Eva Weber / United Kingdom / 2022

Set against the haunting beauty and massive expanse of the Scottish landscape, THE WILD ONES is a creative documentary feature exploring the transformative power of wild swimming.

“Wild swimming wakes me up and makes me feel truly alive and in the present moment.”
From a middle-aged Israeli swimmer who has lost two loved ones in quick succession and has found comfort in the water and company of fellow swimmers at Edinburgh’s Portobello Beach, to a young non-binary swimmer on Orkney who feels a close affinity to selkies and their mythical story of transformation.
We meet a lesbian swimmer with only 2% vision who is fighting diabetes and has to build up her strength again to go out into the water with the help of her partner; and a 36-old man on the Isle of Skye who goes on swimming adventures with a male friend, the water allowing him to escape the bullying he has experienced due to being overweight. The cold water gives a middle-aged artist temporary relief from a debilitating muscle condition; while a young lawyer finds that her daily swim quietens her mind, helping her to overcome emotional and mental burnout after a gruelling year at work.

Making the journey with them to their favourite swimming location, we will join them as they smash the ice with a sledgehammer on a lochan in the Cairngorms and swim in the hole created, dunk in 40 metre deep quarries, or jump into waterfalls in Skye and discover healing pools used for centuries in old Scots folklore. We will swim at sunset, sunrise, and in the dark at midwinter. Some like to explore lochs, seas and rivers with partners and friends, while for others their solitary swims act almost like a form of meditation, others still are joined in the water by seals and dolphins.

Combining interviews and observational footage, we will come to understand the struggles that our characters are facing and the way wild swimming helps and inspires each person to overcome them. Theirs are stories of grief, depression, anxiety, PTSD, body confidence issues, chronic pain, and healing.
Life affirming and lyrical, THE WILD ONES will explore stories of trauma, loss and healing, and capture the sheer physicality and exhilaration of swimming in really cold, natural water.