"I think I became a better teacher and a better father by having an autistic son" ~ Coach Mike, Jersey Hammerheads
Demonstrating the power of inclusion to transcend disability, Director Lara Stolman's triumphant film profiles members of the Jersey Hammerheads, a competitive swim team made up of a diverse group of teens on the autism spectrum, based in the state with the highest rate of autism in the USA. Through training and competition, star athletes Mikey, Robbie and Kelvin gain self-confidence and social skills that serve them both in and out of the pool.
"Eye-opening, thoughtful, inspiring..."
Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
"...an exceptional documentary on what it means to come together for a common goal under extraordinary circumstances."
Anne-Katrin Titze, Eye For Film
"Swim Team is a probing, honest, and uplifting look at the challenges that young autistic people and their families face as they "age out" of services after high school. It's also a beautifully filmed and sensitively paced portrait of a group of autistic people of color who give their all to take their team to the state finals for a chance to swim at the Special Olympics. You will not soon forget these wonderful young swimmers, or the struggles of their parents as they refuse to allow their kids' potential to be limited by society's low expectations for their future."
Steve Silberman Author. NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
Liz Gosper, Special Education teacher and Triathlon Australia coach, was recently awarded School Sport Victoria Outstanding Teacher, Victorian Triathlon Age Coach, and joint Australian Triathlon Coach of the year. She is teacher of Fitness at a Specialist School and owner of Inclusive Sports Training. IST caters for children and young adults with Learning Difficulties, or a mild Intellectual Disability. Her athletes train in swimming, cycling and running to compete in Triathlons, Duathlons, and swim, cycle and run events. The athletes have represented Victoria in Athletics Victoria Para Track and Field and Cross Country teams, Triathlon Victoria State development squad, Inclusive Sports Training Masters Swimming, Special Olympics and much more. Liz has run Training camps for her athletes in Thailand and parent squads have developed from this. Her focus is on training like minded athletes together with specialists coaches and entering mainstream competitions as Multiclass or Para divisions. The social impact from her squads has developed firm friendships of both athletes and parents. Liz is passionate about post school opportunities and this year with her initiative a course was established at Polytechnic Victoria University in Work Education with a focus on sport.
Penny Robinson is a Lecturer at Monash University in public health and biostatistics. She was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 14 (in Year 9) - almost 21 years ago.
Penny is an autistic advocate and an Ambassador of The I CAN Network, Yellow Ladybugs and Aspergers Victoria. She's very active on Twitter (you can follow her at @PennyRobaus) about all things public health and autism. She often live tweets seminars & conferences she attends - earning her the "Twitter Queen" title.
At the Asia-Pacific Autism Conference in Brisbane in 2015, she got the nickname "hoodie girl" after an image of a sensory overload incident (while speaking as an invited speaker) went "viral". You can read the full story here: http://sphpm.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/penny-at-apac-story-behind-hoodie-girl.html
About the event
Through thought-provoking events that inspire action, and using the power of film to illuminate the issues of our time, Suburban Sandcastles is a movement for people seeking to live with their minds opened by wonder, not closed by belief. Join us at Shirley Burke Theatre in Parkdale, Bayside Melbourne for a nourishing meal, fresh juice, wholefood snacks, beer and wine, all available for purchase before the film. Connect with our community and explore what's on offer from our wellness and lifestyle exhibitors.
5.45pm doors open, nourishing food and drink available, local exhibitors
6.45pm film commences
8.30pm Q&A panel
9.00pm event concludes