After two years’ work including a 12-month filming period, The Ponds – a documentary celebration of the year-round swimmers and the Hampstead Heath ponds – is ready for release.
Co-producers Patrick McLennan and Samuel Smith endeavoured to capture life at the unique swimming ponds over all four seasons, getting to know the regular swimmers and trying to capture the essence of the unique urban swimming spots.
“The cold water unites swimmers in a way you don’t often see in ordinary life,” said Patrick. “We’ve heard a lot of stories over the year: some funny, some sad, many of them heart-warming. There’s a shared bond over the pleasure and benefits of swimming in the ponds that brings the regulars together.
“Not for nothing have we subtitled the film the ‘healing waters of Hampstead Heath’.”
The Ponds tracks a group of different personalities at the Men’s, Ladies’ and Mixed Ponds, giving a revealing perspective of their lives plus an insight into what the ponds are all about, which you’d only otherwise get if you were a regular.
The Heath is captured in all its beauty, from the first shoots of spring when the water temperature hovers around 10-12ºC, through the heat and crowds of summer to the bleak onset of autumn and the shivering descent into winter.
“High points of the film include the excitement of the iconic Christmas Day Races and the winter swimmers breaking the ice,” said Patrick. “The snow scenes in particular have some heart-stopping moments.”
The Ponds (Still Waters Run Deep) will be shown at the Everyman Hampstead from early January. Check the cinema for screening details.