Strongman Documentary Headed to Arena Grand
Documentary filmmaker Zachary Levy will be bringing his first feature film STRONGMAN to the Arena Grand this weekend, running March 5th through the 7th. The film recently took home the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2009 Slamdance Film Festival.
Zachary will be on hand to introduce the film and participate in audience Q&A sessions after the Friday evening shows, all day on Saturday, and during the Sunday matinees. We recently conducted our own Q&A with Zachary to find out more about the film.
Q) In your own words, can you give us a brief synopsis of the film?
A) Well, I sometimes describe it as La Strada meets Grey Gardens on the outer grooves of a Springsteen record! It’s really about a professional strongman named Stanless Steel, who can do some pretty amazing things physically, but struggles for understanding from the world around him.
Q) The film will be showcased in Columbus at the same time the Arnold Sports Festival. Do you see there being a good crossover crowd between Arnold-visitors and local film fans that weekend?
A) I certainly hope so! I think if there’s one place in the country where that can happen, it’s Columbus. I mean yes, it’s a pretty serious art film, but it’s also about a guy who is pretty unique in the strength world. Stan is one of the very few – if not the only – person who can legitimately bend a U.S. penny with his fingers. It’s not flashy, but it’s a phenomenal feat in pure strength terms.
That said, the idea was never to make a film which was just about physical strength. It’s as much a psychological and emotional story as it is a physical one and I think the broader themes are pretty universal. It’s about a road – the La Strada element again – that really anyone who has tried to really push themselves creatively will understand. I believe that’s true whether they are lifting weights or making a record or writing a novel.
Columbus of course has this great tradition of sports and strength but also a really great, vibrant arts community as well. I like that kind of cross-pollination. Maybe even more so in this age of DVDs at home, there’s something special that happens when people from different backgrounds get together in a theater to watch a film. That’s when it gets exciting – especially for a film like mine which is very purposely designed to be big enough for the audience to bring their own interpretations to the screen.
Q) Anything else you think the audience should know before coming in to view the film?
A) Well, they are allowed to laugh! Because the film is so real, I think sometimes people are afraid to laugh at the funny parts. There is no one ‘right’ way to watch this movie. It’s partly a function of the form, but I’m pressing a lot of notes at the same time. Some people will hear the flats and other respond to the sharps. They are deceptively complex chords – but I trust the audience to hear the melody.