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A film by Julie Wyman
2004, 28 minutes, Color/BW, DVD
Order No. W05859
Julie Wyman’s ebullient experimental documentary intertwines the story of the Padded Lilies, a troupe of fat synchronized swimmers, Archimedes, the Greek mathematician obsessed with floating bodies, and the inventor of the “Drystroke Swimulator” to investigate, proclaim and celebrate the fact that fat floats!

As the Padded Lillies prepare for their appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", BUOYANT follows their rigorous training and strategizing as they promote their message of body-acceptance, fat-empowerment, and fitness at any size. A school-marmish voiceover moves on to tell the story of Archimedes, classical Greek mathematician and discoverer of pi, as he tackles one of his more difficult problems: how to measure the volume of an irregularly shaped object.

The final vignette, performed by Wyman herself, captures the trials and tribulations of the inventor at work on the “Drystroke Swimulator” (patent pending) -- a contraption designed to allow its user to swim outside of water. Giddy and irreverent, moving fluidly between color and black and white, video and film, handheld and locked-down camera styles, Buoyant draws attention to its own surface and leaves us with the exuberant possibility of a fat body that literally and culturally rises, like cream, to the top.


  • MIX: NY Lesbian And Gay Film Festival
  • Women With Vision Film Festival, Walker Art Center
  • Women Make Waves Film Festival, Taiwan
  • Camden International Film Festival
  • Out On Film – Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
  • Camden International Film Festival
  • Museum of Modern Art, Premieres Series
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Finger Lakes Envonmental Film Festival, Ithaca College

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    “An excellent, subversive rethinking of women’s fat…great viewing for anyone looking for new ways to think about how women occupy their bodies.”
    Liza Johnson
    Filmmaker & Asst. Professor of Art, Williams College

    “A radical message in a culture that demonizes fat, and especially fat women.”
    Alexandra Stotts
    Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Oregon

    “Levitates her subject with grace and wit. Carnivalesque, scientifically curious, and bubbly, the film finesses the tactile and visual pleasures of the buoyant body.”
    Rachel Mayeri
    Media Studies/ Digital Media, Harvey Mudd College

    “[Confronts] the viewer with the social perception of size, gravity, and beauty juxtaposed with the reality that these women, like all of us, ‘want to fly.’”
    Lynnea Chapman King
    Butler Community College

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    Buoyant is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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© Women Make Movies, 2005
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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us