Without wetsuits, in the dead of night, three swimmers braved the cold open-ocean to realize a dream…this is how filmmaker Ben Pitterle of Element 8 Productions opens DRIVEN.

DRIVEN documents the experiences of three individuals as they attempted marathon swims across the Santa Barbara Channel. “Marathon swimming may not sound particularly glamorous. Its just swimming a long ways right? Wrong!,” emphasizes Pitterle. “Marathon swimmers rank at an elite level in the chronicles of endurance sport and human achievement. These athletes must overcome physical and mental obstacles that are dissimilar to those in any other sport.



Producer Ben Pitterle describes marathon swimming as “the most incredible sport that no one has ever heard of”, but he wants to change that.

Have you ever jumped into a cold lake or ocean and gotten the shivers or goose bumps? Imagine enduring the cold for up to 10 straight hours or more,” he continues.

Scared of what lies beneath the oceans depths? These guys swim through the night. Imagine beginning a 10-hour swim by plunging into pitch black water at 1 AM, offshore of islands where great white sharks are known to feed. Mental demons abound. Ever been tired on a run and stopped to walk or take a break? Resting is not an option. Touching a boat or flotation aid immediately disqualifies these swims. Each moment spent treading water only increases the risk of hypothermia. Add to the list – waves, sea-sickness, cross-currents, jellyfish infestations, and more and you’ve got the makings for an epic adventure story.”

Pitterle and co-producer Brian Hall of Element 8 Productions are looking for financing from the global open water swimming community to complete DRIVEN.

They have created several levels of financial support that the swimming community can participate in their crowd funding.

US$10 – A Cold Wet Virtual Hug: If you were here in font of us we’d douse ourselves in salt water and lay one on you, but a virtual hug will have to suffice. Thanks so much and don’t forget to share our project on Facebook and Twitter!

US$25 – Digital Download: Yes! Far out! Thanks! Once the project is completed you will receive a link to a digital download of the film. Not only that, but your contribution helped pave the way to make this film a reality. Expected delivery – Spring 2013.

US$50 – DVD: You will receive a DVD of the film upon completion – PLUS – all of the above benefits.

US$100 – Memorialized: Your name will appear in the credits for the film – PLUS – all of the above benefits.

US$200 – Karma Machine: Your real reward here is our eternal gratitude, but you’ll also receive a Driven poster autographed by the swimmers and producers – PLUS – all of the above benefits.

US$500 – Skype with the Producers: You shine like a Garabaldi in a school full of sardines. And we mean that in the nicest way. You will receive one Skype session at a time of mutual convenience to chat with the producers about the making of this film or whatever floats your boat. PLUS – all of the above benefits.

US$800 – Private Home Screening: May Poseidon give you strength! You receive a private home screening with the producers (limited to Southern California, otherwise we will Skype with you). We’ll bring the movie, popcorn, and candy to a residence of your choosing for a private screening. We’ll regale you with stories of mid-channel filming bloopers… like that time both Ben’s legs cramped at once and he almost drown while Evan just kept on swimming… PLUS Karma Machine level benefits.

US$1,000 – Associate Producer Credits: You will receive Associate Producer Credits in the film – PLUS – Home Screening level benefits.

US$1,500 – David Yudovin Boat Excursion: World renowned marathon swimmer, David Yudovin, will take up to two swimmers and two additional crew (4 total) out on his personal support boat, the Ocean Crystal (Newport Beach, California), for a half-day (approximately 3 hours) cruise and mentorship swim session. Must take place between late Spring – Fall 2013. PLUS – Associate Producer level benefits.

US$2,500 – Executive Producer Credits: You will receive Executive Producer credits in the film. We’ll build a private shrine made of seashells in our backyards to honor you. You’ll get the satisfaction of making our dream a reality and bringing much deserved attention to this sport – PLUS – Private Home Screening level benefits.

Pitterle and Hall provide a variety of levels that can enable many in the open water swimming world to help support promotion of their sport. Are you DRIVEN to help support the effort?

Visit the DRIVEN campaign here.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association