Watermarks

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Watermarks

Watermarks

Watermarks is the story of the champion women swimmers of the legendary Jewish sports club, Hakoah Vienna. Hakoah (”Strength” in Hebrew) was founded in 1909, in response to the notorious Aryan Paragraph, which most Austrian sports clubs adopted forbidding the acceptance of Jewish athletes as their members. Its founders were eager to popularize sport among a community renowned for such great minds as: Freud, Mahler, and Zweig, but traditionally alien to physical recreation. This was about to change. Hakoah rapidly grew into one of Europe’s biggest athletic clubs while achieving astonishing success in many diverse sports. In the 1930s Hakoah’s best-known triumphs came from its women swimmers who dominated national competitions in Austria. They were stripped of their medals when they refused to represent Austria in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. After the Anschluss, in 1938, the Nazis shut down the club but the swimmers all managed to flee the country just before the war broke out thanks to a Hakoah escape operation.

Sixty-five years later, director Yaron Zilberman meets the members of the swimming team in their homes around the world and arranges for them to have a reunion in their old swimming pool in Vienna. The journey evokes memories of youth and femininity as well as strengthening lifelong bonds. Told by the swimmers, now in their eighties, Watermarks is about a group of young girls with a passion to be the best. It is the saga of seven outstanding athletes who still swim daily as they age with grace.

Festivals and Awards:

Jerusalem International Film Festival, 2004 – Best Cinematography; Boston Jewish Film Festival, 2004 – Audience Award;  Viennale, 2004 – Honorable Mention; Washington Jewish Film Festival, 2004 – Audience Award; Israeli Academy Awards 2004 – Nominated for Best Documentary; Rencontres Internationales de Cinema, Paris, 2005 - Grand Prix du Public; New York Jewish Film Festival, 2005; Berlin Jewish Film Festival, 2005 – Best Israeli Film; HotDocs, 2005 – 2nd Audience Award; Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2005 – Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature; San Diego Jewish Film Festival, 2005 – Audience Award; Kiev Documentary International Film Festival, 2005 – Grand Prix; Portraits de Femmes La Seyne sur Mer 2005 - French Parliament Medal and Grand Prix; Docupolis Barcelona, 2005; Mostra de Valencia, 2005; Sao Paulo International Film Festival, 2005; Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, 2005.

Director: Yaron Zilberman

Producer: Yaron Zilberman, Philippa Kowarsky, Paul Rozenberg, Yonatan Israel

Production Company: Yofi Films, Cinephil, Zadig Productions

Cinematographer: Tom Horwitz

Editor: Ruben Kornfeld, Yuval Sher

Original Soundtrack: Uri Cane

Supporter(s): The New Fund for Cinema and Television (NFCT); HBO

Distributor: Cinephil

Subtitles: English, Hebrew

Film Name in Hebrew: הכח לשחות

Watermarks is the story of the champion women swimmers of the legendary Jewish sports club, Hakoah Vienna. Hakoah (”Strength” in Hebrew) was founded in 1909, in response to the notorious Aryan Paragraph, which most Austrian sports clubs adopted forbidding the acceptance of Jewish athletes as their members. Its founders were eager to popularize sport among a community renowned for such great minds as: Freud, Mahler, and Zweig, but traditionally alien to physical recreation. This was about to change. Hakoah rapidly grew into one of Europe’s biggest athletic clubs while achieving astonishing success in many diverse sports. In the 1930s Hakoah’s best-known triumphs came from its women swimmers who dominated national competitions in Austria. They were stripped of their medals when they refused to represent Austria in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. After the Anschluss, in 1938, the Nazis shut down the club but the swimmers all managed to flee the country just before the war broke out thanks to a Hakoah escape operation.

Sixty-five years later, director Yaron Zilberman meets the members of the swimming team in their homes around the world and arranges for them to have a reunion in their old swimming pool in Vienna. The journey evokes memories of youth and femininity as well as strengthening lifelong bonds. Told by the swimmers, now in their eighties, Watermarks is about a group of young girls with a passion to be the best. It is the saga of seven outstanding athletes who still swim daily as they age with grace.

Festivals and Awards:

Jerusalem International Film Festival, 2004 – Best Cinematography; Boston Jewish Film Festival, 2004 – Audience Award;  Viennale, 2004 – Honorable Mention; Washington Jewish Film Festival, 2004 – Audience Award; Israeli Academy Awards 2004 – Nominated for Best Documentary; Rencontres Internationales de Cinema, Paris, 2005 - Grand Prix du Public; New York Jewish Film Festival, 2005; Berlin Jewish Film Festival, 2005 – Best Israeli Film; HotDocs, 2005 – 2nd Audience Award; Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2005 – Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature; San Diego Jewish Film Festival, 2005 – Audience Award; Kiev Documentary International Film Festival, 2005 – Grand Prix; Portraits de Femmes La Seyne sur Mer 2005 - French Parliament Medal and Grand Prix; Docupolis Barcelona, 2005; Mostra de Valencia, 2005; Sao Paulo International Film Festival, 2005; Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, 2005.

Director: Yaron Zilberman

Producer: Yaron Zilberman, Philippa Kowarsky, Paul Rozenberg, Yonatan Israel

Production Company: Yofi Films, Cinephil, Zadig Productions

Cinematographer: Tom Horwitz

Editor: Ruben Kornfeld, Yuval Sher

Original Soundtrack: Uri Cane

Supporter(s): The New Fund for Cinema and Television (NFCT); HBO

Distributor: Cinephil

Subtitles: English, Hebrew

Film Name in Hebrew: הכח לשחות

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