Feature Film: Swim Team

As Seen On


What would you do if your community gave up on your child?

In New Jersey, the parents of a boy on the autism spectrum take matters into their own hands. They form a competitive swim team, recruiting diverse teens on the spectrum 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.

Swim Team has screened at over 50 international film festivals, won 14 awards, was released theatrically with its debut at New York’s IFC Center, was broadcast on PBS’ acclaimed non-fiction showcase POV and streamed on Netflix.

Swim Team has also screened in community and corporate settings all over the world.

Swim Team the Film
Ella Taylor, NPR“Swim Team” is long enough to break and warm your heart in equal measure – which is about what you’d expect from a documentary about teenagers with autism who are training to compete in the Special Olympics. Read more…
Jennie Kermode, Eye for FilmWell paced and well produced, “Swim Team” is engaging throughout and would be easy to enjoy as light viewing, but there’s more going on beneath the surface. Read more…
Barbara Shulgasser, Common Sense MediaAn inspiring documentary about a team of swimmers with autism who are coached by a remarkable, devoted couple who taught their own son with autism to swim, helping him achieve more than doctors predicted. Read more…
Sheri Linden, Hollywood ReporterAn eye-opening look at one couple’s response to the dearth of public services, therapies and programs for their son. Read more…
Robert Abele, Los Angeles TimesThe breaststroking, freestyling young athletes in “Swim Team” couldn’t be more different in terms of personality, drive, appeal and, of course, developmental challenges, and it gives this film from Lara Stolman its particular character, heart and verve. Read more…
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-LedgerThis isn’t “just” a film about special needs. It’s about special kids – and the very special adults who advocate for them. Read more…
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com“Swim Team” is a sports movie full of familiar highs and lows, great expectations and come-from-behind victories. Read more…
Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times“Swim Team” mostly aims to educate and inspire; on those counts, it succeeds. Read more…


2018 Winner, Christopher Award

2018 Winner, Festival Favorite, Festival International Du Film Sur Les Handicaps

2018 Winner, Guirlande d’Honneur, FICTS

2017 Winner, Audience Award, Lighthouse International Film Festival

2017 Winner, Award of Merit, Impact Docs Awards

2017 Winner, Best Cinematography, Wales International Doc Fest

2017 Winner, Best Documentary, Autfest International Film Festival

2017 Winner, Human Spirit Award, Nashville Film Festival

2017 Winner, Jury Prize for Ethos, Social Impact Media Awards

2017 Winner, NJ Films Competition, Montclair Film

2016 Winner, Audience Award, Monmouth Film Festival

2016 Winner, Best New Jersey Film, Monmouth Film Festival

2016 Winner, Best Documentary over 60 Minutes, Picture This Film Festival

2016 Winner, Best Sports Documentary, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

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Journalists and students of journalism joined an experience-sharing workshop in Addis Ababa on investigative journalism, fact checking, and mis/disinformation with Lara Stolman, an award-winning American writer, producer, and director.

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