About the Film


It is the early 1920’s and Bill Havens, Sr. and his younger brother, Charles “Bud” Havens, are members of the Washington Canoe Club. Paddling has been accepted as a demonstration sport in the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. The Havens brothers make the US Olympic team and are favorites to win the Games. Then, Bill learns that his wife is pregnant with their second son, Frank Havens, and due at the time of the Games. Bill foregoes the glory for his family.

Bud and their teammates return home with three gold medals, and that decision and the fire of ambition are the fuel of the Havens family over the next three decades. Through the Great Depression and the Second World War, Frank and his older brother, Bill Jr., continue the Havens’ tradition of paddling, hoping to someday bring home the Gold medal that their father should have won. But the relationship of Bill and Ruby, his wife and the mother of his sons, does not survive.

Finally, in 1948, the boys qualify for the Olympic Games in London. Frank wins Silver and Bill Junior places fifth in their respective events. Realizing that the Havens brothers are better when they paddle together, they head into the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games having broken what would’ve been existing Olympic and world records. Fate, though, has other plans for the duo.

In a freak accident, Bill Jr. severs the tendons in his hand just months before they are set to participate in the Games. Frank now has to paddle solo, and the weight of honoring their father’s sacrifice falls onto his shoulders. During practice, he breaks one paddle and stress-fractures his two backups. Doc Whittall, the Canadian coach lends Frank his personal paddle. All the weight of ambition hopes and dreams rests on the shoulders of the youngest, as he sets off alone in the ten-kilometer event at Helsinki.


I first discovered the Havens’ family’s incredible story while at a friend’s wedding in New York. The priest’s sermon was about the family’s ultimate sacrifice and perseverance. I was instantly drawn into the story and felt an immediate connection to this amazing tale of fathers, sons, and brothers, having followed in my father’s footsteps myself: as a writer, teacher, and sailor. Ironically enough, a beam of light shone on me through the stained-glass window of the church during the sermon.

I have spent almost three years interviewing the family members, paddling with them at the Washington Canoe Club, and shucking oysters at their family events. I am also very excited to get knocked out of a canoe as I try “tilting”, which is essentially boat jousting, something that both Frank and Bill, Jr. were quite possibly the best in the world at.


Creative Team



Owen Palmiotti is a novelist and an award-winning screenwriter/filmmaker. He is a former U.S. Naval Reservist and Merchant Marine, and taught navigation at his alma mater, SUNY Maritime College. He is the author of a Young Adult Fiction trilogy, The Adventures of Benjamin Manry. In 2014, Owen switched to writing screenplays and producing both short films and feature length films. He co-wrote, produced, and executive produced the feature film, Madhouse Mecca, which won Best Editing for a Feature Film and then secured a Domestic and International distribution deal. To date, Owen has been part of over twenty films in various capacities.

Visit www.owenpalmiotti.com for more information.



Producer, Director, and Emmy-Award winning Cinematographer Bradford May’s outstanding versatility made him one of Hollywood’s prolific creative talents. 

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bradford was following family tradition when he became a second assistant cameraman. Fourth generation in his family to pursue a career in film, his Great Grandfather ran the labor department at 20th Century Fox in the 1920’s. His Grandfather was a grip on many big films. Bradford’s father was an outstanding cinematographer. He was immediately at home on a film set. 

Over the next decade he worked his way up through the camera department. In 1980 he became the youngest cinematographer of his era. It was only five years later he made his directorial debut on the “Twilight Zone” Television series. 

Bradford has won admiration of his peers for his unique cinematic style and from producers for his ability to capture the moment and bring it to the screen with quality of performance and production regardless of budget limitations. 

Bradford’s sensitive and dramatic style of lighting combined with his classy and graceful manner of directing his actors became known as the “May Way”. 

Bradford has produced, directed, and served as a cinematographer on over 275 films, pilots, and TV series. 

Bradford lives in Encino, California with wife actress Lisa Eilbacher, daughter Camden Rose, and son Holden.



Adam Laurent studied film at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It would be awhile later that he found his path to film making. There was another calling to address.

He came to the film world, having been an elite athlete, who’s cycling career produced several world championship medals and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to represent the United States in the Olympic Games. Opportunities unfolded from those athletic pursuits, ranging from work on creative teams of global marketing campaigns, to being the subject of numerous media features. From that perspective came a key insight: That so much of the story power of high performers was not being adequately captured and shared. This was the seed that launched him ultimately toward film making.

He is co-founder and co-producer at Shelter Cove Productions, creating and delivering to market the film festival winning documentary, Personal Gold. He contributed to the making of The Game Changers, the all-time top selling documentary on iTunes.

