New short film ‘Swim’ is a story of identity and acceptance from award-winning director Michael Gamarano Singleton. Starring Omari Douglas, the BAFTA-nominated actor from hit HBO/C4 TV series ‘It’s A Sin’, and Chris Jenks, who plays Steve in the Netflix smash ‘Sex Education’, it celebrates the LGBTQAI+ community. The team behind it hope it will help increase on-screen visibility and representation.
The story is told from the perspective of two young men who form a relationship via a common interest, swimming. Their shared passion is the spark of a seemingly special friendship, which is tested when their true identities are finally revealed. Sid and Luke are instantly drawn to each other when they meet during their weekly swimming sessions, and a great bond is formed. Over the weeks the friendship blossoms, with Luke’s competitiveness and Sid’s humour proving to be a brilliant match. Eventually Luke invites Sid for a drink with his friends.
When Sid’s true identity is revealed and Luke’s false assumptions of who his friend is are shattered, it leads to the destruction of a wonderful relationship, leaving Luke shocked and Sid hurt.
Michael Gamarano Singleton is a half-Brazilian, half-English writer, director and producer. His work often revolves around social issues designed to make audiences think. One of his short films, ‘Two Sides’, won six industry awards, including the best director prize at the Fort McMurray Film Festival. His latest short, ‘Denzel’, also won multiple awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at the 35th Edmonton Film Festival, officially qualifying it for consideration for an Academy Award.
Singleton believes ‘Swim’ is important as it explores issues in the LGBTQAI+ community such as identity, diversity and acceptance. He hopes that ‘Swim’ will challenge the audience to really question themselves when tested against social stigma and peer pressure; it aims to battle the stereotyping of gender and sexuality and highlight the importance of acceptance.
Writer Ronan McCabe was inspired to write the film based on his own personal experiences. He said: “With this story, I want to highlight the fact that sexuality is sexuality and not personality, and to encourage people to look beyond our labels. It’s a part of who we are, not our entirety.
“Secondly, I’d love people to feel part of the growing friendship, to put themselves in the position of the characters and question things! Questions are brilliant, questions are wonderful and questions spark conversations that will lead to more visibility and normalising the LGBTQAI+ community. I’m passionate about telling new stories that give a voice to more people from my great community.”
Singleton added: “I like to tell stories that revolve around social issues and that make audiences think about their day-to-day lives and the impact they have on others. My previous films have touched on subjects ranging from homelessness and self-worth to disability and self-acceptance.”
‘Swim’ has been submitted to all the major Academy and BAFTA-qualifying film festivals, as well as those that focus on the LGBTQAI+ community. The aim is for the film to qualify for a BAFTA or/and Academy Award nomination, and with such a strong production team and star leads, hopes are high.