Iowa City Filmmakers Look Online to Support Swimming Documentary

By Sarah McCarthy, KCRG

Brian Tremml, 24, has been a competitive swimmer for over a decade.

“I became a year round swimmer when I was about ten years old,” Tremml said.

But nearly 15 years later, he's jumping out of the pool trying something new; filmmaking.

“One thing I noticed growing up, and a lot of swimmers can testify to this, is there are no movies about swimming,” he said.

So he and his movie-making partner, Kiel Nowkowski are setting out to change that.

“He told me about it and it sounded like a really compelling story,” Nowakowski said. “And it was a story that I hadn't heard before.”

The documentary looks at the sport in three phases, the past, present, and future.

They follow swimmers at all levels, including those that are just beginning a competitive career all the way up to the big leagues.

“Most of us know swimming from the Olympics, and that's once every four years,” Nowakowski said. “Those people are superstars for two weeks and then they go back to being nobodies essentially.”

So the two are looking at what happens after the games are over.

“It's this bright spotlight and then nothing,” Nowakowski said. “So I wanted to see what was in the nothing.”

But travel and equipment expenses haven't been cheap.

“Up until this point I've been funding the project myself,” Tremml said. “I've invested about 10,000 dollars.”

But with their resources gone, the two are using an idea-funding website called Kickstarter.

“It's very well known in the film community,” Tremml said. “It's the new thing for independent filmmakers to go through and get the word out.”

The website lets people like Tremml and Nowakowski generate ‘backers,' or people that will donate money to their idea.

Their goal is $50,000 in 30 days. But there's a catch.

“If we don't raise 50,000 dollars by then all of the money will be returned to the contributors,” Tremml said.

So far, they're about halfway to their goal and halfway to their deadline.

“It's all or nothing so it's very nerve-racking,” he said.

But Tremml said he's not giving up because he's never been more passionate about a project.

“This really signifies this lifelong journey for me, growing up swimming was the biggest thing in my life,” he said. “It's much more than a sport to me.”

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