The Batte Center Presents: A Southern Circuit Film: Swim Team

Mar 20
Tue @ 7:00 pm
A Southern Circuit Film: Swim Team
March 20, 2018
Tue at 7:00 pm
The Batte Center & Union County Community Arts Council
McGee Theatre

What would you do if your community gave up on your child? In New Jersey, the parents of one autistic boy take matters into their own hands. They form a competitive swim team, recruiting multiethnic autistic teens and training them with high expectations and zero pity. Swim Team chronicles the extraordinary rise of the Jersey Hammerheads, capturing a moving quest for inclusion, independence and a life that feels winning.

Filmmaker Lara Stolman will be present for the film screening and engage audiences in a question and answer session afterwards.



The Southern Circuit is the South’s only tour of emerging and respected filmmakers, providing communities with a free and interactive way of experiencing independent film. The Circuit presents filmmakers screening and discussing their work with campus and community audiences. 



Filmmaker Statement:

“When people ask me how I found the story of SWIM TEAM, I say it found me. Children with developmental disabilities are routinely excluded from community activities, often as early as preschool. Being told "no," - your child can't be in the regular class, your child wont keep up in little league, your child isn't going to college - is something families caring for children with disabilities hear often.

Since children on the spectrum are particularly prone to drowning, swimming is a crucial skill but it's not easy to find appropriate teachers and programs willing to take on an autistic child. While exploring swim lessons for my own children, I stumbled upon the Jersey Hammerheads, an all-autistic team in formation and I was immediately struck by the energy and optimism of the families that were coming together to form the team. Some of the kids were teenagers and had never been on a sports team before. And some couldn't yet swim.

With the Hammerheads families, I had found a group of parents who refused to take no for an answer. They were saying YES and as a community, it was galvanizing for them. As a mother, I was so personally inspired by what they hoped to accomplish, I knew I had to share their story. I hope my film provides inspiration for families everywhere raising children with unanticipated challenges.”

[Source: Lara Stolman, Press Kit]


Quotes about Film:

"Eye-opening, thoughtful, inspiring..." – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“An exceptional documentary on what it means to come together for a common goal under extraordinary circumstances…” – Anne-Katrin Titze, Eye For Film

“Poignantly powerful…” – Bob Makin, My Central NJ/ Home News Tribune

"Heartwarming, inspirational and incredibly informative." – Alex Biese, Asbury Park Press

"A film that gives us a rare window into the essence of the heartbreak of families coping with autism, and the exhilarating healing powers of their love and devotion.” – Glenn Fennelly, MD, MPH, Professor and Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

“Swim Team plunges viewers into the world of young men on the autism spectrum as they compete against other teams and race against the clock in their transition towards adulthood. A touching and real look at what young adults on the autism spectrum and their families are capable of and the challenges they face.” – Suzanne Buchanan, Psy. D. BCBA-D, Executive Director, Autism NJ

"Many swimmers, coaches, and teams are hungry for the next inspiring, heart-wrenching film to come along and make them laugh, cry, and shout “KICK!” at the screen. Now your wishes have been fulfilled." – Hannah Hecht, Swim Swam


Running Time: 1:30:00

Genre: Documentary