“In particular, the best part of [SUBMERGE] is Lily Hall, who is reminiscent visually and in poise of Hilary Swank. She’s adept at demonstrating the range of emotion that the role requires.”

Movie Buzzers


“[SUBMERGE is] a postmodern story, told through different lenses, reflections and refractions. Self awareness and self judgment is a key theme - the modern human condition - as is the exploration of what it takes to break through the surface and submerge into emotional depth.  It's definitely worth a view and is worthy of the support of the community to increase its visibility.”

Planet London Film


But for all the myriad events jam-packed into a long weekend of festival-going, First Time Fest is all about the competition entries, among which three in particular stand out. One of the highlights is "Submerge," by Australian newbie Sophie O'Connor, in which same-sex desire is presented with both a mournful sense of longing and a loving sensuousness, the latter most evident in the way the director films bodies. Whether lensing graduate student Jordan (Lily Hall) slicing through the water in swim practice or finally consummating her long anticipated liaison with Angie (Christina Hallett), the partner of her faculty advisor, O'Connor builds a hothouse atmosphere in which passions alternately rise in tension or find luscious fulfillment.

Caught between the demands of her parents to focus on her swimming and her own interest in scientific research, the latter pursuit complicated further by the resulting romantic geometry, Jordan is a study in uncertainties. O'Connor and co-screenwriter Kat Homes are shrewdly perceptive about the predicaments of their young protagonist, evincing a keen understanding of the fluidity of sexuality and the subsequent confusions in interpersonal relationships.



"Submerge offers a unique depiction of what it means to identify as LGBT…O’Connor does a good job of representing the threads that bind Jordan’s life together… Submerge is successful for depicting the beauty of imperfection."

Toronto Film Scene


"The soundtrack will have you on an emotional ride, and the cinematography will caress your senses with the most delectable and lascivious experience of the characters."

LOTL Magazine