Interview with Producer Jim Ritterhoff (SWIM THROUGH)

SWIM THROUGH, 32min., USA, Documentary
Directed by Robert Whitney
The story of FORCE BLUE’s Inaugural OCS (Ocean Conservation School), the Gold Star children who participated and the Special Operations Veterans who served as their instructors.

Get to know producer Jim Ritterhoff:

1. What motivated you to make this film? The creation of our OCS (Ocean Conservation School) program in 2021 was really the next evolution for our nonprofit organization ( We fervently believed that utilizing our FORCE BLUE Special Operations veterans as instructors and mentors for Gold Star children could go a long way toward helping create the next generation of ocean leaders. But we had no idea how well, or even if, the concept would work. Swim Through was/is intended to serve as that proof of concept.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film? Our inaugural OCS (and the documentation of it) took about eight months from start to finish.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!? Continued Service

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film? The unseasonably cold temperatures we faced during the documentary’s filming — and the very real possibility that, as a result, one or more of our OCS candidates might drop out. That and our drone getting stuck in a tree on day one. 🙂

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video? Immense pride and a delight in the fact that the film’s key messages — discipline, accountability and service as a means to overcome hardship — all seemed to resonate.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films? While Bob is the real filmmaker here, I think it’s safe to say both of us have been telling stories our whole lives.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life? A Few Good Men

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career? Just keep doing what you do. The communication and attentiveness you’ve shown is to be commended.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site? Very enjoyable. FilmFreeway is a tremendous resource.

10. What is your favorite meal? Vindaloo (Indian Hot)

11. What is next for you? A new film? We’re gonna keep on telling the FORCE BLUE story, through our films — until someone with a slightly higher profile and larger stage decides to tell it for us. 🙂


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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