THE BIG SWIM
Rachel (Kimberly Leemans) finds out she might have terminal breast cancer, travels to Mexico and with the help of a dive master, Luca (Falk Hentschel), decides to face her biggest fear... swimming with SHARKS!
Unlike Spielberg's mechanical shark, The Big Swim was filmed on location with wild bull sharks, without stunt doubles, cages, or special FX in Cozumel, Mexico. Starring the brave Kimberly Leemans (Walking Dead) and Falk Hentschel ('Hawkman' in Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, The Flash).
Featuring music by Peter Bradley Adams.
WINNER! Best Cinematography - Universal Film Festival
WINNER! Best Cinematography - Connect Fest Film Festival
WINNER! Jury Award - Lady Filmmakers Film Festival
WINNER! Award of Merit - IndieFest Film Festival
FINALIST! - Moondance Film Festival
Judges comments included:
"Great panoramic and ethereal shots that contributed to the warmth and sentimentality of the film."
"The film told a warm love story with a strong female protagonist facing her fears. If you don't feel it, then you're just cold."
"Visually stunning! The underwater scenes are gorgeous."
"Enjoyed the story and film, I was entertained and the story kept my interest."
"Solid 10 for cinematography and writing."
"Solid 10 for performances, pacing, sound and music and direction."
"A film with heart. It came off as steadily driven by sincerity and reflected real sentiment without giving into sentimentality."
"Good story. Good heart. Ace production value and drive."
Kimberly LeemansKey CastWalking Dead
Falk HentschelKey CastLegends of Tomorrow, Arrow, The Flash
Completion Date:June 15, 2016
Production Budget:30,000 USD
Country of Origin:United States
Country of Filming:Mexico, United States
Universal Film FestivalSt. Louis, MO
October 1, 2016
Best Cinematography Award
Lady FilmmakersLos Angeles
Award of Merrit
Calabasas Film Festival
Moondance Film Festival
LaFemme Film Festival
New York Film & TV Festival
Previous work includes Executive Producer on Hallmark Channel movie "Nearlyweds" starring Danielle Panabaker and Naomi Judd. Kat has also composed songs and score as well as acted and music supervised various film and television projects.
THE BIG SWIM marks Kat's directorial debut.
It is my hope that this little shark movie will have big fins and be seen by many. I created The Big Swim to inspire young women suffering with breast cancer as well as anyone contemplating taking a risk in their lives. This project came at a difficult time in my life when my path was changing dramatically and I was lost and terrified. I guess you can say that making this film was a personal cathartic experience. It was the most challenging and gratifying experience of my life. As a filmmaker, it was incredibly satisfying to pay homage to one of my favorite films, Jaws, as well as Wes Anderson's style of bright Technicolor art direction and distinct framing. In addition to the vibrancy that Mexico has to offer, you will notice the use of PINK in the film as a direct link to breast cancer.
I hope you will take the time to read the production notes in this press kit to learn more about the making of what everyone calls "that ambitious shark movie". They all thought I was in over my head as a first time director. Knowing I was going to film live sharks, shoot in another country with limited financial and technical resources, I said to myself, "This is it. Like Rachel in my story, I am taking a huge risk. If I succeed, it's all me. If I fail, it's all me. I am ready to dive deep and live."
I am extremely proud that most of my key crew are women including Fiorella Occhipinti (Director of Photography), Megan Woeppel (Producer), Eva Ceja (Casting), and Feriba Ayadi Karakoc (Editor). Yes this is a movie for women created by women. I did not set out to hire mostly women for this project, but I am honored that they were the best people for the job and fortunate for the hard work, passion and care they gave to birth my little shark baby.
After writing the script in Cozumel, I flew back to Los Angeles and staffed up. I knew it was going to take a talented dive-certified cast and crew with a unique skill set to pull this off. I had to trust that my actors could not only hit all the emotional points but could work with underwater blocking in a dangerous environment. Thankfully the talented and brave Kimberly Leemans (Walking Dead) and Falk Hentschel ('HAWKMAN' Legends of Tomorrow) fit the bill and eagerly jumped in. After a great deal of prep work, we managed to capture a film that is beautifully shot and tells a heartwarming slice of life love story.
I realize a 25 minute short might be a bit on the longer side for your short program but I am hopeful you will be impressed enough by our team's work as industrious filmmakers as well as connect to the film's message that you will help give this movie the exposure we all feel it deserves.