Submerged

At 27, Kelsey dove into Lake Superior as a dancer and emerged paralyzed. Now she has to redefine who she is while on a quest to find a cure.

Submerged cropped
Funding Initiative
Open Call
Submerged 1 1 pubstill headshot kelseypeterson cropped
Co-Director/Co-Producer

Kelsey Peterson

Kelsey Peterson is an artist, advocate, and C6 quadriplegic. She received her BFA in Dance from the University of Montana in 2008, and later her yoga teacher certification from CorePower Yoga. Her path was tragically interrupted when she sustained a spinal cord injury in 2012 and became paralyzed from the chest down. Since then, she unexpectedly Show more continues to dance, now from a wheelchair. She is currently lead choreographer and dancer on a live music and dance production which features differently-abled artists, called ​A Cripple’s Dance. ​As a first-time filmmaker, she finds that her choreographic background lends to the art of storytelling, which she leans on in her documentary film, ​SUBMERGED​. She looks forward to continuing artistic advocacy that challenges stigmas and stereotypes regarding those with disabilities, and moving the effort for a cure forward. Over the past nine years, Daniel Klein has been making award-winning documentary shorts, tv series, and branded content around the world. In producing these 200+ projects, he has learned how to efficiently and creatively research, produce, edit and distribute a wide variety of high quality content. In the process, he has built a brand from an idea into an internationally recognized series with tens of millions of views. Show less

Submerged 1 1 pubstill headshot danielklein cropped
Co-Producer/Co-Director

Daniel Klein

Daniel is the director and producer behind the two-time James Beard Award winning online documentary series, The Perennial Plate. Daniel, a former chef (Bouchon, Craft, The Fat Duck), and his wife and co-producer, Mirra Fine, have created over 200 short films around the world (with tens of millions of views and 9 vimeo staff picks). They also produced the Show more most recent season (and the relaunch) of the national syndicated PBS Series, “The Victory Garden’s Edible Feast”, for which they were nominated for an Emmy as well as the feature length documentary "What Are We Doing Here?". Their production arm has worked with such diverse clients as Guinness, Hilton, Organic Valley, American Express, Equal Exchange, Whole Foods and Capital One. Their films have been shown in innumerable film festivals around the world and at the United Nations. Show less

Submerged 1 1 pubstill headshot eliolson cropped
Producer/Editor

Eli Olson

Eli Olson is an Emmy® Award winning documentary filmmaker and storyteller. Most recently, Eli had four films she edited selected for 2018’s Mill Valley Film Festival: From Baghdad to the Bay, Time for Ilhan, I Am Maris and Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn? Van Dorn​ won the Active Cinema Audience Award at MVFF; ​Baghdad to the Bay​ won Best Documentary at Cinequest Show more 2018, and ​Time for Ilhan​ was an official selection for the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Eli won an Emmy® for her work on ​My Flesh and Blood​ for HBO films, which also took Best Documentary honors as well as the Audience Award and Best Director prizes at the Sundance Film Festival. Olson edited the short, ​Movies Around the World,​ which aired during the 89th Oscars® telecast. She also edited and co-directed ​Stories from Tohuku​, which took the Jury Prize at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and later aired on PBS. Other projects include: Heaven Adores You,​ a documentary on singer Elliott Smith (2014 SF International Film Festival); ​3 Still Standing,​ a documentary about the rise and fall of three San Francisco comedians (2014 Mill Valley Film Festival selection); and ​Sam Cooke: Crossing Over for PBS’ American Masters, among others. Show less

We fund untold stories for public media.

Learn more about funding opportunities with ITVS.

The Film

Beneath the waters of Lake Superior off the shore of Wisconsin, Kelsey Peterson underwent a transformation. On the eve of Independence Day 2012, she dove in and smacked the lake bottom head first, suffering an injury that would rob Kelsey of her ability to move her limbs and strip her of her self-identities as an athlete and dancer. Within the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) community, she found peers and allies in her quest to answer the question: Who am I now?

As she grapples with the ebb and flow of hope and acceptance, Kelsey travels across the United States. Along the way, she talks to researchers and meets with people who belong to the SCI community, and who help give her strength and the will to return to dance. When a cutting-edge clinical trial surfaces, it tests her expectations and her faith in the possibility of a cure; forcing her to evaluate the limits of her recovery—body and spirit.

Topics