***We struggled over what video to put out in these final days of our Kickstarter campaign..After much debate we decided to give you something lengthy again. This extended sample trailer was produced quickly over a 2 day period two months ago as a demonstration of skills. While I wouldn’t say it tells more than 1/16th of our story, and I don’t think its a clear indicator of the scope of our tone as far as the reunion goes, it does give a window into our “Unauthorized ECW Documentary” currently in production. Please keep in mind this is a low resolution due to the compression here on Youtube. Enjoy. – John Philapavage
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FILMMAKERS EXPLORE VIOLENT SUBCULTURE IN NEW DOCUMENTARY
Philadelphia, PA –Two filmmakers are working to finalize their labor of love over the past twelve years, an as-yet untitled documentary film which examines an unknown sports entertainment company. The subject’s culture was bizarre, often featuring graphic violence, blood, and dangerous stunts where performers were motivated to risk their health by an intense atmosphere of unforgiving fans. John Philapavage and Kevin Kiernan started production on the film in March of 2000, when the hit cult smash, Extreme Championship Wrestling, burst into the mainstream via a cable TV deal with TNN (now Spike TV), and continued as the company went bankrupt in early 2001. Extended SampleTrailer video
Scenes of the award winning movie “The Wrestler” (starring Mickey Rourke) depicted the damage wrestlers do to their bodies to entertain fans and keep their jobs. Viewers of the movie questioned the authenticity of this depiction in real life. This documentary highlights those scenes as real, and in many cases worse in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). The overall violent style—wrestlers getting hit with steel chairs to the head unprotected, going through tables (sometimes on fire), wrestlers cutting themselves with razor blades and bleeding—is examined in the film. “I think everyone knows pro wrestling is predetermined, but what I think people will be shocked by is how real the things these men did were. You see it and you’ll go, ‘why would they agree to do that to themselves?’ And we have their answers.”
“A lot of people look down on pro wrestling and its fans,” Philapavage continues, “and what we’re trying to do is bring this odd story of sports entertainment’s subculture to film festivals so that people have a clearer idea of what these people went through and why they put their bodies through so much punishment. It’s the study of a subculture’s subculture, and a really crazy story.”
Over 60 interviews were conducted with wrestlers, office staff, the media that covered them, and their fans to flesh out the narrative for the film. “This is a very human story with a natural dramatic arc,” states Kiernan. “People who have never watched wrestling will be fascinated by our film, and may actually leave liking a lot of the subjects we interviewed. We wanted to craft a narrative that would be accessible to a non-fan, so our film documents issues that a non-fan can understand and care about.”
The documentary film began when both filmmakers, friends since the age of two, were nineteen. It is now in post-production. They’ve turned to Kickstarter.com, a website that helps artists raise funding at a grassroots level, so the film can be released independently Worldwide. The filmmakers have reached their initial goal and continue to raise additional funds for additional production, marketing, and expanding their film festival budget as their sights are set on some pretty big named festivals. Fans can use Kickstarter (search ECW) as a pre-order system to score not just the DVD, but posters, tickets to the Philly premiere and after party, as well as the producers screening the film at your home or venue, and you can even have ECW wrestlers attend to answer questions, as well as take pictures and sign autographs for everyone in attendance.
“If you like documentaries, if you are fascinated by human or underdog stories, popular culture, or subcultures, this is a film you should support. A film you should see.”