Equally, a background in management, contracts and finance has shaped a full array of analytic skills. He can nimbly engage both the business metrics and the human components of the film world. His clear big-picture vision and prolific creativity allow for key insights and significant breakthroughs in the projects he engages. His detail-oriented nature assures a comprehensive approach.



Sky Christopherson is an Olympic athlete and film producer with a mission to touch, move, and inspire audiences by sharing the Olympic experience.

Sky produced the 2016 feature documentary ‘Personal Gold’ with executive producer Bill Gerber (Star is Born), giving a behind the scenes look into the American underdog women’s cycling teams innovations during the Lance Armstrong drug scandal. The film was broadcast during the 2016 Olympics, acquired by Netflix, won numerous Best in Festival awards, and received worldwide distribution.

Sky then contributed to the 2019 hit documentary ‘Game Changers’ executive produced by James Cameron (Titanic), Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jackie Chan, showcasing the athletic benefits of eating a plant based diet. ‘Personal Gold’ footage featuring Olympic medalist Dotsie Bausch was incorporated into key scenes of the film and the official international trailer. Sky worked with director Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) at Skywalker Ranch in Marin, CA to build the scenes. Game Changers’ is currently the top selling documentary of all time on iTunes.

Currently, Sky has joined with award winning writer Owen Palmiotti and teammate Adam Laurent as co-producer of ‘Back on Water’, a feature narrative giving an inspiring look into the incredible multigenerational Olympic journey of the Havens family father and son Canoeists.



Lee Roth began producing entertainment content in 1995 when he opened one of the very first web design studios. With an initial focus on computer game and television studios, Lee also offered photography services to his entertainment clients. Early in 1997 he won the WebDweeb web design contest for HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, launching his career in Hollywood. As an online producer, Lee participated in several combined broadcast/internet firsts including VIBe (The CW Network – 1997), the first late night talk show to go live online, and Sinbad’s Soul Music Festival Part IV from Aruba (HBO – 1998). In 2001, Lee’s cameras took him on-set to shoot production stills for independent film and television, as well as to the press line at Hollywood’s most prestigious events including the Academy Awards® and Primetime Emmy Awards. As of 2015, Lee has worked directly with European film financiers advising them on feature film and television project submissions. Since that time, Lee has read hundreds of scripts and currently works with Moving Pictures Media Group as a Development Executive.

Moving Pictures Media Group


Moving Pictures Media Group (MPMG) is a production company founded for motion picture, television, and internet content. MPMG provides a full suite of services to assist independent filmmakers, production companies and investors in the development, production, post-production, distribution, and marketing of their projects.

PRODUCER, Ray Ellingsen began his film career in 1987 as a writer. He has since gone on to pursue numerous aspects of filmmaking, from directing and producing, to supervising post production of feature films, documentaries, and commercials. In 1999, Ellingsen helped form the motion picture entertainment company, Ugly Old Bird Productions, which produced multiple film and video projects during its five years of doing business.

Ellingsen moved to Arizona in 2005 to manage the largest motion picture film studio in the state of Arizona, Hollywood-Phoenix Film Studios. Within a year, Ellingsen brought in three feature films, numerous commercials, as well as a television series for the studio to produce. Ellingsen left the studio and moved back to Los Angeles to further his filmmaking career.

To date, Ellingsen has written and directed two documentaries and a feature film, along with a multitude of commercial, instructional and industrial projects. He has also produced nine feature films and over 30 video and commercial projects, with two feature films currently in development.

Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer, Michael Minkler is a three-time Academy Award winner for his outstanding work on Black Hawk Down, Chicago, and Dreamgirls. A seasoned professional who has collaborated on over 200 projects with Hollywood’s elite directors, his most recent works include the Academy Award winning film, The Hateful Eight, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Chief Legal and Operations Officer, Ron Takehara, has a wide range of legal experience in the entertainment industry, from high profile cases involving motion picture and television industry litigation, to representing entertainment production companies, television networks, actors, stunt men and women, and screenwriters.

Roth Stock Pictures


In the film and television business, think of Roth Stock Pictures as the bridge between creative and business. We are story driven first and foremost. That is always our main priority. However, once a good story has been identified, our instincts quickly turn mercenary in order to get your project financed and into theaters, on broadcast and cable, streaming, in hotel and airline systems, and anywhere else we can get your content in front of an audience!

Roth Stock Pictures: Engaging Audiences on All Platforms.

Visit www.rothstock.com for more.

Contact the Team at Back on the Water!

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