After SXSW, Ruben Amar and Lola Bessis debut feature film Swim Little Fish Swim will be screened at the Maryland Film Festival and the Northside Festival (NY PREMIERE – CLOSING NIGHT FILM). Please see below for times.

The film stars multi-awarded director Dustin Guy Defa (Bad Fever, Richard’s Wedding, Red Flag), Anne Consigny (The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, A Christmas Tale), Brooke Bloom (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Gabi On The Roof in July, He’s Just Not That Into You) and co-director Lola Bessis (who makes her first appearance as an actress).

The film is set in the contemporary New York art and music worlds and features music and performances by a number of New York musicians. Colin Summers and Alec Betterley of the Brooklyn-based psych pop band The Toys and Tiny Instruments perform their own music in the film, which also features original music from Queens-based singer/songwriter Candace Lee, who makes an appearance as an open mic singer. Penn Sultan, front man of the indie-folk band Last Good Tooth, also wrote and composed an original song for the film.

Swim Little Fish Swim is produced, directed and written by Lola Bessis and Ruben Amar. Brett Jutkiewicz, whose credits include Go Get Some Rosemary and The Pleasure of Being Robbed, is the film’s cinematographer. The film was shot in New York City and Paris. The runtime is 95 minutes. Paradigm is handling domestic rights for the film.


‘Unique cinematic language… utterly impossible not to fall in love with’



‘Suggests Tiny Furniture with a French twist…  persistently charming’





‘Gorgeous photography, solid performances and an absolutely killer soundtrack’


‘Vibrant… A Sincere Look At The Stubbornness Of Artists’




Maggie? Rainbow? Leeward (Defa) and Mary (Bloom) cannot even agree on their three year old daughter’s name anymore.

Mary is a hardworking nurse who dreams of only one thing: changing her life around. She resents her husband for being an irresponsible, overgrown adolescent, unable to handle his responsibilities. Leeward is an marginal, idealistic musician who fancies himself a misunderstood artist and a New Age visionary.

Enter Lilas (Bessis), a 19-year-old French artist trying to make it in New York and and escape the shadow of her famous painter mother (Consigny).

When the bubbly young woman moves into the couple’s tiny Chinatown apartment, their already fragile balance is upset even further.

Full of art, music and everyday magic, Swim Little Fish Swim is a dreamlike journey from childhood to adulthood.



After making several short films in New York, we moved to the city three years ago. We became so fascinated by its magical atmosphere, its energy and its cinematographic potential that we deeply felt the need to capture it. In addition to filming every detail of the city, we began to write a story inspired by what we observed. One day, in Brooklyn, we saw a fringe musician playing with crazy instruments. His wife was in attendance. There and then, we started to imagine what their life could be like. After a few days of fantasizing and mixing what we imagined with our own experience, our story came to life.

It deals with three characters, all at a crossroads in their lives and about the difficulties of achieving personal fulfillment, a theme we feel close to as filmmakers.

The main idea was to get these 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 experiment and to observe how the characters’ proximity could trigger a synchronized epiphany that would enable them to move forward.

We aimed at realistically depicting snapshots from the lives of these people. This thirst of realism is what led us to bring the actors into the creative process. We set up role-playing games and improvisational workshops that gave birth to strong, lively dialogue.

With Swim Little Fish Swim, we aimed at making a movie people could feel close to; fresh and real with a hint of surrealism— kind of like life, in the end.



Lola Bessis and Ruben Amar are a couple in life and at work.

They both wrote, directed and produced several short films before starting their collaboration in 2010 with their multi-awarded short film Checkpoint which was selected at more than 100 renowned festivals around the world.

Following this success, they founded their own production company Les Films de la Fusée through which they self-produced their first feature film Swim Little Fish Swim.

Bessis, who was 21 at the time of filming, also stars as Lilas, making her first appearance as an actress.

Swim Little Fish Swim premiered at SXSW’13 in the narrative feature competition.

The French pair moved to New York three years ago.




May 10, 2:30 pm           CharlesTheater 5                                    Baltimore, MD
May 11, 5:30 pm           Charles Theater 5                                    Baltimore, MD


June 20, Closing Night Film      Wythe Hotel                              Brooklyn, NY




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Press release provided by Les Films de la Fusee


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