It took me years, more than I care to admit, to cultivate the courage to step away from the shallow end and be fully liberated from the opinions of those that still dwell in it. I set out to make this film to reclaim the narrative of those very painful years of my life and reframe it from the point of view of the woman that I have become. What I didn't anticipate is how much more was in store for me.

During prep for last summer’s shoot, I revisited many of the films of my youth, as I also wanted to pay homage to those films that had meant so much to me during those tumultuous years of being in and out of social exile. In many cases, I was horrified to discover just what I had been nostalgic for. So many films that I thought had provided me comfort and refuge and a much-needed laugh relied heavily on the exploitation, marginalization, and sometimes the sexual assault of women to be at the center of their joke. And it wasn't just at the hand of the male characters. The female characters were just as willing to take down another woman, either in the interest of winning the affections of a man, OR to be anointed by the most popular girl who usually functioned as a foot soldier of the Patriarchy. It became even more important to make a film I only wish my 13-year old self had seen while growing up in the 80s.

While we were shooting, the Brett Kavanaugh allegations broke. Suddenly this little film about a group of girls jockeying for power around a community swimming pool felt much bigger than my own personal reckoning as I wondered WHAT IF my peers and I had seen more films like The Shallow End during our own coming-of-age? What would it have been like to have been messaged so much sooner to listen and give voice to our intuitions and amplify each other's voices by LIFTING EACH OTHER UP rather than tearing each other down? While I am grateful many women are finally waking up, I can't help but wonder what our world would be like today had we gotten the memo a hell of a lot sooner. So, this film is no longer just for me. Nor is it solely for the women of my generation. It's also for the generation of women that we are now raising, with the assurance that we will never, ever, EVER go back.

Cynthia Silver
July, 2019
New York City