Treading Water

Music by
Kristopher Carter

Christmas in New England is the setting for this thoughtful drama from Bay Area filmmaker Lauren Himmel. TREADING WATER follows Casey and Alex, two passionate lovers who are forging a rich and untraditional life together in a small coastal town. But their seemingly committed relationship is rocked by undercurrents of turmoil, as Casey grapples with her homophobic mother and her family’s overall dysfunction. A boat builder and fisherman, Casey lives in sharp contrast to her wealthy, provincial family across the bay. She and Alex cherish their home (a restored fishing boat) and their modest life together, but every year Christmastime brings trouble. Casey’s mother refuses to meet Alex, and holidays past have meant that Casey must spend the traditional Christmas Eve dinner alone with her family, not allowed to even mention Alex’s name. When Casey refuses to attend this year’s festivities without her partner, her family’s tightly wound secrecy and silence begin to unravel. The family gathering is also haunted by the pain of one of Casey’s brothers, still tormented over the accidental drowning of his best friend years ago, and by the self-destruction of another brother. Guilt and alienation build into a bittersweet climax, where the family must face its demons and Casey must learn what “family” really means to her. Despite the heavy subject matter, Himmel brings a gentle, at times comical, touch to this poignant family portrait.

Directed by
Lauren Himmel

Written by
Julia Hollinger

Produced by
Lauren Himmel (producer)
Julia Hollinger (co-producer)
Ole Marius Norvik (associate producer)
Brian Robel (line producer)
Kristen Vermilyea (associate producer)

Original Music by
Kristopher Carter

Winner—L.A. Outfest, 2001
Emerging Talent 

Winner—Long Island Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, 2002
Best Feature Debut (Jury Award)

Winner—Santa Cruz Film Festival, 2002
Best Emerging Filmmaker

Nominee—Torino International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, 2002
Best Feature Film