Interview with CIFF documentary Bending Steel director Dave Carroll

The 2013 Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF), running September 19-29, just announced the moving documentary Bending Steel is having its Alberta premiere on Sept 20th & 21st (CIFF info & tickets purchase), a film that world-premiered at Tribeca, selected by Hotdocs and has received praises from The Hollywood Reporter, Indiewire, and Toronto Standard. Bending Steel‘s trailer is quite moving . It is a documentary “about an introverted man who decides he wants to become an old-time strongman.” Director Dave Carroll said, “The conflict in the film is when he tries to get out and perform in front of people, he is really up against some of his greatest fears, interactions with people and judgement, and it becomes quite a problem, something he has to overcome.

Bending Steel is Carroll’s documentary directorial debut funded out of his and award-winning producing partner Ryan Scafuro‘s own pockets with friends’ help and money from a $25,000 Kickstarter project. Carroll first met the documentary introverted subject Chris “Wonder” Schoeck when he and his dog heard a noise while doing laundry in the basement of the building he and Schoeck lived in and  that “startling” chance encounter lead to an idea for a short documentary which turned into a feature-length documentary project that spanned 2.5 years and generated 200+ hours of footage.

Have a watch of my interview with Bending Steel director Dave Carroll, which has made me want to watch Bending Steel even more. Carroll told me that Schoeck and producer Scafuro plan to attend CIFF so you may get to meet them.

I love the spirit contains this excerpt from Schoeck‘s “Why Bend?” blog entry (with emphasis added), “Always remember constant progress. Grab a tougher bar and push with everything you got. The bar may not go at first, but remember if it flexes it can be bent. Through time you will bend it. The struggle forces you to reach deep into your mind. Remember its all about the journey. Soon you pity those that have early success. They miss out on that journey.” Have a watch of Schoeck doing some cool steel scrolling! Love it!

Here is Bending Steel‘s short synopsis via CIFF,

“Introverted, middle-aged Chris Schoeck has lived in the New York City borough of Queens his entire life. He feels no sense of home or belonging—until he starts bending steel, transforming himself into an old-time strongman. Suddenly, his life changes.

Bending Steel follows Chris as he prepares for a major performance at Coney Island. As he trains in the basement of his apartment building, we watch him twist horseshoes, nails and steel rods. In the process, we get an inside look at how one man can overcome the limitations of body and mind. As Chris takes his strength public, we watch as his biggest struggle turns inward—how can he confront his social awkwardness and fear of failure to become a success?Bending Steel is an intimate portrayal of one man’s quest for acceptance and fulfillment.”

Filmmakers Bio

Dave Carroll (Director/Associate Producer) Dave Carroll has spent the majority of his life, either in front of or behind motion picture cameras. At a young age he earned his Screen Actors Guild card and was featured in commercial ads and movies. After taking a rebellious absence from the business, he returned to direct and shoot short films at the School of Visual Arts where he majored in cinematography. Dave has been working professionally ever since as a writer, director and cinematographer. He is the founder of Suspect Films, a production company based in New York City. “Bending Steel” is Dave’s first departure from fiction and his feature length directorial debut.

Ryan Scafuro (Producer/Cinematographer) Ryan Scafuro is an award winning producer and cinematographer. Before moving from Boston to New York in 2006, he was director of photography for a group of social issue documentaries which won numerous Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards. Among them are “Just Married” (2004) which explores the epic battle over gay marriage in Massachusetts, and “Hidden Wounds” (2005) a film about soldiers returning from the war in Iraq with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Since then he has traveled around the world as a photojournalist, cinematographer and filmmaker. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and works as a director of photography for a variety of clients. “Bending Steel” is his first feature length film.

Note: This article is cross posted at by me.

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