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We the Bathers

In this short documentary, fourteen people from across the world reveal their unique connection to water. We the Bathers holds up an intimate lens to a series of disparate lives, leading us to consider how our bathing rituals might be shaped by our identities.

Through a startling juxtaposition of circumstances, from a grieving widower in East London, to a transgender sex worker in Sicily, to a Buddhist monk in Japan, each person is given a platform to speak candidly about their experiences without restraint.

Water is life.

  • Phoebe Arnstein
    The Dog with the Woman
  • Basil Stephens
  • Amelia Hazlerigg
  • James Smith-Rewse
    Sound Recordists
  • Mamoru Kawaji
    Sound Recordists
  • Max McNeilly
    Sound Recordists
  • James Smith-Rewse
  • Mcasso
    Music & Sound Design
  • Danielle Smith-Rewse
    Associate Producers
  • Natasha Jarvis
    Associate Producers
  • Takane Oura
    Field Producers
  • Tabs Breese
    Field Producers
  • Andrea Gambadoro
    Field Producers
  • Jack Constantine
    Executive Producer
  • Hannah Johnston-Cree
    Executive Producer support and PR
  • Tom Griffiths
    Creative Leads
  • David Eveleigh-Evans
    Creative Leads
  • Tim Smith
  • Cheat
    Grading Company
  • Richard Atkinson
  • Tom Martin
    Audio Post Production
  • Erik Hedman
  • Vaia Ikonomou
    Lush Producer
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes 22 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 18, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States
  • Language:
    English, French, Italian, Japanese, Navajo, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Spotlight Documentary Awards 2019
    Atlanta Georgia
    January 11, 2020
    Gold Award
  • Vimeo Awards 2019
    New York
    United States
    January 11, 2020
    Nominated for Best Documentary
  • Annual Copenhagen Film Festival 2020
    March 13, 2020
    Nominated for Best Short Documentary
Director Biography - Phoebe Arnstein

Phoebe’s worldview is seen through empathetic and curious eyes. She possesses a strong visual language that exhibits a subtle and intelligent sense of the human condition and she has the unique ability to elevate the everyday to a place that is poignant.

Phoebe's work crosses short films, commercial content and music promos. Her short 'The Dog with the Woman' won the audience choice award at San Diego International Film Festival of 2017 and has been included in the Top Ten Audience Voting Awards at the British Short Film Festival in Berlin. She is currently in development with her debut feature.

For many years Phoebe worked as a 2nd Assistant Camera in film and television before becoming a director and it was on these high profile film sets that she nurtured her craft.

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Director Statement

Humans are drawn to water for reasons that extend beyond the basic instinct to survive. To what extent is our relationship with water emotional and how does this differ around the world?

With this objective I began a deeply intimate journey into the interior lives of a group of people to uncover their private ruminations, testimonies and personal revelations. Each bathing environment provided a space, much like a therapists room, into which I could step and listen to the stories these people had to share.

I discovered that the act of bathing appeared to be an important part of emotional management, especially those challenged by social issues such as depression, homelessness and racism. Making this film opened my eyes to the depth of our connection with water and it’s powerful role in our lives.