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Q&A: Ruben Amar & Lola Bessis, Writers/Directors of SWIM LITTLE FISH SWIM

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)

by Daniel Quitério

Life in New York City can be hard, especially for young artists on the verge of self-discovery. But with an abounding energy and “magical atmosphere,” as described by French-born filmmakers Ruben Amar and Lola Bessis, it’s, perhaps, the ideal setting for an individual to come of age. Amar’s and Bessis’s feature debut, Swim Little Fish Swim, captures the difficult reality often faced by idealistic artists—striking a balance between an uncompromised art and the economics necessary to survive in an increasingly expensive city.

In Swim Little Fish Swim, the multi-hyphenate filmmakers (Amar and Bessis both wrote, directed, and produced the film; Bessis also stars) tell the story of musician Leeward (Dustin Guy Defa) and his more practical wife, a nurse named Mary (Brooke Bloom). The couple struggles in raising a young child in an unforgiving city, let alone hosting young French artist Lilas (Bessis), who has problems of her own.

Although Amar and Bessis have collaborated on several short films in the past, Swim Little Fish Swim represents new territory for the duo. Coming off a successful festival fun (including a win for Best Film at Gen Art Film Festival and a nomination for the Grand Jury Award at SXSW), the feature opened in New York City’s Cinema Village on September 19, with a limited rollout to follow (including Los Angeles and Chicago on September 26 and Seattle on October 24). I recently had the opportunity to conduct an interview via e-mail with Amar and Bessis, who provided joint responses to questions regarding the film, their collaboration, and their impressions of New York City.

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