The Ohio River, the Swimmer, and the American Spirit

New Website! Please check out Joanna Lai’s new website for Wider Than the River.

Director’s Statement:
This film is a tribute to the strength and achievement of Mimi Hughes, the countless, sometimes nameless people who supported our journey, and to the ever changing, unyielding, Ohio River.

Wider than the River
Mimi Hughes, swimmer, teacher, and activist, sets off to swim the length of the Ohio River in support of education and life skills for women and girls.  To reach her goal, she must swim 20 miles a day for 57 days (Mondays off) for a journey totaling 981 miles.
Guided by volunteer kayakers through river traffic and debris and reliant on a host of communities for support, the only constant is that she will swim.

Wider than the River takes a look at the Ohio River swim from multiple perspectives.  From boat dock banter, kayaker recollections, and Mimi herself, the film is a mixed account of what the swim means to different people.  In this journey of highs and lows eager supporters wait hours to catch a glimpse of the “lady swimmer” as Mimi struggles to adapt to the widening river.  Fifty-seven days of triumphs and obstacles culminate in a final swim to the town of Cairo, Illinois and the Mississippi River.

Why Community Screenings?
It is the aim of the director to provide an opportunity for the Ohio River swim supporters and people along the Ohio River to watch this film and meet the swimmer, Mimi Hughes, for free.  Without the support and kindness of strangers, the swim and this film would not have been possible.

We will have copies of the film available at screenings:

50% of DVD sales will be donated to local organizations that support women’s and girls’ education and life skills or to Girls Leading Our World (GLOW), a free camp which provides life skills and education for girls in Tonga (where there is no local group).


Film Screening & Speaking Tour Dates:
(Subject to change) bolded items are confirmed

July 18th– Metropolis, IL (Harrah’s Metropolis @ 6:30pm)

July 19th– Owensboro, KY

(Owensboro Museum of History and Science 7:00pm)

July 20th– Louisville, KY TBA

July 21st- Madison, IN (The Livery Stable)

July 22nd– Cincinnati, OH  (The Cincinnati Museum Center @ 7:30pm)

July 23rd– Ashland, KY (Boyd County Public Library @ 1pm)

July 24th– Point Pleasant, WV  (Point Pleasant River Museum @ 2pm)

July 25th– Wheeling, WV  (Ohio County Public Library @ 12pm)

July 26th– East Liverpool, OH  (Kent State University- Time: TBA)

July 27th– Pittsburgh, PA TBA

July 30th– Huntsville, AL (The Flying Monkey @ 2pm & 4pm)

Tour Contact:

Joanna Lai Lord, Filmmaker

909-451-1484 (mobile)
909-447-0303 (home)

For more information on Mimi Hughes and the Ohio River Swim, please visit:


2 thoughts on “Documentary

  1. Congratulations Joanna! Your own journey was nearly as arduous as Mimi’s. I can’t WAIT to see this! Y’all have fun back along the Ohio — and tell everyone I met around Cincinnati “hello” for me! -K

    Posted by Kay Campbell | June 29, 2011, 11:31 pm
    • Joanna,

      Kelly and I just watched the trailer for your film! WE ARE SO HONORED to be part of it with our music! It looks amazing, we can’t wait to see the WHOLE thing. Wish we were touring in that region so we could make it to one of the showings…alas…we are on the west coast! Blessings

      Donna and Kelly
      Still on the Hill

      Posted by donna stjerna | July 14, 2011, 4:55 am

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