The triumph of a team. The legacy of change. In 1982, soon after the first Gay Games, 'West Hollywood Swim Club,' as it was known then, registered as the first openly gay masters swim and water polo club. This feature documentary film follows their battle for acceptance: from their humble beginnings, to how these men and women have become a renowned force fighting injustice in the world of competitive sports.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Lis Bartlett
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you! I have been a member of West Hollywood Aquatics for 7 years and after a few years on the team, I knew there was a story there. When I found out the history, I couldn't believe a documentary hadn't been made yet. Also, I've been swimming since 8th grade and telling the story of this team allowed me to write my own love letter to the sport.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
To understand a part of history and of the LGBTQ community that you might not have known about or thought of before, and to feel the warmth of a true story of hope and perseverance
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
With the love and empowerment that comes from community, everything is possible.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
When we started this project I wanted to profile the last 35 years of LGBTQ history through the lens of the team by hearing from as many different team members as possible. The film kept wanting to be historical, and after working closely with Editor Jim Cude over many months, the main story arc finally proved to be the early battle for acceptance. We had to cut so many powerful interviews and stories that we just didn't have time for.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It has been a thrill to show the movie in a TV version on Logo TV, and in Paris, Wichita, Glasgow, Edmonton, and now Palm Springs, and a handful of other cities coming up! Many people say they had never heard about Gay Games until now. Many people also thank me for making it and shining a light on this part of history that they feel deserves more attention. I think my favorite feedback so far has been from a young woman who said she felt after watching like she'd just been given a big hug.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Even though I myself didn't know about Gay Games until joining West Hollywood Aquatics, I am still surprised at the number of people who don't know anything about it, considering it has been a major international event for 36 years.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I'm excited to be part of this community, and I hope fellow indie filmmakers and film fans will read about it and try to see it or share it with someone they know who might be interested.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We are planning a national screening series, and looking for ambassadors in different cities across the country who would like to work with us to have a screening in their hometown.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I hope that people watch and gain understanding about the power of community and inclusivity to overcome tremendous difficulty.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How can we be more inclusive? Has the person next to you lived a powerful story you don't even know about?
Would you like to add anything else?
Thanks for reading and watching the trailer. If you like it, share it with people who might too.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am working on a multicultural docu-series about grandmothers cooking.
Interview: January 2019
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Light in the Water
The triumph of a team. The legacy of change.
Length: 75 min
Director: Lis Bartlett
Producer: Lis Bartlett, Nathan Santell
Writer: Lis Bartlett, James Cude
About the writer, director and producer:
This is LIS BARTLETT's first feature documentary as a Director. She has a passion for true stories and is happiest when she can immerse herself in projects that are meaningful, shining a light where its been dark.
Looking for: journalists, movie ambassadors
Funders: Logo TV, The City of West Hollywood, crowdfunding, West Hollywood Aquatics
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? Palm Springs International Film Festival, San Luis Obispo Film festival, Mardi Gras film fest in Sydney Australia, and there's a version on Logo TV. Stay tuned for a national screening series!