Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers #51: Ruben Amar and Lola Bessis Tell a Dreamlike Story in ‘Swim Little Fish Swim’

Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers #51: Ruben Amar and Lola Bessis Tell a Dreamlike Story in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'
Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers #51: Ruben Amar and Lola Bessis Tell Dreamlike Story 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

The creative pair behind “Swim Little Fish Swim,” Ruben Amar and Lola Bessis, split their time between New York and Paris. Amar is a French filmmaker who has produced and directed six
short films shot in London, New York, Paris, Israel and Palestine that
have been selected at 150+ festivals around the world, and broadcasted
on several TV channels. Bessis is a 23-year-old French filmmaker and actress. She attended
UCL (London), The New School and NYU. She has worked on
several documentaries and TV shows, and co-wrote the short film
“Checkpoint.” This is the first feature film for the pair.

What it’s about:  Swim Little Fish Swim is about the journey from childhood to
adulthood. It’s a surreal, dreamlike story filled with unusual
characters, art and magic tricks.

What it’s really about: The main idea was to get the 3 main characters to live together in order
to observe them closely, using the camera as a microscope. We wanted to
create a situation that would favor experimentation and lead to the
moment when the lives of these characters would finally fall into place.
We wanted to show how their proximity could trigger the epiphanies that
would enable them to move forward.  The film is about the difficulty of achieving personal fulfillment as an
artist and the desire to be accepted and recognized by the people we
love. We feel close to this specific theme and draw parallels with our
personal experiences as filmmakers.

What they hope audiences to come away with: We’d like the audience to feel all the energy we felt making this film
and to be touched by the characters and the amazing actors that managed
to make them feel truly real.

Films that inspire them:  “We’ve always been passionate about the work of powerful
independent New York filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, John Cassavetes
and Spike Lee. We love She’s Gotta Have It, Down By Law, Shadows… Yet,
we’ve not been inspired by one particular movie, but we wanted to shoot a
very New York movie, putting our own feeling of the city into it. That
said we really love French directors too, especially Raymond Depardon,
Alain Cavalier, Eric Rohmer and the French New Wave in general.”

What’s next for Lola: “I have 3 feature film projects: a multi-plot dramatic
comedy; a drama about loneliness that takes place in Paris (that I’m
co-writing with Ruben) and a road movie about two lost souls getting

What’s next for Ruben: “I have 2 feature film projects: a drama about sexual tensions and
jealousy (that I’m co-writing with Lola) and a dark comedy/fantasy.”

invited SXSW Film Festival directors to tell us about their films,
including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re
doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on March 8 for the latest profiles.

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.