The National Board of Review’s Student Grant Program helps emerging filmmakers finish their projects and exhibit them internationally at festivals such as Sundance, Telluride, and more. Many selected filmmakers have gone on to win Student Academy Awards in the past. This honorable grant is awarded to a small number of students across the country each year. Zac Norrington’s film, “Breathe”, represents The New School in this year’s round of winners. He filmed and completed this short documentary as a graduate student of the Doc Studies program in 2022. Learn more about his background and see a trailer of the film below.

Zac Norrington is a filmmaker and photographer who started his career in London – then moved to Athens – where he picked up his style of cinematography and an eye for developing unique doc stories. After completing his Documentary Media Studies Certificate at The New School, he hopes to continue his journey of expressing people’s mental struggles through cinematic visuals.

Synopsis: In 1983, Julie Ridge became the first person to swim two consecutive laps around the Island of Manhattan (earning her a guest appearance on the David Letterman Show). Now living in Manhattan and working as a clinical social worker with over 25 years of experience, she dives into her memories of struggling with bipolar. BREATHE explores her relationship with marathon swimming and how the water has aided her along her journey.

“Breathe” Trailer:

In total, four graduates of the Doc Studies program (Lillian Xuege Li, Maliyamungu Muhande, Simon Tchoukriel, and Zac Norrington) have been chosen as grant winners.

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