Your upcoming documentary Wrestling with Disaster - in a few
words, what is it about?
Wrestling with Disaster is the story of how several wrestlers both
well-known and on the independent scene have ran into obstacles in their
lives and careers, such as devastating injuries, drug and alcohol abuse,
the loss of friends and family to a number of causes, such as drugs,
alcohol, suicides, and even in ring accidents. But, it's not just a story
about all of these negative occurances, it's the story about how they
overcame them and moved forward in their lives.
For more details:
There are countless wrestling
documentaries out there - so what makes yours special?
the big difference between our documentary and a lot of the other
documentaries out there is that ours focuses on the positive potential of
very negative situations. Some of our stars have never gotten involved with
mishaps behind the scenes, some of them have, and have moved forward, and
others had things happen to them that were out of their control. Take Cory
Kastle for instance, this kid had an AVM, where arteries and veins tangle
in the brain, and a grandma seizure, nearly taking his life. Two years
later he's back in the ring and is already a heavyweight champion in one
of the promotions down in Delaware. We have great stories like this, and
not only that, we have a lot of big names telling their experiences as
and foremost, why wrestling, and what do you find so fascinating about it?
grew up on wrestling. You know, when I got sick a couple of years back,
and even before then, when I had heart surgery on 9/11, I knew I'd never
be a major athlete or be able to take hits in a sport or bumps in a ring,
but I still always had a passion for it. You know, I can do ring work and
goof around on a mat like training for MMA or something along those lines,
but now I'm missing two ribs in my back, so one shot to my ribs and I'm
done. What does this have to do with the question? Simple, I was able to
dream, imagine storylines in my head, imagine what I would do if I were
running things. Then I had to grow up. So, I stopped pretending, but as I
was growing up, I was watching the men and women that I loved to watch all
start to die. It was really depressing because these were my childhood
heros. That's when I realized I had to do something with wrestling, so I
chose to make a documentary about how this is happening, and moreso about
how these guys are moving on afterwards. I'm interested in the psychology
of these men and women. I don't want to make their sport look bad, I just
want to hear their stories.
did the project get off the ground to begin with?
It was a rough start. For three months I pushed to get people
interested. Big names is what I was shooting for. I wasn't even thinking
local, indy guys. And wrestlers were turning their noses up at me. I
mean here I am, some outsider, talking to them about drugs, steroids and
suicides. They didn't want to hear the rest. They didn't want to hear
the purpose of the film. They just heard the negatives and maybe they've
been burned in the past, or maybe the got tired of other documentarians
coming in and hurting their business. They didn't want to give me the
time of day.
One day a friend introduces me to her friend, and I'm not going to get
into all the naming and stuff like that, but I got connected with this
guy, and we started to pick up Indy guys. Then Indy guys knew bigger
names, and it started to multiply. Before you know it I am working on
potentially over fifteen people in this documentary in the next three
months, after the three months of crickets *chirp chirp*. But things
were finally starting to take off. I started to film in wrestling
schools, people started to trust me and what I was doing, and it's
continued to grow ever since.
can you tell us about the research you've done on the subject specifically
for the movie, and has it at all changed your perception of wrestling?
research I've done is the reason for the film itself. My heroes were dying
and I wanted to know why. That's the simple part, but as I continued to do
the research, it became less about wrestlers dying and more about the ones
who are still around overcoming these tragedies. The way I saw it was what
happened to those in the past, happened in the past, but this documentary
is a way to hopefully prevent it in the future. People will watch this and
maybe think twice about traveling that road of "Disaster" so to
speak. Wrestling with Disaster is more about the mentality that one is
wrestling with, than the actual physicality involved in wrestling. These
guys are battling a lot, and it is much deeper than what the audience sees
in the ring.
would you describe the typical wrestler?
Sabu with Anthony Bruno
Glenn Ruth with Anthony Bruno
That's a loaded
question. I don't know if there is a typical wrestler. I mean, I've worked
with over 15 guys in the last three months and no two personalities or
physicalities were the same. It's different with each guy, or at least
that's how it seems so far.
Who are some of
your interviewees on Wrestling with Disaster?
So far, we have already begun interviews with several mainstream talent,
such as "Pretty Boy" Larry Sharpe, Sabu, Glenn Ruth (fka
Headbanger Thrasher) and Pitbull Gary Wolf. These are all local guys or
guys who were local recently. Larry Sharpe owns Monster Factory, a
prestigious wrestling school out of the Southern New Jersey area. He and
Danny Cage, another co-owne,r have been very welcoming to me. I can't
thank them enough for their hospitality. Sabu was a cool guy, and anyone
who either knows who Sabu is or knows about him, could only imagine what
spending a day with him is like. And Gary is another guy that has been
really good to me so far. These guys were all mainstream, and they have
been very open and honest with me for our interviews.
Other guys I have lined up - "The Genius" Lanny Poffo. I'm
really excited for this interview because he is the brother of legendary
deceased wrestler Randy "Macho Man" Savage, and you know that
is going to be a great interview. I also have well known names like
Kevin Sullivan, Nelson Frazier (fka Big Daddy V, Viscera), Angel Medina,
and a lot of names that I'm not even allowed to say yet. I mean it's
Also, I have a lot of indy talent. Guys that have some of the most
amazing stories, some touching, some sad, but all are fascinating. It's
been tough, sometimes I have to hold myself back from breaking down
during an interview just because the guy in front of my camera is. It's
a trying time. But, I'm the guy asking the questions, not the guy
reliving some of the toughest moments in their lives.
easy/hard is it to find/get the rights to the wrestling footage you want
to feature in your film?
