Festivals
Awards
Grand Jury Prize for Best New American Film – Seattle International Film Festival

Finalist for the Humanitas Prize – Sundance Film Festival

Best American Independent Film – Festroia International Film Festival ( Spain)

Best Actor (Robert Knott) – Cartagena Film Festival ( Columbia)

Best Director and Best Narrative Feature – Savannah Film Festival

Special Feature Jury Award – Best Ensemble Cast – Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival

Festival Reviews
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

“A uniquely American story that combines an Arthur Miller sense of drama with emotive Edward Hopperesque photography. ‘Swimmers’ draws us in as naturally as the tide with the sharp reflections of its truth and humanity… Filmmaker Doug Sadler’s deep appreciation for the complexities of simple rural life is passed effortlessly on to his acclaimed cast.”

SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

“We have decided to award this year’s New American Cinema prize to Doug Sadler’s ‘Swimmers’ in recognition of its intelligent, emotional perspective on American family. With a screenplay that sidesteps convention (while honoring a certain classicism of storytelling) and performances that do justice to their characters’ often-surprising patterns of behavior, ‘Swimmers’ shows us a working class family from the American South that transcends discussions of Red States and Blue States, focusing instead on the infinitely more complex, beautiful, and rewarding inner life of real human beings, proving that ordinary people are always the most compelling characters.”

AFI FILM FESTIVAL

“Wide-eyed newcomer Tara Devon Gallagher anchors a sterling cast in this powerful drama from writer/director Doug Sadler….A lyrical score and jewel-like cinematography heavy on sunsets and water imagery provide the backdrop for Sadler’s direction, which is offbeat at times but never fussy…Gallagher’s vibrant voice-over narration perfectly captures the film’s creative essence.”

HAMBURG FILM FESTIVAL ( Germany)

“Ever so often, someone comes up with one of those little cinematic gems that seem to shed new light on our existence. This is one of them.”

DENVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

“’Swimmers’ is a poetic illumination of the strength and delicacy of family….The lush, ominous cinematography of Rodney Taylor adds a touch of the sublime. Told from Emma’s imaginative perspective, director Doug Sadler delivers a subtle, yet daring and superbly acted drama about pain and healing….A masterful lead performance by [Tara Devon] Gallagher conveys a child’s wisdom and suffering that is often lost on the grown up world.”

GALWAY FILM FESTIVAL ( Ireland)

“’Swimmers’ is a raw and riveting family drama.”

VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

“Director Doug Sadler has fashioned a nuanced portrait of a people and a place on the edge of change…..[He] has a keen eye for the slow rhythms of rural life, such a the quiet evenings and early mornings of men who make their living on the ocean. With references to Terrence Malick and other chroniclers of thee American heartland, this powerful film has note-perfect performances and a gentle lyricism that underscores ugly undercurrents, both out on the water and in the more immediate realm of the kitchen table.”

WATERFRONT FILM FESTIVAL ( Michigan)

“A bold and superbly acted drama about love and longing in times of crisis.”

MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL

“This beautiful film – scripted, shot and acted with extraordinary skill – explores characters most movies sadly overlook: ordinary people doing the best that they can in tough circumstances.”

SAVANNAH FILM FESTIVAL

“Exploring the themes of survival and redemption, ‘Swimmers’ is an intimate look at the strength and delicacy of nature, family and the costs of a fracturing American Dream.”

HAMPTONS FILM FESTIVAL

“Powerfully acted and intimately felt, ‘Swimmers’ sensitively captures the throes of familial conflict and the vulnerable places where young girls, as well as adults, often dwell.”

VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL

“’Swimmers’ is a fiercely intimate look at the strength and delicacy of family and an eloquent paean to the lifestyle of the Chesapeake waterman. Ultimately, the film illuminates the lives of people for whom survival and redemption often require heartbreaking negotiation with their daily hopes and fears. Sadler, who has been compared favorably to Mike Leigh, brings an intimate understanding of this balance between man and his surroundings.”

BOSTON FILM FESTIVAL

“Set in a fishing community on the Chesapeake Bay, ‘Swimmers’ is about the power of friendship and the depths of human resilience in the face of a fracturing American dream.”

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