About the courage to learn something new

Project of the Month: Swim


The animation short Swim is about an elderly lady who, equipped with swimming tires, water wings and swimming goggles, makes her way to the beach to learn how to swim.

After the first hesitation, she is involuntarily caught by a wave and finds herself being washed into the sea. In panic, she tries to keep herself afloat, but is then crushed by the water masses and torn into the depths of the sea. Slowly she sinks deeper and deeper to the sea floor and is in danger of drowning...




Director Maike Mahira Koller on her diploma film Swim:


"The idea for my film was inspired by my school days. As a lifeguard in the German Lifeguard Association (DLRG), I became aware of how many people actually learn to swim quite late in life. I found this thought, that it is never too late to learn something new, so inspiring that I wanted to create a film from it.

I am a big fan of classical music and so it was soon clear to me that it had to be a musical animation to a classical piece. During my research for a suitable piece of music, I came across the collection "Songs without words", composed by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. This was the final impulse for me to create a "film without words".


A very big highlight for me was the music recording for Swim. During a special production the piece "Songs without Words, F sharp minor op. 67 No.2" was recorded by my aunt, the cellist Janina Ehrlich and the pianist Charles Schmidt in Rock Island (Illinois, USA). For the first time I was able attend and direct a live music recording.

Thanks to the talented sound designer Lena Beck, Swim was also realized in Dolby Atmos. The possibility to test the film right next to our campus at the Caligari cinema in Dolby Atmos and on the big screen was very practical and helpful and so we spend several sessions at the Caligari.


I had a lot of fun with my great Swim team! Not only during the work on the film, but also for during our excursion to the zoo Wilhelma in Stuttgart, where we let ourselves be inspired by the fish and sea creatures (and other animals).


Working on Swim was a very intensive time for me, during which I was able to experiment and at the same time learn an incredible amount about the individual production steps of an animated film."

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