It's not hard to get the rights to
wrestling footage... unless you're broke, then forget it. I'm working
things out, meanwhile, I've been shooting all of my own wrestling footage
from the events that I have attended and the promotors I have been working
with. Thank you DCW, ECPW, and the Monster Factory for allowing me to
shoot at their shows.
According to my information,
actress and dear friend of this site Debra Lamb [Debra
Lamb interview - click here] is one of the producers of Wrestling
with Disaster - now how did she get on board, and what will her
contribution to the project be like?
Debra's contribution will be a million dollars.
No, seriously, Debra and I worked on a film together a couple of months
prior to starting Wrestling
with Disaster, and I was the lead editor and she was an
actress/talent doing a few skits for the video. It was a party flick
shot by a few of our mutual friends, and after I was finished helping
with their project, we all had a big party/celebration at a horror
convention around the time the movie was released. That's when I
actually met Debra for the first time. After a great weekend and a lot
of conversation, we both realized that eventually we would work together
again. So since then, we have kept in contact and gave each other leads
on films that we had going on separately until it was finally time to
work together again. Which was now. She loved the project, and I thought
she could help out. So I ended up asking her if she wanted to hop on.
The rest is history.
Debra hits a whole different market for me. She's of the horror genre,
and while this is a documentary about wrestling, so to speak, it's about
overcoming horrors. In all honesty, none of that made sense. I know
Debra has a great business mind, and yes, she does reach a different
market and a different fan base, so I know with Debra on board it allows
for this project to grow more. She has proven to be a great asset in the
time that she has been with us. So I look forward to what else we can
bring to the table working together.
As far as I know,
you're presently still raising funds for your movie - so what can you tell
us about your fundraising campaign?
Yes. It's not easy. While we are continuously working on private
investors, we were hoping to reach the crowd sourcing network first and
foremost because then, not only do we get help, but they get something
back as well. Perks. Perks! PERKS!
Check out our Crowd Sourcing pages through Kickstarter:
Plus you can also check out our pitch video here:
We're offering posters, t-shirts, signed memorabilia, pre-ordered DVDs,
and tons more!
Once the funds are
raised, how do you plan to proceed, and any idea when and where the film
might be released onto the general public yet (and I know it's probably waaay to early to ask)?
Once the funds are raised I have to begin traveling. A lot of the talent
lives all over the country, and even in Canada *hint hint*. In order
for me to complete some of these interviews I have to be able to get to
the locations that these stars live. That and equipment costs are our
We are certain the documentary will hit major sites like Netflix and so
forth, but we are working for at least a limited theater release, and
definitely in the film festival circuit by January 2014.
have recently also directed a short movie called Beat That - you
just have to talk about that one for a bit!
Beat That is my
kryptonite. It was the first film I shot after my cancer, and well, it was
about my cancer. It starred some local Orlando, Fl talent, as well as Enzo
Palumbo from CBS
Big Brother fame. After shooting it, I found it very
difficult to pick up and edit. It's hard looking at the material and
truthfully I'd prefer someone else to edit it at this point. However, I
have actually worked on a rough cut, and I expect it to be finished within
the next few weeks. I definitely need to move past that stage in my life,
and the people who worked hard on it need to be able to finally get the
chance to see it.
How did you
get into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
I was/am a student at Temple
University in Philadelphia, PA. I started about 10 years ago, and left due
to health reasons, then returned a few years ago, and am now almost
finished with two degrees. I am currently double majoring over at Temple.
So I look forward to that notch on my belt.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Beat That and Wrestling with Disaster?
have had several gigs in the last few years. As I mentioned I was lead
editor on a project that Debra was on, known as Celluloid Bloodbath More
Prevues From Hell. I did a lot of the sound work in that as well. I also
did all of the sound effects for a short film called The Fay, produced and
directed by Mark Bonocore who is another producer on Wrestling with
Disaster. That film will be out there in film festivals by the summer of
this year. And I have done a lot of small work, but this is the first
production that I am the leader on. So I look forward to the film audience
getting the opportunity to see a young, up and coming director's work for
the first time.
future projects beyond Wrestling with Disaster you'd like to talk
I have a few irons in the fire, but right now all I
can do is think Wrestling with Disaster. I'm the guy on this project and
truthfully, all of my time is devoted to it.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan, Alfred Hitchcock, Gus Van Sant, Clint
Eastwood(as a director), and two more of my favorites are Edward Burns and
Good Will Hunting, Mystic
Notorious (Hitchcock), The Dark
Knight, Life in a Day, and I'm a huge TV
show advocate for Dexter and Friday Night Lights.
... and of course, films you really
I don't know, I really don't care much for
slapstick comedy. I'm a dark humor guy, or a drama guy. I am truly getting
tired of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. I mean, don't get me wrong, some of
their stuff I really like, but the duo has run its course in my opinion.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook,
Kickstarter and the like?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
We have a site www.wrestlingwithdisaster.com,
but it's under ongoing construction forever now. I need someone to jump
on that for me. Ha!
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
If you thought what I have mentioned in this interview about Wrestling
with Disaster was interesting, wait until you see what else I have
coming in the future months. This film is hot, and many people are
jumping on board... just saying.
And thank you to everyone that has been involved up until this point
and going forward!